There is a certain set of developers out there based on the agent pyrogallol – more commonly called “pyro” developers. No, they do not catch fire as a way of creating the image :-).
Along with being incredibly toxic (and absorbed directly through the skin – wear gloves!), they are also staining developers. The idea is that it gives excellent sharpness including sharp grain, but the stain then “fills in” the gaps between the grain. This means a very sharp image, with relatively low grain.
I took this image while walking through Stevens Creek County Park. Tri-X film is especially susceptible to the stain, and I decided to leave the brownish color in the scan.
What impresses me is that there really is a great amount of detail in this image – I think the “tree monster” still shows up quite well despite all the grass, branches, and moss. The tint is possibly a bit gimmicky – I’m not sure yet. It’s more than just doing sepia-toning.
I really do enjoy doing photography while hiking, and taking along a medium format camera, shooting basically with guesswork (sunny-16), is very satisfying even if some of the results aren’t great.