Pinholes in my HIE?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mooseontheloose, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I've finally gotten around to developing some film taken from a trip to northern Japan/Kuala Lumpur/Cambodia earlier this year (Feb/Mar). Yes, yes, I know that it's important to develop film as soon as possible, but with limited resources it's not always possible for me, and I've never had problems with delayed processing in the past (film is always refrigerated until processed). I shot 3 of my last 4 rolls of HIE on that trip and while the content is good, the film is not -- almost all of the rolls display some degree of fogging, which I can't understand. They were definitely loaded in total darkness (and by that I mean in a changing bag in a dark room) and kept refrigerated until developed.

    Also, one of the rolls (the one with the least amount of fogging) seems to have what I think are pinholes -- the film is clear right through each of the holes, which occur over the entire film, including the rebate. Some frames have quite a few holes, others just one or two, and some not at all. Developed in D-76, with stop and fix as usual. I've developed over 30 rolls this way and have never had a problem before, but I'm wondering what could have caused it since the other two rolls developed at the same time don't exhibit this problem. Is it age of the film (exp. 2009)? Too long to have waited to develop it? The heat of SE Asia for a couple of weeks? Too many passes in the carry-on scanners at the airport? Cosmic radiation? Bad luck?

    I know it's easily fixed in photoshop, but is there any way that I might be able to print these negs traditionally to get rid of these unsightly black spots?

    Snow monkey pinhole.jpg Snow monkey crop HIE-pinholes.jpg Kuala Lumpur crop

    The most frustrating thing for me is, when I really didn't know what I was doing with HIE the negs look great -- including all the times I loaded the film in daylight. Now, no matter what I do, no matter how careful I am, my last and final rolls have exhibited so many different problems!
     
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  2. scheimfluger_77

    scheimfluger_77 Subscriber

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    Dust on the film in-camera perhaps?
     
  3. phirehouse

    phirehouse Subscriber

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    was the film X-rayed at any point during your trip?
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    One trick I have heard of is to lay a clear film over the paper, and with a marker pen (Sharpie ?), ink out the offending spots. This will leave you with white areas on the final print which will then require further spotting. I've not tried this myself yet, but have a neg that requires this kind of treatment should I ever get to it. Certainly sounds like a lot less trouble than scraping or localised bleaching.
     
  5. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I suppose it's a possibility, but I don't see how. These holes also show up in the area around the sproket holes, and on the leader (that wasn't exposed), which makes me think it couldn't be a dust issue.

    Only carry-on. In many cases I was able to get my film hand inspected, but of course I couldn't chance that with the HIE so I just sent it through the scanner. I've always thought that since infrared is at the other end of the spectrum from x-rays that it would be safer than other kinds of film. That being said, the massive amounts of fogging I'm getting on my rolls now makes me think it's travel-related (or age-related).

    That's sounds like it might work -- although then I'd really have to learn how to spot well! I guess the one benefit to the grain in HIE is that is might be a little more forgiving of spotting. Not something I'm rushing to do, but like you I think it sounds better than scraping or bleaching.
     
  6. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Much more likely the fogging is age related. Fogging induced by X-ray screening, according to a Kodak publication on the subject, will show distinctive banding. The direction of the banding being subject to the orientation of the film in relation to the x-ray source. Bearing in mind this film is well out of date, I think you are doing well to get usable images from it.
     
  7. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    If you were to look at the negative in terms of the zone system, what zone or tone would the level of fogging be? I have a fair amount of the last batch that has been stored sub zero, since you made me a little paranoid, I compared a roll I shot in 2008 with a roll I shot a few months ago, identical base density, pretty much right in between Tri-X and HP5.
     
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  8. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Pinholes were a common problem with HIE. I had it on one occasion. It's been so long since I've processed any that I don't remember offhand what the problem/solution might be, but I seem to remember that tight temperature controls and a more dilute stop bath or water stop bath might help.

    Peter Gomena
     
  9. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Infrared film is very fog-prone, that's just part of life. That's why they recommend always keeping it at cool temperature.
    For the pin holes, I had that problem occasionally with various films, and I tracked it down to the fixer going bad. I would mix 2L of working strength fixer and use that over several months. Apparently it's not a good idea. By switching to fresh mixing of the fixer I eliminated most of the pin holes.
    However, in your case I think the problem is just weak old emulsion on the HIE film. I would switch to a very weak acid or preferably water stop bath and an alkaline or near neutral fixer like TF4 or TF5.
     
  10. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Since my last post, I developed a roll of David Romano re-spool of 70mm Aerographic 2424 that I shot in my Hasselblad on and off from early Fall last year finishing with the Winter X-Games. When I was not shooting the roll, I double ziplock bagged the film back and stuck it in the freezer until I used it again, even the shot rolls live in the freezer....

    The film I just developed that was spooled in 2003 is absolutely perfect with no real sign of base fog just the same as 35mm HIE, about the same as HP5 overall.

    I have 46 rolls of the 2424 and 66 rolls of 35mm HIE left, I might be alright for a few more years if I stick with my plan of protecting the film like it is a rare gem.....which it is.
     
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  11. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    66 rolls! Now that's just cruel! (I'm very jealous) I wish I had been able to afford more of it when it was being discontinued, but alas it was hard to justify what I did buy at that time.

    In any event, like you, I treat the film like the gem that it is, it's been frozen or refrigerated since new (but it has been moved from the UK to France to Canada (and within) and Japan (and within)). I always hand carry it on all my travels, it's always refrigerated (or in the freezer) when possible, and I always use a darkbag to change the film. That being said (and what I don't understand) the fogging is quite severe -- I don't have the standard clear rebate one usually gets with this film, it's anywhere from a mid-grey to black (to varying degrees). You can barely see the markings on the edges in some cases. But the amount of fogging is not necessarily constant over the roll -- on one roll it seems lighter over a few frames in several places in the roll, in the other two it's worse towards the end of the roll (which makes no sense if one would guess it was due to light piping). As I've mentioned before, I have shot quite a lot of this film, but I've never really had these problems with it before, despite the fact that I'm being more careful with it than ever!
     
  12. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Huh, I am not so sure that is age fog, I bet it is something else although what I don't know. As far as the pinholes, I have never had those, not sure what that is either...
     
  13. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Years ago I had some 4x5 HIE. I had pinhole problems with the sheets I took to another city to take some photos at a family wedding. All the other sheets did not have pinholes, though other mistakes were made. They were not dust..... I've seen enough dust on 4x5 to say that these spots were uniformly too round to be dust.
    I always blamed the pinholes on the fact that that film was out of the fridge, both before exposure and after, quite a bit longer than usual.
    I don't remember ever having pinholes with 35mm. I have a handful of rolls left..... Better shoot them soon before they are completely past it.
     
  14. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Alright, just to clarify (and for posterity's sake, in case others have a similar issue), here are a couple of scans of the fogging that I've experienced with HIE. This roll (taken at Angkor Wat in Cambodia) was the worst of the three, but I do have others from other trips in the last two years that look similar.

    HIE fogging_negative.jpg the negative strip HIE-fogging_positive.jpg the positive strip

    No pinholes here but definite fogging. But still printable I think.

    EDIT: looking at the close-up of the positive it makes me think that the excessive light light in on the neg has affected everything around it. With few exceptions I always use a red 25 filter (and I definitely did in this example), but obviously bracketed because I wasn't sure of the light (it wasn't as bright as it appears in the negs!). Could it be a camera issue?
     
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  15. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    Rachelle, looking at your negative strip I can see that the fogging has extended right out to the edges of the film. As a user of HIE I have encountered fogging from time to time but not to this extent. Two possibilities occur to me 1. You could be right about it been a camera issue or 2. If your exposure was a long one, the light may have spread throughout the portion of film being exposed. If you have any shots taken out in the open you could compare them.

    As regards the pinholes I think that this can occur in HIE, I know that it has happened to me from time to time. But I have never seen it to the extent that it has occurred on your second negative.

    Since my film is way past its 'use by date' I nowadays shoot in hope that everything will be okay. But I can understand your frustration to have travelled so far and come back with a ruined film.
     
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  16. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    And back to pinholes...

    So today I finished developing most of the rolls from that Feb/Mar trip -- not HIE, just regular HP5+ in D-76. And at least one of the rolls has pinholes in them. I know that there's some kind of myth about an acid stop causing pinholes and I never believed it, but I'm wondering if that's what's happening? Two completely different emulsions exhibiting the same kind of problem? I also came to the realization that this (week) has been the first time that I've developed film since moving into my new place (it's a house, quite a different experience to apartment living in Japan), and I'm wondering if there's something in the water that is reacting with the chemicals (or causing the chemicals to over-react) that is causing this issue.

    Once I noticed the pinholes I stopped using the acid stop full stop and have developed all subsequent rolls with just a water stop between the developer and the fix. I'll look at the negatives more closely tomorrow to see if that helped (or didn't). Hopefully it's not the water. I mix all my chemicals (stock and working solution) with distilled water, but it would become really expensive for me if I had to do every wash with distilled as well. Distilled water is not available in Japan so I buy it from an import company.

    Anyway, if anyone has any further suggestions of what might be causing this or how to fix it, I'd sure appreciate them.
     
  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Second this. Bleach the spots and then retouch. You can use ticture of iodine on a sharpened toothpick to do this. Refix, wash and dry before spotting.