Every so often I like to work with a film called Adox CMS 20. It is a really slow speed film (ISO 20) that absolutely incredible sharpness and detail. Even in a small format like 35mm one can see each tiny individual hair and nearly every single grain of sand. Just amazing.
However, I only say "every so often" will I use this film because it requires a special developer to get a full tonal range out of the negative. Most conventional developers will result in an image that is extremely contrasty. I'm talking pure blacks and pure whites. Nothing in-between. My typical staple developers like Rodinal, D-76, and HC-110 are rather useless with Adox CMS 20.
This is pretty crappy for two reasons. First, the developer is expensive. Twenty bucks a bottle and it only lasts for a few rolls of film. More importantly, the developer has a shelf life of only a couple of weeks. Once you expose this film it needs to be developed right away before the working solution of your developer expires. Most of the time, my life just simply doesn't work on such a short time table from shooting to processing.
Still, when the stars come into alignment and I am able to work with Adox CMS 20 I am completely thrilled. This image was made out on the Oregon Coast on a particularly overcast day. Given the less than ideal weather it seemed we had the entire Pacific Coast Range to ourselves which is an epic feeling if you've never experienced it.
I exposed the film wide open at f/1.4 which is pretty much a given when working with ISO 20 film.