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  1. #11

    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Boise, ID
    Multi Format
    Quote Originally Posted by couldabin
    I'm a new convert to PMK, so this is probably a silly question but I'll ask it anyway: What are the qualitative differences between density from silver and density from stain?

    Hutchings recommends returning the film to developer for two minutes after fixing, which intensifies the stain. So far I haven't done that because the negatives already appear to be plenty dense. In fact, I guessed they were overdeveloped (I was prepared for negatives that looked thin) but they printed much more easily than thinner negs developed in HC110. (I'm working in 4x5.)

    Should I be developing less before fixing? If I cut back on the time and then return the negs to developer as Hutchings recommends, how will the resulting negative differ from the ones I am getting now?
    I took a workshop from Gordon two years ago and he no longer recommends the 2nd bath after the fixer. I understand from talking with the Formulary that Gordon is working on an update to his book "The Art of Pyro". There was some discussion about getting lots of us to help him run his curves.

    On that note: I'm headed back over to the Formulary in late August sensitometer & densitometer in hand, to work out a film test procedure to run curves and photomicrographs of different films and developers. Bill Troop is staying there this summer working on some new developers, so I'll hopefully get him to help me fine tune the procedure. Any film suppliers listening want to donate film for the cause?!

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    4x5 Format


    Quote Originally Posted by john_s
    If the negs are very dense, you could determine if it is due to overdevelopment by considering the contrast. If they printed well on whatever normal paper you want to use, the contrast is right. If development is about right, maybe you're seeing the wonderful effects of very generous exposure (either deliberate or accidental).

    As has been mentioned, the effect of PMK stain with VC papers is quite large, but it might depend on the colour of the stain. My stain was olive, not very green, but I've seen internet images of PMK negs that were extremely green. According to an email from Gordon Hutchings on pure-silver several years ago, the quality of pyrogallol varies a lot. You can get fairly pure lab versions, and some lower quality technical versions. He said that purity made a difference.

    I have used PMK with 120 size film both with and without the second soak (used developer or clean fresh metaborate) and could not really tell the difference by looking at the negs. I got no excessive FB+F either way, using an ordinary inversion tank with not much air in it. Fog is an issue with dev methods that expose the PMK to more air.
    Good point, John. I still have a lot to learn about PMK's characteristics so I'm not certain of this but I think I'm developing more than the exposure warrants. The contrast in the negative is good but the scene was also fairly flat (open shade). I dare say that with direct sun the negative would have been too contrasty. Perhaps this is about right for flat scenes, and shorter development times would put high-contrast scenes in the right range. I look forward to experimenting with this ...


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