Stand and Semi-Stand Developing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Travis Nunn, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    OK, I've been reading a lot lately here on APUG of people using a Stand and Semi-Stand Development process to develop their film. Since I'm mostly self-taught and I learn as I go, can someone explain to me what exactly is Stand Development? And what are the advantages/disadvantages?

    Thank you for the enlightenment
     
  2. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I've not tried either stand or semi stand but my impression is you put your film in a container of developer, shake it a couple of time and go away for hours. When you come back the negatives are completly developed.
    Semi stand would imply you come back a little early and give the container another shake or two and go away again.
     
  3. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Hi Travis,

    I am the photographer who originally broke the news of the process being successful. I subsequently wrote several articles for View Camera Magazine about the topic. Feel free to PM and I will forward the articles to you.
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Short version -

    Semi-stand development is also sometimes referred to as Extrem Minimal Agitation (EMA). This process uses highly dilute developer for an extended period of time. For example, when developing with pyro developers, normal dilution is usually 1:2:100 or 2:2:100 (part A: part B: water), and normal development times with 5 seconds of agitation every 30 or so coming in somewhere around 10-15 mins depending on film/exposure. With semi-stand/EMA, you would use 1:1:175 or thereabouts, and you would give approximately 5 seconds of agitation every 15 minutes or so, with development time somewhere around 1 hour.

    The advantages of this are that by allowing the developer to exhaust locally on your film. The lack of agitation causes developer byproducts to build up on the film surface. This causes an increase in contrast on an extremely localized level. This is often referred to as micro-contrast. This creates an appearance of overall increased sharpness. When done properly, your film will look like etched glass when you examine the emulsion side of the negative. You will need to consider if you are going to do this before you shoot, as it does not work for all subjects. A subject with large areas of continuous tone will not benefit from this. A subject with already high inherent overall contrast may not benefit. A subject with very low inherent overall contrast and high detail will benefit greatly.

    Because of the extremely extended development times, stand/semi-stand/EMA is an excellent process for controlling extremes of contrast - I know this sounds like it contradicts what I just said, but bear with me. If you have a subject, like an interior, where the overall scene contrast is fairly low, but the windows are six or eight stops brighter than the rest of the room, you can more easily adjust for reducing the negative density in the window areas because you can cut back on the total development time without impacting the shadow and mid-tone development.

    The downside, in addition to the very long development times, is that you run the risk of bromide drag on the film, creating areas of uneven development, most noticeable in areas of continuous tone, like skies. It is also best done with large volumes of chemistry, and single or a very few negatives at a time. I know people who have made special tanks for developing single sheets when they are working with ULF format negatives. If you are only doing 4x5 or 8x10, deep tanks with hangers are a very viable alternative. The other downside is that unless you have a method for lightproofing your development tank, you're stuck in the darkroom for an hour with the lights out, waiting for the next fifteen minute increment to transpire so you can agitate your chemistry for five seconds.
     
  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Semi and stand DEv

    Sorry Steve but Atget was known to have used stand development. And that is what-like almost 100 years ago? Nothing new under the sun. I always knew about it just never cared to pusue it since I make LOTS of negatives and LOTS of prints. Edge effects are not that critical to me. Hey if you got 1 hour to dev a negative go for it. Personnaly it adds nothing to the mix for me.
    Best, Peter
     
  6. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Sure, Atget did stand development, and the procedure is described in many photography books from the first half of the 20th century. However, there were very few people seriously experimenting with stand development and large sheet film until Steve Sherman initiated a discussion on the subject over on the AZO forum a couple of years ago. That discussion, and Steve's subsequent experimentation and publications in View Camera, produced some useful practical ways to use stand development.

    Many film/developer combinations produce some edge effects, even with intermittent and continuous agitation, and the micro contrast that results is an important factor in apparent sharpness.

    I personally don't use stand or semi-stand development but a procedure I call extreme minimal agitation. This procedure produces very good edge effects and yet minimizes the possibility of bromide drag so I consider it appropriate for most subjects, whereas I would avoid stand or semi-stand with subjects that have large area of even tones. With extreme minimal you just divide the total time of development into four period, agitate for 1.5 minutes at the beginning of the first period, and then for 10 seconds at the beginning of the second, third and fourth periods. It is a very convenient way to develop. For example, with 5X7 film I place the film in open ended PVC tubes, and the tubes go into a 11X14 Beseler drum filled with developer to a height that covers the top of the tubes. I just plop the tubes into the developer, put the cap on the drum, and agitate for 1.5 minutes by sloshing the developer around. And you just go away until the beginning of the second, third and four periods. After the tubes go in the developer everything is done in the light until the end of development so in practice it is about as easy to develop this way as in a Jobo.

    ULF film introduces logistical problems with this kind of development, but it does with other kinds of develoment as well.

    I find that the various forms of minimal agitation are really worth the trouble in increasing apparent sharpness, especially with contact printing.

    Sandy
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Geoffrey Crawley, I think, is the one who talked about using agitation as a control during film development to shape the curve and build internal contrast and adjacency effects, returning the technique to the postwar consciousness ... back in the '60s.

    In the pre WW2 era craft photographers, it was a common technique. I learned my photography from one in the late '60s, and have always viewed agitation as variable, like dilution and time, to make the negative you want.

    Ansel Adams wrote about it in The Negative, discussing it's use with HC-110.

    Mortenson advocated it.

    And going back to the Atget days, Agfa advocated standing development with a metol formula ( much later known as the Beutler formula ), a glycin formula, and Rodinal.

    Early 20th century discussions about 'tank development' was usually some form of semi standing development. See Weston, Strand, and Stieglitz.

    Steve's monumental achievement ( and I am earnestly serious about this ) is that he described the technique ( and backed it up with fine images ) that would get past the editorial desk, usually the bastion of conformity and convention. And Sandy King has talked about reduced agitation, which is the same thing after all.

    So, cudos to Steve and Sandy, and good pictures to us all.

    Standing Development, Still Development, Reduced or Minimal Agitation: all the same thing. Using Agitation as a control rather than a constant to effect the image in various ways.
     
  8. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I deduce from that statement that you've probably never seen any of Steve Sherman's prints.
     
  9. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    After less than stellar results, I would like to ask the full-time practinioners of this procedure how they successfully deal with the two major issues I've encountered. That is: Serious uneven development (that is oh so painfully apparent in too many of my shots); and the very erratic presence, or absence, of the protective fibre mesh imprints on the back of the negs.

    Until I find a sure cure for these show-stoppers, I will keep developing single-sheets in tray with brush/DBI method.

    Suggestions?
     
  10. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    During WWII I worked in a camera store and among my duties was film development.
    We use extreme stand development but it was called "Total Development".

    The process involved hanging all roll fillm, regardless of brand or speed, on clips which were attached to a large rack. This rack was lowered into a huge vat of D-23, raised and re-lowered the film twice, and then the tank top was lowered.

    The film was left overnight and processing completed the next morning. It was a rare negative which was unprintable. The D-23 was never changed during the year or so I worked in this darkroom.

    Sheet film was developed in hangers in another vat of D-23 using the same method.

    Since that time when I have negatives of flat subjects, exposed in flat light I use a similar method with sheet film in black trays. My times for this run from 3 - 5 hours.

    Jim
     
  11. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Daniel, the problem with uneven development can often be traced to initial agitation and / or the pouring of the developer into the container. I use all three axes (roll, pitch & yaw) for tube development in my initial agitation. Subsequent agitations can accentuate initial problems. Steve Sherman has refined agitation to an art.

    The imprints in the back of the sheet pretty much go away once the film dries. Are you using fiberglass window screen material? I have found that if I'm not careful, I can scratch the back side when withdrawing a film after developemnt. The small scratches can disappear once film dries, but caution is the best method and prevention is what works. I grasp the film and mesh at the same time by leaving a small "tab" on the screen at the top edge of the tube.

    The best, sharpest, most detailed films I have done are from this method. If you haven't done a side by side test, you are missing a lot of the film's inherent potential by not trying this method. tim
     
  12. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    stand or semi-stand for Unicolor

    I am interested in taking advantage of this procedure to see what it does for me, but I process my sheet film in a unicolor tube with continuous agitation now. How have other unicolor users accomplished this if at all?
    Neal
     
  13. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    I vaguely remember some variation of the semi stand process back in the 70s as a way to reduce grain when pushing Tri-X.

    In any event, stand and semi-stand are something that I am really interested in. Having just started using a Rodinal clone, I used the stand process with Efke 25 and for the first time since shooting this film achieved satisfactory results.

    There seems to be a lack of comprehensive and focused information about this process readily available. Sure, there are threads but as usual they contain 1001 variations of doing the same thing. It's nice to read information that takes someone down one path at a time to develop understanding and technique. I do too much shotgun darkroom stuff as it is... :tongue:

    Perhaps Mr. Sherman would put these articles he alludes to on his website, and even better, upload or write a special article for those us here at APUG.

    As to who developed what, it really does not matter as long as the information makes it into the hands of us mere mortals. I remember saying to Ansel once, "what if we divided the contrast range up into a series of zones...". The rest of course is history...
     
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  15. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I never use this method for three reasons.

    1 It distorts the tonal scale of the negative.
    2. It can produce some really ugly edge effects.
    3. It's unnecesary in almost all situations.
     
  16. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Steve stresses very heavily in his workshop that this technique is only amenable to certain types of subject matter. Yes, it distorts the tonal scale of the negative so you have to be careful to distort it in a way which enhances what you're trying to do. Yes, it can produce some really ugly edge effects but it can also produce some beautiful ones (i.e. Steve Sherman's 'Penile Colony') and I find that the edge effects are greatly mitigated anyway with my favorite film, 400TMax. So for me number 2 is not really a problem at all. As to number 3, well, not much of anything we do with these clunky old contraptions is necessary in the first place, is it? It's the unnecessary but beautiful enhancements that make the whole thing rewarding to me.
     
  17. ChrisW

    ChrisW Member

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    Can I expect increased sharpness with 120 film in spiral tanks? Or is that too crowded? I can use one roll in a 5 roll tank with extra developer.

    I usually shoot a stationary subject with 4 different films, so throwing in an additional roll for stand development is not a worry.
     
  18. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Chris, it works for 35mm (pyrocat & efke 100), so I don't see why it won't work with 120. (there are a couple of shots in my gallery from 35mm. Nice one is of the horse tack, very fine detail from 35mm in a 5x7 enlargement) As Jim has said, it will affect different films in different ways, but I enjoy it with efke. tim

    P.S. Again, try it and you might be surprised.
     
  19. ChrisW

    ChrisW Member

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    Thanks Tim. I'll tryit with the Efke 25, and Rollei 25 and post the results.
     
  20. skillian

    skillian Subscriber

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    I just wrote about my own experiences with this process in a different thread on the subject and several folks have been sending me PM about it, but I'll repeat them again here for anyone that's interested.

    I've been using (semi) stand development exclusively to process my 120 film for years. After processing at least 500 rolls of film this way, I've never once had uneven development, problems with bromide drag or "ugly" edge effects. It has worked flawlessly - every time. I use Agfa film and Rodinal, but the technique is very simple and would likely work with most film and developer combinations (I've tested it with Pyrocat and that also works fine). Here's what I do for APX100 rated at 100 with highly diluted Rodinal:

    1. Presoak 2 rolls in a 4 roll 1000 ml tank
    2. Fill tank with 1:100 Rodinal and agitate for 15 seconds
    3. Let tank sit for 30 minutes
    4. Agitate tank for 15 seconds
    5. Let tank sit for another 30 minutes (total of 1 hour)

    Most of my work is contact prints from larger negatives, but all of my enlargements are made from negatives developed with this simple technique. It has been bullet-proof for me. Although it's tough to see the effects from a scan, all of the enlargements on my Website were made from negatives processed this way. PM if you want more details.
     
  21. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I have used rodinal the same way and the only time the edge effects were 'questionable' was with 35mm and trix.
    They aren't obvious with efke 25,50,100 or acros and look good on trix in 6x7.
     
  22. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Semi-Stand

    Forgive my wording, I was NOT laying claim to the one that perfected or invented the process. Rather, I was the one who after reading Sandy King's Pyrocat article and mention of a process called Stand Development had success altering the contrast of a softly lit scene to produce striking results on Azo paper, a paper with considerable tonal scale. Sandy King and his wealth of knowledge has as much to do with the success of this process as anyone.

    Here again, I get so tired defending the process to those who discount it. It has NOTHING to do with sharper negatives. It has everything to do with controlling micro contrast to fit ones negatives on the positive material each of us chooses to for our end result. Your likes and dislikes should factor into the extend with which each of us allows the process to alter the tonal structure of the negative.

    I will include this link to a past posting on Apug where there is an uploaded photograph made in NYC about 1/2 hour before it started to snow, that should give you some idea of out soft the light was. http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=24023

    I am not comfortable talking about my own work in this manner, that said, when you compare this negative developed using the Semi-Stand vs a conventionally developed negative the results from Semi-Stand are so far superior, in every regard it becomes a moot point once you have seen the print in person.

    For the time being, if you would like me to e mail the VC articles to you please e mail me personally at steve@steve-sherman.com and I would be more than happy to send them along. I do have plans to make available articles and updates on my web site, it just hasn't come to pass yet.
     
  23. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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  24. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    What film, developer and dilution are you using? Like Scott, I've never had any trouble with uneven development, or with screen markings on the negative.
     
  25. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I had screen marking problems for a time but traced it to an inadequate presoak. I now presoak for five minutes with vigorous agitation each one and a half minutes.

    I used minimal agitation for quite a while. It produced negatives that seemed to evidence increased sharpness and local contrast. This was using a diffusion 4550 VCCE and also a Durst 138S condenser enlarger.

    I have since stopped using minimal agitation for two reasons. The first is that it takes too much time for the amount of film that I shoot and process. More importantly since I converted to a point light source for my Durst, I can not see a nickles worth of difference between a minimal developed negative and a conventional (tube developed) negative.

    If I could see a difference, I would tout minimal agitation from the tree tops. That is no longer the case. I have had uneven development in evenly toned (sky areas) with minimal agitation. The film that I have used has been Efke PL 100, Tri X, Tmax 100 all with Pyrocat at 1-1-150 dilution.
     
  26. blackmelas

    blackmelas Subscriber

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    This is a great way to think of it Don. Thanks!

    Last night I was developing a two negatives (one was a duplicate backup of the first) in Prescysol using the semi-stand method that Peter Hogan advocates for smoother grain and higher acutance-- agitation for the first minute then agitation at 4min, then 7min and stop at 10:30. The first neg came out nice but a little over cooked for my tastes so for the second neg I tried reducing agitation to only one in the middle of development. The second negative came out just right, not so heavy in the highlights.

    Not only do I like the results of the semi-stand with this developer but the 3-3 1/2 minute interval between agitations gives me time to do other things in the darkroom, like an always needed cleanup!

    James