Split development, trying to understand

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

  1. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I tested split development yesterday with Oriental WT FB VC and soft working glycin warm tone developer with postas bromide, and strong cold tone developer with benzotirazole.

    I wanted to try to get warm whites and cool blacks. That didn't happen. I processed 3 minutes in the warm tone soft developer and 1 minute in the strong cold tone developer. The prints all came out slightly coldish warm tone with no color split.

    What surprised me was in experimenting with strong cold tone developer first vs soft warm tone developer first. If I processed in the soft developer first the prints came out much softer without the depth to the black than when I processed in the strong developer first. Even though I kept the relative times the same. ! minute in the strong developer and 3 minutes in the soft developer. It was as if the soft developer inhibited the strong developer when I did the soft first. I did a water rinse between developers.

    I don't understand. It seems like it offers further contrast flexibility but it seems if you want full black with split development you have to do the strong developer first.

    Can anyone clear up why the color won't split and why the order of the developers makes a difference?

    Thanks Dennis
     
  2. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    After three minutes in the soft? I'd say all the exposed
    silver had been developed. Dan
     
  3. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    But that doesn't make sense to me. the exposure is the same, but if first put in the soft developer and then the strong developer the print comes out lower contrast with less depth to the black than if first put in the strong developer and then the soft developer. If that amount of exposure has a potential of processing to a certain darkness in the strong developer, why does first putting the print into a weak developer change how dark it will become later in the strong developer? Seems illogical to me.
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Logic. Phooey!

    It's what we get for having evolved logical thinking, but not fully.:smile:

    We have this resulting tendency to say the result is illogical instead of the thought process that produced the result. We all do it now and then, but it doesn't seem logical that we should.

    Please excuse me. I'm running a little fever.
     
  5. maxbloom

    maxbloom Member

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    AFAIK, the shadows will develop to completion before the highlights finish developing. So if you develop the shadows most of the way and then go into water, the developer is still hanging out in the gelatin developing the highlights. This presents a problem, since you want to develop the shadows to completion in one developer and the highlights in another. What chemistry knowledge I have would tell me that you should pull it when the shadows are nearly done and then very briefly go straight into a second solution of developer that is more concentrated than normal, which will out-compete the first for development of the highlights. I could be totally wrong, and if you leave it in the second dev too long obviously this would result in some over-development.

    I'm curious, though...why split develop instead of split-tone?
     
  6. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Where on earth did you read that you can do this? When you develop in two baths - if anything - you will get some slight characteristics of each when you do it the 'right way'. Never, in my experience, can you ever get a 'split' dev effect.

    The ONLY way to do that, in my experience, is to develop fully in developer A and then fix and bleach back using either;

    1. Chromium/Hydrochloric Acid (Potassium Dichromate & HCl)or
    2. Copper/Sulfuric Acid (Copper Sulfate & HSo4)

    so that it eats away the shadows first. But go only part way - and then wash and redev using a DIFFERENT developer (hopefully with very different characteristics) - to get a split effect.

    This is how you allow your different developers SEPARATE access to highlights and shadows.
     
  7. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    It was an experiment. I hadn't read anything on it but you know my brain works overtime sometimes coming up with possibilities and trying to understand.
     
  8. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Here is my logic (that seems to not hold up).
    I know I can develop Oriental WT paper in different developers and come up with significantly different image color. I have done it. I hae processed in Glycin WT developer and gotten very warm tones even warmer paper base.

    I know I can develop the same paper in cold tone developer and get much colder tones, I have done that as well.

    So If I was to expose a print for full contrast and first develop it in a very soft working wt developer that gave me relatively more complete development in the light tones so at that point the print would be warm toned without deep blacks, and then rinse it off and develop it further in a strong cold tone developer with a fair amount of benzotriazole to inhibit development in the light tones yet would complete the development of the dark tones. Wouldn't the light tones be more affected by the wt developer than the dark tones.. causing a difference in color?

    Anyway that was my logic and apparently it doesn't hold up for a color split. But what I don't get is why reversing the order of the developers has a very significant impact. Strong developer first gives much contrastier print than soft developer first even though the total time processing in each bath is the same.
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Just for fun, try a snip of that paper in plain carbonate solution in room light to see if it has developer incorporated in the emulsion. Some do, some don't. I'm not sure it would change what you're trying to do, but it would be another piece of information you need to know in any case.
     
  10. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    It is a perfectly valid process. I used it extensively with graded papers, usually using Selectol-Soft for the first developer and Dektol for the second.

    The concept is that the 'soft' developer will develop the highlights and elements of the shadows and that the hard developer will pop up the shadow density.

    The thing you have to be aware of is the order of the developers because there can be chemical carryover from the first developer into the second developer that will defeat the purpose. (Though I don't think that is the problem this person is having.)

    Ed
     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Oh yes - I know it's perfectly valid - and I used to do it in the early 80s too... but it won't ever give you a split tone effect - nor will the highlights develop independently from the shadows in each developer... you only need to see the way the characteristic density curve grows through development to see why this is. the highlights grow at a rate proportional to the shadows, just much slower... i.e. 10% growth of both highlights and shadows... I'm glad you're thinking about process like this though. Creativity is good, in my book.
     
  12. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    Right, and I should have emphasized that I used it for contrast control, not trying to split tone. Although one of my favorite papers for this was Portriga-Rapid. Combined with a mild selenium tone, it was possible to cool its color quite a bit. But it was still an overall warm tone image, not split in tonality at all.

    Ed
     
  13. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Geez... did I respond to a post without drinking my coffee first...? AGAIN...???! Forgive me... for whatever reason I thought that split TONING was what the OP was after...! Well- a 'split-toned' EFFECT (albeit through development) -i.e. "warm whites and cool blacks..."
     
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  15. KenR

    KenR Member

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    Split Developing

    I think you are confusing split toning, where you use two toners to get slightly different tones in the shadows and the high lights and a two bath developer where the aim is to get to an intermediate grade (2.25 or 2.375 or whatever) paper using a hard and a soft developer.
     
  16. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    If you are talking to me, I am not confused about anything. I was just trying to understand why it wouldn't be possible to get warm whites and cool blacks through split processing. People seem to think that photography is about following rules.
     
  17. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    i've gotten something close to the effect your after with agfa mcc111.

    first bath was diluted neutol plus ( also works with neutol wa ) 3 minutes no agitation - the image looks light and reddish/brown

    second bath was dektol 1:3 factorial 2 ( the rest of the image would emerge around 10-12 seconds so i pulled it out around 24 seconds )

    the darker tones were neutral, not cold but there was a subtle separation. if you selenium tone for a short period ( check with test strips ) you can cool down lower zones without cooling zone V onwards.

    hope this helps.
     
  18. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    ps the principles are the same as film development and ultra diluted developers. papers that have developing agents in them don't behave this way though ...
     
  19. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    There are rules. We sometimes have to play around to find out what they are. If warm and cold tones were the result of dye formation, you would have one set of results. As is more often the case, the difference between warm and cold is in the particle size, and is a spectral effect. Finer particles make warmer tones IIRC. What happens when a grain is started in a fine grain developer and finished in a coarse grained one, or vice versa? I have a feeling you found out
     
  20. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    PS.
    You might try one of the Pyrocat formulas for the warm highlights followed by something like Dektol for the shadows. Now you have a dye for the warm part. You could substitute hydroquinone for the catechol for a browner tone.

    I think I got that backward if you want warm highs in prints.
     
  21. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I have done the dye experiment using procion dye and it works actually. I have done it with silver prints and platinum prints. You can make it as subtle or as radical as you want. But dye has the affect of reducing highlight contrast.

    I am not into toning though I do it occassionally and the split tone I can get out of selenium is not what I want. I know some people do toning with both selenium and sepia toning and get a very nice cool warm split color but I thought perhaps it could be done subtly with developers and I still don't understand why it can't be. But perhaps it is a matter of being too subtle to see.

    The other question that I thought someone might know the answer to is why the order of strong/weak developer split makes a difference. Strong developer first making more contrasty print and weak developer first making less contrasty print. But there was a suggestion earlier about developer incorporation that might be the answer. If there is developer incorporated, perhaps it reacts most with the initial development and the second developer is not affected by it.
     
  22. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    That's not it. You're making the assumption that the highlights (the curve toe) are somehow being developed independently from the shadows (the shoulder), as though the shoulder fills in first and works across to 'the left' (if you get what i'm saying). As mentioned before - development happens pretty evenly across the density range... so by switching developers midway - you're just continuing development but adding a slight characteristic of the 2nd developer into the mix. The effect really SHOULDN'T be significantly different from what you'd get simply mixing the two developers.
     
  23. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I'm not referring to toning or dyeing a silver image. I am referring to developing. The developer dyes only the part of the image it is developing. It is not the same as dyeing the image that resulted from another developer. I'm trying to tell you why the sequence of hard and soft developer may not work as planned. The color depends, in absence of a dye image, on the size of the grains. You can't tell what color will result when half a grain is fine and the other half is course, but you can pretty well expect them all to be about the same. You should have figured that out from your tests.

    Why would a combination of Pyrocat and some other developer not be considered a subtle use of two developers?

    You can test the paper to see if it has developer incorporated. Try to develop it in a strong carbonate solution.
     
  24. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Well I was able to do it today. It was as I thought only the mistake I made before was not using enough postas Bromide in the first developer. Today I have been printing with first developer Ansco 130 mixed as it is published and with a Dupont cold tone developer formulawith the addition of a small amout of Benzotriazol as the second developer. It took a few tests to get the exposure and the contrast down but I ended up processing first in Ansco 130 for 3 minutes and in the Dupont formula for 2 minutes... in very dim light to avoid fogging. It was helpful to have reference prints made in each developer individually and to lay prints out as I worked side by side as it is subtle. But there is not doubt it does work and I quite like it. It gives, as I had hoped, as subtly more three D print as the cool nature of the dark tones holds back while the warmth of the whites seems to come forward. I am not sure the times I used in the developers is best. I think that a shorter time in the first developer might work as with my tests the Glycin gave a decided warmth to the paper after just a minute and a half but I got better tone in the upper end leaving the prints in longer.

    Using pyro might work in the same way though I don't have any on hand. Actually I think I have some that has been in solution for a couple of years. Pyro tho stains the silver, so it would tend to turn the shadows warmer or greener which I think would be harder to see and would be the opposite direction I am trying to go but might be an interesting way to go.

    So thanks guys for weighing in on my experiment and question. Clearly there is not much interest in doing this. The other question I still don't get, why does switching the order of the developers make such a contrast difference? I did try the sodium carbonate test but it didn't seem to do anything. I just tried it once.

    Dennis
     
  25. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    If carbonate alone does not produce any image, it just means there is no developer incorporated in that paper. That is a good thing when you are trying to get a subtle effect from a particular developer formulation.
    I may have to try the pyro trick myself, just to see if it does work. I do think for this purpose it would be best formulated with hydroquinone rather than catechol or pyrogallol. When it's the color itself you're after rather than the effect of the color as a filter, you have the choice of pyrogallol, pyrocatechin or hydroquinone. It's interesting how much difference the placement of one OH group or the addition of one more can make. All three are hydroxybenzenes.

    Do you rinse between developers? Bromide content may play a part in what you see when you change order. The initial bromide content of the first developer as well as the bromide it frees by its reduction of silver bromide, if it is not washed way, will have some effect on the action of the second developer. You can see what I'm getting at. OTH, it may be advantageous not to rinse between developers for the same reason. It's another variable that must be taken into account when trying to explain what happens or does not happen.
     
  26. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    The first time I tried it I did rinse between. I am not enough of a chemist to understand exactly what is going on. The first time I tried it my logic was that Potassium bromide in the first bath was too much of a restrainer and I wanted the high tones to develop. Then in the second bath I made very strong developer and put in Benzotriazole thinking that the warm high tones would be unaffected in the second bath due to all the restraining action while the dark tones would develop with a cold tone. However I think the warming affect of the Potassium bromide is more important than worrying about it's restraining affect. My first developer the second time was much warmer than the first time. I am not sure why I get such warm color out of Glycin when others say they don't. These prints kind of remind me of the prints I got in the 80s using Portriga Rapid which was very warm and processing it in Neutol plus which was very cold tone. That is a good thing.
    Dennis
    When I tried the carbonate test I took a piece of paper and processed it with the lights on in a pretty strong solution of Sodium Carbonate. It did actually take on some tone but it looked more like paper looks if you just leave it out in the light for awhile. I fixed it and the tone mostly went away but again it acted like paper that has just been left sitting out.