What just happened??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by h.v., Feb 8, 2013.

  1. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    So I've now processed 4 rolls of B&W film (3 HP5, 1 FP4). The three previous turned out fine. This last roll, which I developed myself yesterday, has been a real PITA.

    I've had some issues with the previous rolls with water marks, but nothing to the degree from this last roll. It seems like blobs of water just dry right on the film. I usually just re-rinse and everything's a-ok. This roll kept re-drying with marks all over again. Needless to say, it's been very frustrating.

    So I figured out that it may be due to the water being very hard and the chemicals in the water leaving a residue. So, I've tried some distilled water instead. The blobs are mostly gone, but I've noticed another issue when scanning and I can see it on the negatives too. It looks like a permanent water mark or some sort of damage. I admit I wasn't looking to closely at the time, but when I first released the film from the spiral, I didn't notice such marks. It must have been from subsequent re-rinses. Are the negs screwed or is there any way to fix it? Should I re-soak in Ilfotol wetting agent? Perhaps more importantly, is there a way to avoid this in the future?

    Full disclosure: on some of the re-rinses, I didn't use a squeegee and in lieu of that, sometimes I just wiped excess water with my fingers (rubber gloves on).

    Pardon the flatness, occasional dust, here are some scans that I just did within the past half hour exemplifying what I'm talking about. I know they're not all award winning photos :smile:.

    img798.jpg

    This one is really obvious and bad:
    img797.jpg

    Edit: I should also add these two possible causes. I was a bit reckless in hindsight with the roll. First, I thought the strips were dried, but didn't look close enough on a few and tried sliding them in PrintFiles, which didn't really work and made the negatives sorta stick and made it difficult to take out.

    Because I was re-rinsing them after I had already cut them, I had to rehang them on clips side by side. I tried to ensure they wouldn't touch each other, but sometimes they did.
     

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  2. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I wonder if this could be reticulation because of a drastic change in temp from one bath to another.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm thinking that the really wierd, scaly sorts of effects may very well be due to trying to insert damp negatives into Printfile sheets.

    The rest of the problems - most likely due to "hard" water and drying in the sort of dry, potentially dusty air that is much more common in January in Alberta then what we have here on the wet coast.
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    That pattern on the first image indicates reticulation. The same pattern was created when one of my students had run very hot water for atleast 5-10 minutes through the film washer and when he checked he immediately turned on the cold water and shutting off the hot water flow so it ran cold. Kinda interesting though when enlarged.
     
  5. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Okay, so I could definitely see it being either of those things. When removing the wet negatives from the PrintFile, they stuck a bit and I had to pull hard to get it to budge. When I initially rinsed after development for 7 1/2 minutes, I used about 20°C as recommended. Today during re-rinses, I didn't use a thermometre and the water was warm, warmer than usual. From playing with the water temp before developing to get things right, I'd guess it was over 35°C, though I can't be sure. Any idea to tell exactly which it was?

    I guess I'll know for next time to be 100% sure that the negatives are dry and if I need to re-rinse, that I check the temperature. Is there anything else it could be?

    Yeah the hard water is an issue in Alberta. The water marks are really irking me. The distilled re-rinse helped 90% of it, but some still remains. I'm guessing next time if I combine final rinse with Ilfotol it should get rid of 99%. Ironically, I haven't had dust issues. My lab processed negatives are often dusty, but mine aren't. It helps I think that I chose the least dusty room in the place and ensure there is minimal movement in the room when the film is drying.

    Thanks for the help so far guys. This has reassured me, I was a bit paranoid about shooting more b&w. It is weird though - on re-rinses on previous rolls, I didn't check temp either and no scaley reticulations occurred.

    It may also be worth noting that the first 9 frames are without this issue. After that, it starts getting ugly. Those first 9 frames I think I only re-washed once and then let them dry and put them in sleeves. They still have some water marks that only show up in some scans. But I only ended up re-washing the other strips.
     
  6. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I too have very hard water. For both color and b&w processing I find it necessary to use film sponges and carefully remove the excess rinse even when using distilled water for the photoflo last rinse following the wash. If I remove as much as possible leaving only a few drops, then I get a clean dry and have had no problems with debris or scratching. You must use very clean carefully stored photo-grade sponges moved slowly down the film following both sides, usually in two passes to eliminate drops. My sponges are wetted with either photoflo or stabilizer (I usually use stabilizer for b&w too), and then sqeezed out as much as possible before wiping the film to dry.

    Using distilled water or stabilizer alone and leaving the film to dry is not sufficient because there are water spots left from the few places where the film surface retains moisture. However, I never got drying spots on the emulsion side; only on the film base. In the old days when there was a drying mark on the film base that would show up in printing, the news-room cure was "nose grease." Anybody else remember those days?
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Try the following:

    1) an initial rinse, after washing, using distilled water, followed by
    2) using some isopropyl alcohol in your Photo-flo + distilled water final rinse.

    I mix my final rinse as follows 1 part Photo-flo + 7 parts (70%) isopropyl alcohol + 192 parts water.

    The easiest way to do this is to first make up 8 ounces of a "stock" solution of 1 part Photo-flo + 7 parts (70%) isopropyl alcohol (it keeps) and then dilute that stock solution immediately before use - 1 part stock + 24 parts water.
     
  8. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Those are not (water-)drying marks, they're damage to the emulsion. Could be reticulation but I've never seen it that bad or patchy on good (Ilford) film like that - you'd have to have HUGE temperature swings to cause it.

    I would suspect the films touching each other while drying as the most likely culprit. Sticking emulsion to PrintFile sleeves could also have that effect.
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Reticulation has a very distinctive pattern and first photo seems to display this.

    If you have very hard water a final rinse in distilled/de-ionized water with 2 to 3 drops of Photo-Flo per 250 ml of water is recommended.
     
  10. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    The water marks don't really show up on the photos I posted. I know that isn't water markings because it appears etched onto the negative itself and won't come off with another rinse. You guys keep mentioning Photo-Flo, but I mentioned using Ilfotol...this'll work too? I use a tablespoon of it in a final rinse of 300ml. The past 4 X have been with tap water (which in the Canadian winter will be hard water), but next time will be with distilled water at 20C.

    The film sponge and alcohol are good ideas. I will definitely look into them. Would this work? I'm going to shoot another HP5 and process this weekend and will try the distilled water thing in the meantime.

    It probably was due in part to huge temp swings. My home is generally at 21°C. Initial rinse was at about 20°C. Subsequent re-rinses were generally I'm guessing above 35°C, but I'd often run water over the negative right after turning on the water before it warmed up. So it could've been exposed to a temp change between 10°C and 40°C, then brought back down to 21°C at room temperature. I know now to make sure if I do re-rinse, to test the temp beforehand.

    It seems like the 1st and 3rd images would be indication of temperature swings, the middle one more of getting stuck to the PrintFile, no?

    This whole B&W processing has definitely been a wacky learning experience...just another thing to learn from I suppose. I was recommended today in lieu of these issues that I probably should continue to send anything very important to the lab until I've processed about 10 rolls and the initial learning phase should be over. I think that's good advice to go on. At least not all is lost from that day, half of it was shot on a remaining roll of FP4 and that turned out fine (minus occasional water marks).
     
  11. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    There is no water anywhere on earth as hard as Union County well water, right here. Pretty vile stuff. But I just put a few drops of Photo-Flo in the final soak, and never a problem yet. I see all these threads on here about water spots. Maybe the reason I never have them is the whole strip of film is one big water spot.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You guys keep mentioning Photo-Flo, but I mentioned using Ilfotol...this'll work too?

    Ilfotol is functionally the same as Photo-flo - go ahead and use it.

    I use a tablespoon of it in a final rinse of 300ml.

    Here we have a problem.

    A tablespoon is about 15ml (depending on whether you are using a British, US or Australian tablespoon). According to the instructions, Ilfotol is designed to be mixed one part Ilfotol concentrate to 200 parts water.

    So if you are making up 300 ml of working solution, you should be using 1.5 ml of Ilfotol concentrate - i.e. you are using ten times too much concentrate!

    The film sponge and alcohol are good ideas. I will definitely look into them. Would this work?

    I'm not very fond of film squeegees - it is so easy to scratch the film.
    I would suggest you try adjusting the Ilfotol before resorting to a squeegee.

    And do your best to keep the humidity reasonably high where you dry your film - slower is better.

    Have you carefully reviewed Ilford's instructions on this?

    Have fun - hope this helps.
     
  13. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    As for my own last word on this, in 40 some-odd years of photography I ALWAYS thought those plastic film pages to fit in a notebook were nothing but trouble with a capital T. One drop of water will NEVER dry. It only becomes super-glue to the film emulsion. Terrible terrible invention.
     
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  15. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    I already have a squeegee that I use after unloading the film. But it is rubberized, not a sponge one like I was recommended. I currently use a $15 Patterson Rubberized Squeegee.

    I knew my poor math skills would bite me in the butt somewhere in this whole thing. I got the calculation for the 1+200 but I forgot it and didn't realize until later so I improved with 300ml. That's how much chem+water mix is used for 1 roll with developer, stop bath, and fixer. According to the Ilford instructions, I should be using a tablespoon of Ilfotol in 1+200 solution, though. So I did carefully review it, just bad at math...

    I turn on the fan in the bathroom to help get rid of the fumes as the door is light tight shut with electrical tape and towels...so it has nowhere else to go. But this can also get rid of humidity...so is this bad to do?
     
  16. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Henry...I don't know...my previous rolls were left overnight and completely dry. The PrintFiles are supposedly better than the traditional negative sleeves.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm not sure where you got your instructions from for the Ilfotol.

    The instructions on their website say:

    Mixing instructions and use
    As a final rinse for film we recommend starting with a solution of 5ml of ILFOTOL for each litre of rinse water (1+ 200). The dilution of ILFOTOL needed is dependant on a number of factors and may need some adjustment to get optimum performance for a particular set of circumstances. Performance may vary due the local water quality, the type of processor in use, drying method, etc..
    ...
    We recommend that ILFOTOL is measured and dispensed accurately as either too little or too much wetting agent can lead to uneven drying. Use a graduated pipette or eyedropper if very small quantities are needed. NB the ILFORD 1 litre bottle cap will hold approximately 20ml of ILFOTOL brim full, at 1+200 this is enough wetting agent for 4 litres of water.


    As for the fan in the bathroom, are you doing additional darkroom work while you wait for the film to dry? I usually end up developing film in the evening, and therefore can allow my film to dry over-night in the shower area (with curtain closed).
     
  18. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    None of that matters! Listen to me here, it's important. A lot of you folks on here might be young people. Some of you will go on to live hard lives in, retrospect. Those negatives will go with you from apartment to apartment, attic to basement, even sitting outside in the weather because you had no other place to keep them. And when you're MY age, your negative collection you've dragged through 35 years, 40 years of these tribulations, those negatives will all be worthless if you keep them is those damn plastic pages. Better an ordinary #10 white-wove envelope, or the paper glassine strips. Whatever. Thank God I at least knew that much 40 years ago. My negastives are all fine to this day, after all those hard times. With those handy, neat plastic pages, I'd have NOTHING now. Just a water surface-tension glued-together mess.
     
  19. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Yeah, sorry. I just realized that I mixed up teaspoon with tablespoon. I hoped no one responded yet. And I re-read the thing too and so I'd need 1L of water plus the teaspoon (5ml).

    Desertratt: I've mentioned that I use Ilfotol. I will definitely try squeegeeing slower too. #2 would go in line with my theory of it being affected by coming into contact with the PrintFile and sticking while still wet. The other two seeme to be due to temperature fchanges.

    Edit: Henry: you've seen others images go to crap due to sleeve-style storage? It seems that sleeves are a very common medium of storage, I wouldn't think there to be an issue. Would the paper of the envelope not risk scratching the negatives?
     
  20. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    No the paper is not going to scratch them, unless you run over it with a moving van or a hand-truck, or whatever, as you've moivng to your next apartment (or have to move OUT of one). Life can be very hard, and there's one thing you can KNOW for sure--plastic and negatives don't mix. A #10 envelope is not going to harm a single thing. Scratches--not likely. Plastic + negatives= waterglued worthless mess. One drop of water has AMAZING surface-tension, goes a long way. Worse than printing ink, one dab of that will ruin every clothing item in your closet and drawers.
     
  21. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    :smile:
     
  22. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    Ok, but have you seen this issue with others negatives over the years? Negatives do eventually dry and if they're fully dry (like when I wait 8-10hrs overnight) there should be no issue. Not criticizing, just trying to understand because I've never heard of issues with neg sleeves.
     
  23. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I have seen more negatives in my day than... no, He's seen more. I do not know you or your age. Hope your life will be more comfortable and stable than mine had been some times. I'm trying to tell you plastic and negatives don't mix. If your negatives make it till you're 30, they have a chance. I'm 56, and have my negatives from 1972. Some from 1965 when I got that Instamatic 104. Other people my age with their glued-together water-ruined negatives in those plastic pages, those poor fools had to throw theirs out in the 1980's.
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have lots of negatives from the 1970s - some in paper/glascine and others in "Printfile" type materials.

    I have kept them dry - they are all in good shape.
     
  25. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I've had negatives in plastic file pages for at least twenty years without a problem I believe decades back some pages were made with polyethylene and others polypropylene, of which the latter is highly preferred (probably less out-gassing components).
     
  26. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I only went on that rant about plastic pages, because I've known some mighty irresponsible friends who lived more like vagabonds. Those plastic pages came on the scene back in the 70's I believe. I've seen a lot of negatives since those days that were in those plastic pages, all stuck and ruined. Photography tends to gather a lot of the "arts" crowd who live lives of instability. Their possessions tend to be neglected, poorly stored, stolen, water-damaged--you name it. Water-damaged being the key word here. Let a little water get near those things, and it's all over. OK, enough out of me before I come off as some kind of nut. This thread took me through some old memory lane. I'm glad I got a stable job in 79 and got away from those people. Irresponsible to this day. I know--I met a couple of them about a year ago.