[ QUOTE ]
First off, that's a damn nice image - good ighting, graceful pose and beautiful model. Second, whatever is going on, no need to apologise for your equipment, it's pretty much what I used while operating a commercial studio. those Novatrons will do as good a job as any light out there.
For an instant repair, use try the burning in tool set for a brush size a bit larger than the hot spot and at about 10%, 20% at most. Make repeated passes over the area so that densiity builds up slowly. But that doesn't prevent the problem.
There's a possibility that you meter and camera shutter and/or aperture hve an error. It isn't at all unusual for an aperture to have a half stop or more error, in either direction. If you have access to a second lens, try the same pic with each lens and compare the results. Try bracketing exposure, a full stop change in each direction and examine the results.
But with all that said, I suspect the problem is in the scan. A little to much contrast during the scan can cause just what you are seeing.
Finally, remember skin is made up mostly of wather with a lot of oil. Having the model dust herself thoroughly with powder before shooting can do wonders to prevent hot spots.
[/ QUOTE ]
Thanks for the kind words and suggestions. I used the burn tool on the small image - my big problem with it is patience. The equipment issue is one I have to check to make sure that it is not the problem. The camera I used was recently reconditioned so it should be OK but the lens may not be so I will check it. As for bracketing, I had been doing so but only 1/2 stop at a time so I will go a bit broader to see what happens. Unfortunately the problem is in the neg and not the scan. I have contact prints and they look just like the scan. I also scanned the neg with my Nikon Coolscan and the same problem exists. Again, the issue is likely operator error on the original exposure. I am intrigued however, by the powder idea - do you know a good neutral color product that I could use?