Learning From Mistakes

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by RAP, May 5, 2003.

  1. RAP

    RAP Member

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    I blew a load of film this morning. I had too many distractions on my mind, I probably should have waited. I set up the tanks, chemistry as I have done in the past, loaded the film carrier, 6-4x5 sheets, I use HP Combi tanks. I then started with pre soak, 2 minutes, then placed the carrier into the developer or so I thought. I had a lapse, thinking about other matters, and what really happened was I never put the carrier into the developer.

    The film actually stayed in the pre soak for 2 minutes plus the 15 minutes (N+1). The film then went into the developer for 15 seconds (thinking it was the stop bath). Then into the stop (thinking it was the fixer). When I realized the film was actually still in the stop bath tank, I put it into the fixer for the normal time.

    Suffice it to say the negatives only saw 15 seconds in the developer and are unusable.

    However, what surprised my was that some of the negatives actually had a Zone I density! I could see outlines of some of the subject! The film was in plain water for about 17 minutes total, and developer for 15 seconds and fixer for 8 minutes.

    So then, can water actually have a developing effect? Maybe so. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This must be the ultimate water bath development - 15 seconds in the soup, and 17 minutes in water!

    I'm not surprised you got something on the negs at all, it's amazing how much of the development is done in the first half minute - depending on your developer, of course...
     
  4. RAP

    RAP Member

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    The developer was HC110 diluted 1 to 46 from concentrate and agitation was 15 secs every two minutes, film was Tri-X shot at ASA 200. Exposures were right on.

    As for my water, I have a water softening system so it is highly filtered. If there wasn't any, the water would stain the porcelien fixtures, it's so hard.

    This was just a freak occurance. I cannot remember this ever happening in the past and I cannot remember the last time I screwed up the development this badly. The next two batches of film came out just fine which were shot on the same day.

    I did have my water checked last year, with samples taken before, and after the filter. No abnormalities came up, but I will recheck the report for acidity.
     
  5. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    As I understand it, most developing happens in the first minute. So being in the water for a quarter of that time, it would make sense that there would be some image. I'll bet you would be surprised to see how much of an image there might be after a minute.

    I did the OPPOSITE thing yesterday, actually...I use a hot water bath to quickly bring beakers up to temp before pouring them in the Jobo. And yesterday I mixed developer into the just-boiling-a-second-ago water. I COOKED some Acros after 8 miunutes at nearly 200 degrees in the Jobo. And if you're going to cook, there are many cheaper things that Across...filet mignon, for instance.

    And in my case, as yours, I was surprised by the results...VERY dense, bulletproof negatives. But still an image and the shadow detail wasn't at all too dense. Extreme proof of zone system + devlopment, I guess.

    dgh
     
  6. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    did you realise what you'd done while the film was still in the stop but before the fix?

    Q for anyone... could the film be wacked back in the developer? I think so (based on my experience of attempting to print sabbiter where I stop the inital development in stop bath, reexpose then complete development.
     
  7. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    Many developers are very active and start the process within seconds (as you have discovered). So within a short time you will have gotten the highlight areas underway but you need much longer times to get density in the shadow areas.

    So now you have an insight into the problem some people have with highly active developers and some film combinations giving them blown (hot) highlights when they develop to get the right shadow density.

    If you had realized your mistake you could have washed the film to remove all traces of stop and then started the process over.

    Thanks for an interesting post

    Mike
     
  8. RAP

    RAP Member

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    I did not realize till after the films were in the fixer serveral minutes what I had done so there was no way to save the images. What surprised me was the density for the 15 seconds in the developer and the effects of the 17 minutes in water. If then water starts the development process, how long then should there be a pre soak? Maybe I should cut it to 1 minute instead of two.
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I don't think that the water pre soak starts the development process at all. If it did, I would not want to drink the water. What the water accomplishes is that it softens the emulsion so that the developer then can begin to develop the film immediately without the initial wait to soften the emulsion and then beginning the development process (as in the case of not using a water presoak). Some developing agents are quite active and the effect of combining these with compounds such as sodium carbonate or even in some cases sodium hydroxide makes the combination synergistic. While the development takes place consistantly (provided proper agitation is occurring) over the whole emulsion layer, the effect is proportional depending on the amount of light exposure the silver halide layer has received. The highlights in the scene receive more light exposure, this translates to greater negative density in those regions. This is what you observed in your negatives, the beginning of density representation of the high scene brightnesses. This is a perfect example (even though extreme) of what is accomplished by varying development time in the interest of increasing or decreasing contrast for Zone system procedures.