Diagnose this problem

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Darren Guy, May 30, 2012.

  1. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

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    Some of the negatives have this weird pattern on them - in the sky, and on the wall next to the guy sitting. This is the first time I've noticed it after processing around 10-12 rolls, and am assuming it has to do with my processing. It is more prevalent on other images on this roll, but these are the only ones I have handy. Most of the images turned out OK, and others not so much. I'm hoping to correct whatever I did wrong so that it doesn't happen again. Thanks.
     

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  2. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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  3. shuttershane

    shuttershane Member

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    that looks like water spots to me...Texas is known for hard water. Did you use tap water?
     
  4. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

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    I use distilled water for the developer, stop, and fix. I then wash my double reel tank with tap (inversion cycles 5,10,15,20,15) then the last two with distilled water and Ilfotol - 10 then 5. Then I vigorously shake reels individually over my tub, unreel, and hang. I never had a problem on my first 8-10 rolls doing it this way. I wonder what changed? Any ideas on a better way to wash the film?
     
  5. BainDarret

    BainDarret Subscriber

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    Try a more dilute solution of the wetting agent (Ilfotol). When I use Kodak Photo Flo I normally use it diluted at 1:400 instead of 1:200. Works well and no water spots. I also use distilled water to make up my final rinse.
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Those are water marks, regardless of the technique you used to hang your rolls.

    Have you ever tried hanging your film diagonally? Water droplets left on the film have a much shorter distance to travel until they reach an edge, where they can safely dry out without causing water marks in the image area.

    Also, remove your film from the reels, and see-saw it through the wetting agent in an open container. This way your film is very evenly coated with the wetting agent before you hang it to dry.
     
  7. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

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    Good suggestions.
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Using distilled water just before drying should prevent water maks (calcium deposits formed on the shiney side of film). Easy to remove though - lay your neg strips on your negative storage page shiney side up, breathe on them as though you are misting up a mirror and then gently rub them with a soft lens cleaning cloth (never try and wipe the emulsion side). If they still persist, dab a little ethanol on the cloth and wipe again.
     
  9. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    I use a sponge film squeegee like the one made by Yankee to eliminate this problem. I always check the sponge to make sure it has no small particles of anything on it after dunking it in the tank full of Photo-Flo. (I assume Ilfotol is the Ilford equivalent of Photo-Flo.) Squeeze all the solution from the sponge and with only enough pressure to contact the film evenly, and draw the squeegee down the film one time. The key is to use a gentle touch and have the squeegee damp with the wetting agent, not water. I should mention that the film on the reel has been submerged for about 30 seconds in Photo-Flo mixed with distilled water previous to using the squeegee. It also helps to draw the squeegee upwards on the end where the film is being held, pat your fingers dry at that point and grab the film where you've just squeegeed, then run the sponge down the film. Otherwise, pinching the wet film at the end to hold it may let a water drop follow the sponge down the film and form a spot as it dries.

    I never have spots or scratches using this procedure although I have seen many students scratch their film by being heavy-handed with the squeegee or if using a hard rubber squeegee.

    With sheet film I forego squeegeeing, hang the film, and use paper towel along the edge and/or corner of the negative to wick off the wetting agent.
     
  10. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would never use a squeegee and can't understand why they were ever suggested for photography.
     
  11. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I have to sponge both B&W and color films owing to the low ambient humidity typically 5-10% in New Mexico. Residual photo-flo does not drain before it dries leaving terrible water spots. The problem is much worse for sheet film and 120 owing to the larger surface area. Removing remaining drops with a gentle wipe solves the problem.
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I have exactly the same problem in Minnesota in the the winter. Due to the cold it is bone dry in the air, and my film dries extremely quickly.

    While I don't use a sponge, I have to use an extremely soft rubber edge to remove excess wetting agent. I have found Kodak, Ilford, and Fuji films safe for this practice, but Foma, Efke, and Lucky (the only others I've tried) have gotten microscopic scratches which show in the prints. If I do not use the supple rubber edge to remove the excess, my film is full of mineral deposits and marks which I have subsequently been unable to remove after the emulsion is dry.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    do you use a presoak?
     
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  15. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

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    No presoak.
     
  16. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Phoenix has really hard water as well and I used distilled for the wetting agent and still got water marks. I now wash using tap water filtered though an inline filter, then rinse in deionized water, then distilled water with wetting agent. I dont know how much of the minerals the inline filter removes but it appears to help.
     
  17. ath

    ath Member

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    I would never hang up a film for drying unless having it "squeegeed" before with a piece of fresh paper kitchen towel.
    Hundreds of films later - I can't understand why people have water marks.
    YMMV
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I should add that in 99% of my prints, since I have started doing this, I get maximum two or three spots in my prints, even in 16x20 from 35mm. They are squeaky clean, which works out great for me, because I HATE spotting prints, with a real passion.
     
  19. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    Ah, welcome to the club! :sad:

    There's nothing I haven't tried yet to get rid of those. At best, I am able to minimize the incidence--say, a frame or two lost per roll of thirty-six. Best results: everything tap, then a vigorous one-minute rinse in distilled, pour out, 15-second rinse in PhotoFlo at about 1+4000 (a few drops per half-gallon), vigorous dog-shake before hanging (vertically). If you're hanging them in the bathroom, make sure your taps don't leak as this will spray tiny droplets (mineralized!) all around the place.

    Keep posting, folks. Always ready to try out new ideas.

    Best of luck fighting this scourge!

    PS. I always suspected hanging diagonally might work--just never got around the topology and the hardware required. :laugh:
     
  20. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Can these be got rid of by re-washing with proper technique, or are they permanent?
     
  21. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Yeah, the one on the wall to the guy's left is definitely a water spot. I really don't see any in the motel shot, but maybe I'm not looking closely enough.

    Wash with a good hypo clearing agent like PermaWash, following the directions. It only takes a couple of minutes to completely remove the fixer, not an hour.

    I've never used Ilfotol, so I'm not familiar with it. I've used PhotoFlo for over 50 years, and never had any water spotting problems in thousands of rolls.
    PhotoFlo is just soap. It reduces the surface tension of the water so it drains off rather than beading up.

    - Leigh
     
  22. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    i agree. it looks like what i got from short presoaks.
     
  23. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Pre-soak, or the lack thereof, would have absolutely nothing to do with the effect the OP is seeing.

    - Leigh
     
  24. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    After washing the film in free flowing tapwater, I dunk the spiral in deionised water for about 30 seconds and swirl it around before hanging to dry and I never get any drying marks.
     
  25. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    cliveh, your post "I would never use a squeegee and can't understand why they were ever suggested for photography."

    I use a very soft squeegee with a very light touch on film to remove and clumps of grain that can cause an imperfection on the print similar to a dust spot, learned this in an advanced printing workshop years ago.
     
  26. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    Vilk, your issues with water spots with very small dilutions of photo flo may be caused by too little concentration of the photo flo. When I have had similar issues, I have solved it with a more photo flo, not less.
    I find that about 1/8 to 1/4 of a capful of photo flo to 32 ounces of water (city water) usually works well. Not sure what this dilution would amount to, but it is still very light.