Here is a letter from Robert hall from large format forum
He did a beautiful shot of a machine shop and in low light with window probs as you mentioned.
Hope it helps.
QUOTE=Robert Hall][QUOTE=cosmicexplosion]Hi to you mr Robert
And well done for nice work.
I have been trying to learn what rhe underexposed and overdeveloped
Thing is. Makes it pop you say. I have only just got my head around exposing 8x10 and am now trying to get some decent prints so not really very advanced but I am methodically working and getting better
Love the first machine. Very figurative.
It's a bit more challenging down under. You're not as prone to too many cloudy days or finding open shade. And you materials are much more expensive so when you make a mistake, it costs you.
When the contrast of a scene is small, ie, a cloudy day, or photographing after the sun has set and you have no sky in your image, you have a very small range of contrast. You can then under expose, not by a lot, but some, say half a stop or a full stop (do this while experimenting), then develop for 20% more time than usual. (the times are a rough stab, believe me, we don't expose or develop the same in my darkroom like you do in yours so you *will* need to experiment, but you get the idea).
Think of how dense your sky would be if you developed that much longer with open sky? Your highlights get all the exposure they need, so this doesnt work well when you have bright spots in the image. Take a look at my wheel image if you can, notice the small portion of the windows are a little blown out. This is the issue. But... when you don't have any bright spots, and you have exposed enough to get the shadow detail you need, you can develop a bit longer and that gives more "local contrast". This is what makes images pop, local contrast. There are a couple other ways to improve this as well. Look in to unsharp masking (with film).
Let me know how I can explain further. Best of luck,