I had some weird effects quite similar to this when I used a scanner to scan the negatives and forgot to switch off the digital ICE for my black and white negatives. Can you see the effect in the negatives?
I've seen similar problems on negatives that were much underexposed. One in particular, was the shadow detail of a white house on a winter day. I realized it was underexposed right after I took the picture, and took a subsequent shot with proper exposure and that one had no such problem. I was only looking a scan of the negative, and never bothered to print the shot that was underexposed, so I don't know how it would look on paper. If I recall, I was using FP-4 developed in Rodinal 1:100.
You are seeing clumps of grain. Are you keeping your processing solutions within a couple of degrees of each other? Is your temperature too high?
Do you use an acidic stop bath? It could be too strong.
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Some people worry about reticulation but it is very hard to produce even when you want it. There is an exfellent example of it in Haist's Monobath Manual. Many, many years ago it was quite common when emulsions were very soft. But with today's harder emulsions it seldom happens unless something like a high pH monobath is used. It can be produced by subjecting film to a vary large and sudden change in solution temperature or osmotic pressure.
It is hard to tell from your photos without a higher magnification but I would say that you are not experiencing reticulation. Reticulation produces a very distinctive pattern which is not evident in your examples.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
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About a year ago, I was acting as darkroom monitor at the college where I work. I decided to soup a couple of rolls of film to pass the time.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
I got the water temperature all set up the way I wanted it and let it run into a bucket in the sink. (No thermostatic faucet in this darkroom.)
I was almost done with my batch. All I had to do was rinse and use Photo-Flo but, unbeknownst to me, somebody came along to washed his hands and messed up the water temperature. Not realizing, I filled my tank with HOT water from the faucet. "Oh, S#IT!" I quickly dumped the water out and filled it from the water in the bucket.
I thought I was screwed, for certain, but everything came out all right.
Since then, I have stopped worrying about reticulation so much. I figure the development temperature is still critical (±1ºC) but if my wash temperature varies by a couple of degrees in either direction, it won't hurt.
Thus, I don't think your problem is from reticulation. I think it's over-emphasized grain or clumps of grain that occur during development.
First, regardless of how you develop, the faster the film speed, the more visible grain will be. With 3200 speed film, you will see a lot more grain than you will with 100 or 400.
Also, if you push your film you will likely see more grain, as well.
Development time and temperature will affect grain. Higher temperatures, even if you compensate the developing time, will show increased grain.
Different types/brands of developer can also affect the appearance of grain.
Question: What temperature did you develop at? Was it 20ºC ±1ºC? Did you develop at a higher temperature in order to shorten development time?
It is my understanding that Rodinal is a more aggressive developer, especially when used at higher temperatures. (Correct me if I am wrong.)
Enlarging the image will also enlarge the grain, regardless of how well the film was developed.
My guess is this: 3200 speed film processed in an aggressive developer at a higher than usual temperature then enlarging the image is showing more emphasized grain.
P.S. -- Some photographers do things like this on purpose just to achieve a grainy image. In fact, some digitographers use Photoshop to simulate the effect you are achieveing naturally.
Bottom Line: Call it art.
(Then double check your process temps to be sure.)
Last edited by Worker 11811; 06-07-2012 at 12:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I would tend to agree with the consensus; this would appear to be grain, rather than reticulation as I see it.
Attached is an image with a rather interesting (and stylish) pattern.
The original is a glass plate dated circa 1914. The pattern seems to follow preferentially specific areas of the image -- dark garment, light garment, the grass, the vine on the corner of the house, the chair back. (Almost looks like a contour map!)
The leech-like streaks at the top are emulsion that has separated from the glass. They appear maximum-black.
I would dearly love to reproduce this; probably not possible with modern materials. I assume that this occurred during development. The leeches probably went to D-max because they were exposed to developer on both sides of the emulsion.
The pattern is distinctly visible in the emulsion. (Quasi Kodachrome) I attempted to scan it, but I can't make it show.
This is part of a collection, some of which also show reticulation. In all other instances, the pattern is the usual regular and uniform.
Someone was having a bad day. Gotta wonder why .....
Have you tried mixing the same chemistry with distilled water? That way you could eliminate the possibility of your water being the cause (or not) of the problem. I don't use any of the products you mentioned but that would be the easiest thing to change first. I have never had reticulation but I use only water as a stop and generally have about a 5 or 6 degree difference between dev and fix.
This is discussed many times, but there is a completely different phenomenon called "microreticulation" or "grain clumping" that looks exactly like grain, without the typical reticulation pattern. Also, it is stated it happens more easily than traditional reticulation, even with modern films.
Some people always deny its existence, but I believe in it because I've seen it myself.
It came with Neopan 400, a film reported to more prone to both traditional reticulation and microreticulation by many, at least when compared to the current range of Kodak and Ilford products. I didn't control the temperatures very well and used a hairdryer to quickly dry the film.
The resulting negs did not have any kind of special pattern. Densities were fine and it looked good and normal EXCEPT THAT those 6x6 frames developed in XTOL, printed at 24cm x 24 cm (10" x 10") looked as grainy as I would normally expect from 35mm frames developed in Rodinal. For a properly exposed 400 speed film in XTOL with a magnification of 4, the grain should not be practically visible, but it was pronounced. Later, I read about microreticulation and decided it has to be the cause.
I'm not claiming this is a case of microreticulation, but it is a possibility.
But to me, those images posted look underexposed, too. There might be two problems going on here at the same time, underexposure being first of them.
Do the negatives look thin? My first reaction was that this looks like underexposure. But perhaps underdevelopment would look something like this too. Either way, I would expect the negatives to look obviously thin if either of these was going on.