what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by aleckurgan, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. aleckurgan

    aleckurgan Member

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    Hello.
    Some time ago I started finding these blotches in my photos. Usually randomly placed in the upper part of the frame, but some times forming a horizontal line.
    Apparently this is a processing error, because I saw this happening with different film/developer combinations. I don't recall changing anything in my developing procedure recently. Agitation as recommended by Ilford, temperature +20C. Tried presoaking and got even worse results (attached). It also seems to be more apparent with shorter development times (5-8mins). Is this some sort of "uneven development"?
    Thanks in advance.
     

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  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    The dark dots would be areas of lower density in the negative. Is it possible you're not filling the tank high enough? Some developers have more of a tendency to foam than others. A foamy layer near the top of the negative might produce a result like this. I've heard the tendency toward foaming might also increase if the tank and/or reels had wetting agent residue on them.

    Maybe a fixing issue? Could be the same problem. Make sure there's enough volume.

    Just throwing out some ideas here. Others might have better diagnoses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2011
  3. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    I go with Michael's theory. If using plastic, a good soak in hot water and some white vinegar, plus scrub, is necessary once in a while, as photoflo residue does build up. With stainless steel it is not as bad but still a quick scrub to the reels after a session is a good idea.
     
  4. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    It looks like air bubles. As most of the blotches are in the upper part of the pictures, it indicates that you may have to little developer volume. The upper reel in the developing tank must be completely covered and preferably with some margin ( at least 1 cm I would say ). When the tank rests between agitations, most of the foam that is formed will stay on the surface, but some bubbles will still be trapped under the surface.
    Also don't use any wetting agent when presoaking or in the developer as this will increase the foaming. If you use wetting agent in the final rinse, be sure to wash tank and reels thoroughly afterwards in water only.
    I hope this will solve your problem.

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  5. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    It looks like we agree. Michael and MaximusM3 wrote directly while I was checking my English spelling.

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  6. aleckurgan

    aleckurgan Member

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    Maximus, I think you're right. Thanks for the advice. I didn't know it has a tendency to build up. I'll try vinegar. But scrub? You mean like face scrub? :wink: I do brush the reels every time though... :D
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    While I can't say what it is, it doesn't look like the air bubbles I've had. Mine all were in a line right along the top where they got trapped under the reel; they weren't scattered over the frame like that. I rinse my reels in hot (50-60C) water for a minute and that's quite enough to remove any photoflo (it's only soap, not some magically tenacious adhesive); I personally wouldn't scrub with anything. And to confound you even further, I add a drop of photoflo to each 500mL batch of dev when doing small-tank/inversion development in order to prevent the bubbles getting trapped under the reel!

    To see if foaming is a problem, load up your tank with scrap film and do your usual (?) minute of inversions with just plain water and a reel in there. Take the top off and see if there's foam and/or bubbles trapped between film and spiral.

    In the middle of your crop, I can see a jagged tide mark which tells me that your developer is perhaps not going in very quickly or you have crazy-short dev times.

    What developer is it? Any chance that something has precipitated out? Something else to consider is fungal issues with the film - I wouldn't necessarily expect that in Prague but maybe your film is particularly old?

    (PS I saw the pic and thought "is that Karluv Most? I see the tourist balloon!" before I saw your location. I was there just last month!)
     
  8. aleckurgan

    aleckurgan Member

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    polyglot, sorry it's not the tourist balloon, but another case of defect (see crop attached). The balloon is on the other side of the river. :wink:
    I applied a curve in PS to make it a bit more visible. And it looks really weird. All the air bubbles I got before, usually no more than 1-2 per year, had clear and sharp borders, while these are fuzzy as if the bubbles were growing. And there are many of them.
    That time I developed for 5 mins in Fomadon LQN 1+10, which is not crazy-short. :smile: But then again, I experienced these "things" with 2 different films and 3 different developers...
     

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  9. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    eurgh. That still looks to me like something growing in your emulsion. Could you perhaps test by having a lab process a roll?

    And 5 minutes is the absolute minimum processing time you should consider; it is definitely short even if not crazy-short. Are you agitating for all of the first 60s? Is your tank over-full or does it have a nice big air bubble at the top so that the developer will get thoroughly stirred when you invert? Do you rap the tank on your benchtop after agitation?
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi aleckurgan,

    These sure look like air bells, but right they are fuzzy which isn't typical. I got air bells once in my life. Since that day I agitated thus:

    1. Pour in developer and cap off.
    2. Invert repeatedly 15 seconds about 6 inversions.
    3. Rap tank on hard surface 3 times.
    4. 3-4 inversions each 30 seconds followed by rap hard 3 times.
    -after about 3 minutes of this I still invert on 30 seconds, but I don't rap as hard - by that time air bells are not such an issue

    What is your tank? What is your agitation procedure like?
     
  11. aleckurgan

    aleckurgan Member

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    My agitation technique is simple - 4 inversions during 10 seconds every minute, with 2 firm taps at the end of each sequence. The tank that I use is 300ml 1 spiral.
    The thing is, I always worked like this, but started getting these "bubbles" only recently. So this scenario with something being built up kind of fits the situation.
     
  12. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    do we know for certain that the top of the frame was indeed top of reel in the tank ? for some reason I wanna say it's fungus or something organic. Low developer levels would leave a rather noticeable band of density change. is this fresh film or old and how was it stored ?
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I'm hoping it's just scum from photoflo. If that's the case, the gunk can be removed by resoaking your negs and gently wipe them dry with Kimwipes and hung in a dust free place to dry.
     
  14. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Do you agitate continuously for the first whole minute though? 'cos you're meant to.
     
  15. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    How old are the negatives? I have some with density loss like that that from the 80s from improper fixing.
     
  16. Geodesiq

    Geodesiq Member

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    It is strange. I have to go with the fungus theory if the film is old and/or poorly stored. They look like fungus that developed on my 25yo XP1 negs. Did you try to wipe it off? Is it only 35mm? Do you have some 120 film to try?