Large print - uneven development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by MarkL, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Hello Analogers,

    I’m working on a 32”x14” print and developing in a trough made of vinyl rain gutter. I’m getting uneven development, visible in the dark sky as alternating light and dark stripes, very much like a washboard effect on a dirt road! I’m wondering if anyone else has dealt with this.

    The trough is 18” long and I keep the print submerged by placing a 16” piece of plastic pipe (2” schedule 80 I think) on it and scroll it through the solution. I presoak the print in a water trough for about a minute, and use Dektol 1+7 for 5 minutes and have tried from 1 quart to 3 quarts of solution, which is plenty enough to be floating freely all around the roller. Have tried with emulsion up (in contact with roller) and with emulsion down, and from fairly quick to very slow (15 seconds pulling through in one direction!). I still can’t shake this uneven banding that runs parallel to the roller. I took an 8x10 section and tray developed it and there was no banding so it’s not the neg!

    My darkroom is rather compact so I may have to stick with the trough method. I tried developing in a large tray by rolling it up in alternate directions as per Ansel Adam’s book and so far I haven’t worked out the kinks, so to speak, in that method. Yikes, any ideas?

    Mark
     
  2. msage

    msage Member

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    Hi Mark
    I am not sure why the 1+5 dilution, 1+2 works for me when I do up to 30x40's in a trough. You may not have enough actulal developer at the 1+5 dilution. When we do a 20x30 we use a 1.5 gallon of developer at 1+2.
    Hope this helps.
    Michael
     
  3. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Hey Mark,

    Try scrolling without the pipe. Use dektol 1 to 2 or 1 to 3. No need for the prewash. For proper scrolling the solution in the baths should not exceed one inch in depth. You should be able to scroll through the entire print in 15 seconds or less.

    Make sure to have at least two troughs in your sink - one with developer, the other with stop. Move quickly between these two baths and use the stop as a one shot. Have your fix solution ready to pour into second trough once you are finished dumping the stop.

    If you're having trouble with the initial immersion of your roll of paper try pulling the leading edge forward, quickly run your gloved hand across the entire width of the paper and then scroll. This will help saturate the leading edge and keep the chemistry moving across the emulsion as you move it through your scroll.

    Get a piece of homosote and some thumb tacks to view and dry the print.

    Best of Luck!
     
  4. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    if you're getting some sort of 'washboard' effect... I doubt it's happening during the development. Try this. Just develop in the same trough (this is important) by just 'seesawing' through it by hand (alternate the height of each of your hands in turn... moving the print back and forth through the solution. If you get a different result - this tells you that it IS your processing method. If NOT - that means you might want to look elsewhere for the source of the problem. Another way to do it is to do a test strip ACROSS the width of your print and process it your usual way. If the banding is now 90 degrees to your original banding... then it's definitely at the processing stage. Good luck with that.
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    It is very important to get the Dev on the paper asap and the first 15 seconds are critical.
    We are processing 30inch x9feet in a large trough *scrolling * as well.
    our Mixture is Dectol 1- 1 1/2 , 3.5 min with very constant agitation.No need for the presoak as mentioned.
    I am sure if you concentrate on the first part of dev things will sort themselves out.
     
  6. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Michael,

    Yeah, for tray development I use 1+2 or 1+3. But for roll paper, if I recall correctly Ansel's book suggested diluting 1:6 to 1:8 and extend the time for even development.

    As for solution quantity I decided to try the developer one shot, 4oz+28oz. I read that the conservative capacity of 1oz of Dektol is 2 8x10's (160 square inches). This print is about 450 sqare inches so actually 3oz should be enough.

    When I noticed the uneven develpment I went to 3 quarts of solution, figuring deeper solution in the trough would be less turbulent and mean more contact with the emulsion.

    Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2008
  7. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Sparky,

    Yeah, that's how I do it too, raising it up alternately with each hand.

    An 8x10 section of the sky area, exposed on the same emulsion, is fine if processed in a tray so it must be a development problem.

    Mark
     
  8. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Bob,

    Interesting about the first 15 seconds. Do you know why that's so critical? I assumed that over the course of the longer development everything would even out. I'll have to really whip it through the first couple of agitations.

    The reason I do the presoak is to soften the paper to take some of the curl out of it before running it through the trough so it's easier to handle, since the corners want to curl back onto the emulsion and I figured they could scratch it. In other words the 13x32" cut piece strongly wants to curl back into a 32" tube. In my miniature darkroom this is the easiest direction to cut the piece off the roll.

    Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2008
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Mark;

    I would check the negative out. Several people have reported LF and ULF negatives with uneven sky areas or areas of a constant density.

    Secondly, I would suggest a prewet, and finally, I would suggest a good stop bath to quickly stop development.

    PE
     
  10. herb

    herb Member

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    Uneven development

    How long are you developing the paper? If you have a short time, that will cause what you are experiencing. just my $0.02
     
  11. herb

    herb Member

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    uneven dev

    oops saw the 5 min thing.
     
  12. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Hi PE,

    I could see no uneven areas on a 24" wide version on sheet paper, tray processed. So I've ruled out the neg. That's good I guess because I really like the image. On the other hand, I burned a whole sunny day in the dark troubleshooting my technique so maybe I do wish it was the negative!

    Maybe I should go to stop bath for this. I use TF-4 and a running water stop. Of course the development slows to a stop this way but either way I stop it I don't know why I would get the streaking pattern.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I develop color in a Jobo and get streaks. If I add a stop, the streaks vanish. This is a common result of poor stopping and the use of an alkaline fix.

    PE
     
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  15. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    question: is this banding in question HIGHER or LOWER density than your test strips? If higher - I'm thinking that perhaps while the paper's sitting rolled up somewhere it's getting exposure on one side from some unsafe light source that's causing the banding.

    from my own testing and printing I'm getting great super even results with 4 foot x 5 foot prints devving in vertical tanks (5" PVC tube) and scrolling on two sticks (1.25" PVC tube) - except that binding is a problem sometimes with such tight space constraints. But the development is super even using a normal dev dilution for five mins.

    the other nice thing about the vertical thing is that you're automatically safe from fogging (assuming your cylinder is opaque).
     
  16. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I'm just suggesting that as an alternate method to what you'd normally use... so maybe try something different...?

     
  17. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    The banding is lower density.

    Vertical in tubes is a good idea! Must take quite a bit of solution. Also tubes would make good holding tanks before final washing.

    BTW, how do you wash those big ones? I'm lucky so far with this 14" wide panoramic image: I can put one at a time in my Versalab 20x24 washer because the partitions are about 2" apart and I can snake it over and between partitions. If I do a 32x40 it'll be into the tub or shower with it I guess.

    Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2008
  18. Sparky

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    the other great thing about the vertical tubes - is that your chems will keep forever since there is very little surface area. Mine use about 3.5 gal of solution each. It's alot - but not outrageous. And you can get perfectly fitting endcaps at home depot (where I got the tubes).

    I'm not too sure what to make about the lower density thing though. Like Bob said - try to hit it with developer as EVENLY as possible, as quickly as possible. It should make a big difference - even a delay of 10 seconds can cause uneven development (and very easily at that)
     
  19. MarkL

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    Sparky, so you fasten the print to two 1.25" tubes and roll the print around one, then dip the assembly into the tube and spin from one to the other?

    And how do you wash those mothers? Is it into the shower with your speedo, holding the print? :smile:

    I was thinking why am I doing a 32" inch print on mural roll paper when I can do a 24" print on sheet paper? It's a PITA and heck, it's only 8" wider. But it's deceptive because it really is a monster compared to the 24"!
     
  20. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I'm not sure what you accomplish with the pvc, the sticks or whatever else people think is necessary for processing large sheets of paper. My guess is that your problem lies in the fact that your technique is giving you irregular agitation. As Mr. Carnie states, the first 15" is crucial to even development. The scrolling technique that we advocate is the simplest and thus fastest way to move the paper through the chemistry. There is no need for a water pre-wash even with the monstrously long prints Bob is making. FB paper rolled emulsion side in already has structural integrity and so your pvc or sticks are completely unnecessary at best and the source of your problem at worse.

    In case you're wondering what I mean by scrolling I will clarify the technique.

    1. After exposure roll the paper up so that it's neither tight nor loose - the roll should be somewhere in the vicinity of three and a half to four and half inches in diameter.

    2. Place the roll of paper in your trough so that the leading edge is towards you. It's important that your chemistry is not too deep as this will make scrolling slow and difficult to control. Really all you need is enough chemistry to wet the leading edge of the roll (and to satisfy the developers capacity with whatever size print you're making).

    3. Quickly pull the leading edge towards you by a few inches and then, gently grasping the roll with one hand run your other hand all the way across the edge insuring that chemistry is now saturating the leading edge of the print's emulsion.

    4. Carefully turn the leading edge over using both hands to form the uptake roll. Now you are ready to scroll.

    5. Now that the paper is in the scroll configuration the area that's being "read" is totally submerged, flat on the bottom of your trough, emulsion side up. With a hand on the uptake roll and the other on the feeder roll you are ready to scroll the print through the chemistry. When you get to the end you're back to step three except you'll be pulling the leading edge away from you to form your uptake roll. With a little practice you'll find that you can move 50-60 inches of paper through your chemistry in less than 15 seconds time. There is a tiny learning curve with the scrolling motion but once mastered it will make all the other techniques seem like recipes for back-aches and crimped prints:D.

    The scrolling technique also facilitates a good archival wash. I've found that 10 fill and dumps of fresh water after hypo clear with four or five cycles of scrolling per fresh water bath is sufficient for archival processing. Carefully hang the print vertically to dry.

    p.s. get yourself a box of disposable nitrile gloves for this technique.
     
  21. Bob Carnie

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    The above method by frotog pretty well sums it up.
    I use a lot of chems, the roll is emulion in , the first 2 scrolls the paper is easy to manipulate, I try to roll evenely each time within a 15 second period, It is extremely critial the first two turns for eveness, as PE points out a good stop is very important. I use 3min 20 seconds for development .
    I work in total darkness as I am using RGB sensitive fibre paper and we have found sticking to the principles is very important. During a printing session we may expose anywhere from 30 to 100 ft of paper and you must replenish your developer, and I have a seperate room for post developing, stop, and first fix.
    We built a 40 ft sink that has extremely large trays that we finish the second fix, hypo clear, wash, toning and then final wash.
     
  22. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I tape them to both ends of the print. Alignment is critical. It's still scrolling. But it uses a lot less floor space than trays would. It's maybe a little cleaner... but yeah -in the shower with the speedo is pretty much the deal. Not so much fun. if I built more tubes, I could do the wash via the 'ilford method'... but I think the paper would be too susceptible to damage this way.

     
  23. MarkL

    MarkL Subscriber

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    Thanks guys for your detailed help.

    Frotog, what are you using for troughs?

    For print rinsing and/or washing, It might be nice to have a hose fitting on the end cap of the trough so that water can flush right in. On the other end could be a hole with a rubber stopper in it for the outflow. Also you could empty the solutions into containers through an end hole.
     
  24. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I had the guys at a local metal fab shop put together a few troughs for me out of 316 ss. They're 52" long, 10" wide and about 4" deep. The sides taper out at about a 30 degree angle from normal which nicely cradles the outside of the roll as well as forming a spout in the corners. They weren't inexpensive but at the time I had a large mural account and so it seemed a modest expense. I believe the sheet ss is either 10 gauge or 12. I have a 12' wide sink so I can put two side by side, using the second trough for both stop and fix. I've seen similar photo troughs homemade out of marine ply w/ epoxy coating.

    With your print you can get away with using standard 16x20 trays like cescos or pattersons.

    As far as the wash goes....my tests for residual hypo prooved that scrolling through multiple baths of fresh water was the quickest, most efficient way of attaining archival quality - 20' at 68 degrees f. after the hypoclear. Letting the print soak rolled up for 90 to 120 minutes not only left residual hypo but also created drying problems. I suppose if you were really nuts and had the room you could build yourself some sort of giant archival washer but getting the prints in and out of such a device would be a tricky thing to do without crimping the print. Besides, I'm of the camp that likes the simplest, most elegant solutions to technical problems so if there's one less bit of gear to deal with....As I mentioned in a previous post the roll has structural rigidity and you shouldn't unroll a mural until you're ready to dry it (a whole 'nother ball of wax).

    I'd like to see Bob's set-up....it sounds amazing.

    Cheers!
     
  25. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    We are going to prepare a power point presentation over the next couple of weeks of our facility for a few meetings that I will be showing our work.
    Once that is done I will post the link..
    I am really happy with the sink as it helps workflow tremendously.
     
  26. keithwms

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    Just want to say that I love that first sentence! Beautiful! Keep it up!