"Take for instance a photograph on this page in my web site, http://www.steve-sherman.com/southwest_main.htm photo is titled Jack, Mystery Arch. For those who have been to Mystery Arch near Monument Valley you know the rock or arch is deep dark red sandstone with little areas which reflect any secularity. The negative was generously exposed with the dark tones of the rock exposed near Zone 7 or 8, naturally this pushed the background (late afternoon sunlight) probably up to Zone 14. I used the HC110 dilute developer method and then printed on a high contrast paper preserving the impression of light emanating from the arch ..." Steve, I do not understand why you didn't set the red arch on Zone 4 or 5? Maybe it this is because I don't understand what you mean by "secularity"?
[FONT=Times New Roman]MAC[/FONT]
I take it as a typo for specularity.
Originally Posted by hortense
Typo it was, I forgot the letter P, I meant specualrity.
Steve, I do not understand why you didn't set the red arch on Zone 4 or 5?
The tonalities in the original print are more in the Zone 6.5 to 7 which moved the sunlit background up around Zone 14. In order to compress that much contrast the lower zones fall a bit because of reduced agitation and strength of developer. Fair to say that if the arch was exposed on Zone 8 then negative density will fall a couple of zones while the brigthest areas fall about 6 zones.
I didn't play it up too much but printing these negatives on a high contrast paper was no easy task. The waste basket got a workout as well as I.
That is the beauty of the Semi-Stand or Extreme Minimal agitation process. The negative comes ready to print on softer paper because of the increase adjancecy effects. Here is the hard part, what is the correct amount of adjancecy effects for your likes? Many variables play a part, the light you shoot in, the amount of exposure, development technique and probably the single biggest factor is which film you choose. Film characteristics within the same manufacturer differ when speed is changed. For example, Ilford FP4 is considered to have a higher contrast profile than that of Ilford's next film up in speed, HP 5 which is considered to have a long shoulder.
The important thing to take from this is Semi-Stand or Extreme Minimal Agitation has no down side. The process does and will take time to master, but then if it were easy everyone would be doing it. If you are a LF type this much extra effort in the darkroom is a small trade off.
Like someone said here above. You really need to see the results to appreciate what takes place.
This is *exactly* what I do. I need more practice, to get better at it, but already I can keep detail in my negatives, which I hope to be able to get onto prints (but often have trouble scanning) that would be lost with the greater exposure of the Zone System's "Expose for shadows, develop for highlights".
Originally Posted by df cardwell
Of course, like any other form of expansion/contraction development, it works better with some films than with others, but even with the ones where there isn't much expansion or contraction there is the smoothness of the broad tones alongside the crispness of the sharp edges; TMY is simply *wonderful* done this way (my "normal" is nineteen minutes in HC-110 Dilution G, five inversions every 3rd minute).
And unlike contraction by reduced development, you don't lose speed when you give N-; in fact, you *gain* speed (relatively speaking) with all contrasts, because even N-2 is longer in the soup than "normal" with "normal" agitation, and the shadows are more affected by total dev time than by agitation.
Yes, it takes longer than ten minutes from pouring the developer to starting the wash -- but, IMO, it's worth the wait. If it's art, there's no hurry -- if I were trying to beat a deadline, I'd be developing in Dilution B at 75F and pouring in fixer concentrate at the end of development, and happy to get anything I could print.
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
I think I lost something in translation. Did you or did you not use stand or semi-stand development on the Mystery Arch photo? Your wording seems to indicate that you wish you had because it would have made the printing easier, but if that is the case, I cannot figure out why you would use that picture to demonstrate the advantages of stand deverlopment. It would be much better if you had made two negatives and developed by two different agitation patterns. Please set me straight.
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Mystery Arch shot was done years ago before I was aware of Semi-Stand. So yes the discussion is about the added benefit of Semi-Stand over a Water Bath variation.
There is no need for a comparison although some are discussed at length in the first View Camera article in March / April. The process when actually done first hand is staggering to see in person. Try it!
I will try to put some thoughts beginning to end on how I do the process. Unfortunately I am involved in selling our house and times are very hectic for the next several weeks.
I have tried it, though not perhaps in the way you would approve. I did some characteristic curves with and without agitation. Since the purpose was to find the effect of no agitation vs agitation, I used the same developers in both cases. I found that the developing times had to be 40% longer to get the same contrast index for each of two developers. In neither case was there any significant difference in shape of the curve.
Originally Posted by Steve Sherman
Usually, when a person praises stand or half-stand development, we find that the agitation was not the only variable. Stand development, it seems, requires at least a much more dilute developer, and it is of the type commonly called "compensating" , though that term is not adequately defined, nor is it to be found in "The Theory of the Photographic Process". Once the magic elixir is found, no one tests it to see if it gives the same results with agitation.
If I seem to be sarcastic, it is not for the purpose of being cruel. It is a result of 30 years in basic research at NACA-NASA where I (and most others) had to serve on editorial committees which tried their best to tear holes in any report they were editing. Since reports were our only product, we had to be convinced that any report we allowed to be published was the best it could be. I wrote and reviewed reports on aerodynamics, both from flight data and wind tunnel data. I designed star charts for the Mercury astronauts to use as emergency guidance during reentry. I helped design apparatus for measuring eye movements to help in designing instrument layouts. Forgive me if I play the Devol's advocate now and then.
The characteristic curve you measure with a standard densitometer often has little relationship to the micro contrast. Unless you measure density with a microdensitometer, you cannot judge the true curve of the film.
Therefore, any statement about characteristic curve in this type of discussion is meaningless unless you compare at least two curves, a macro curve and a micro curve. In fact, the micro curve should be read at the image amplification factor for the camera format, for example a 100 micron line for 4x5, a 10 micron line for MF, and a 1 micron lline for 35mm. Comparisons of all 4 curves (Macro and the 3 micro) will tell the true story of the film-process combination for most any image or magnification factor.
This is a point that most everyone misses in this type of discussion.
I've tested it. It works. IF certain criteria fit.
And it comes down to the developer / film combination. SOME WORK, SOME DON'T. Today, I solved a problem for a job that involves processing a large number of 4x5 sheets for a client. I know the scale of the scenes which were photographed. I know zone placements. A film was used that was completely new to me.
Using step wedge, densitometer, a small box of pixie dust, I began with the manufacturer's suggested time and agitation for HC-110, dil. B (1+31).
The results indicated the expected upswept curve, and eveything was pretty close to the published data. The problem ? Client's images demanded a longer straight line.
The second test found that Zones II ~ VIII fell where they had been placed if I halved the concentration of developer and significantly increased the development time. Agitation was reduced to 5 seconds at 5 minute intervals. The problem ? The amount of film, and the time available to process it, disagreed with the results.
The third test gave the desired results with a 1+50 dilution, with 5 seconds agitation every third minute, for an intermediate time. I repeated the test, and made real world exposures with a lens similar to my clients. Processed, I had a curve that fit my client's requirements. Printed, it was satisfactory in every way.
Talking more about it will be boring to most anybody still reading this. I don't intend this to be anything more than an indication of the general process I used.
Gadget: I agree with your concerns. I don't believe in witchcraft, or miracle developers, and I was joking about the pixie dust. But I know that we can alter our developing system to allow for a good deal of curve shape variation.
It may come down to simply looking for ways to make something work.
This might be a good conversation in Toronto....
Last edited by df cardwell; 08-11-2005 at 05:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
When I wrote about this for Photo Techniques in the article "Agitate or Ruminate" I used step wedges, in which microdensities should not be a concern unless you are looking for differences in granularity, and still life continuous tone images. I found variations in density within steps that appeared to be due to bromide drag. These are microdensity variations that one would rather not find in any photograph. I found uneven development in the still life photos that might have gone unnoticed if I had not had both agitated and stand developed negatives.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
I do not remember the publication date of the article, but my file has a date of August, 2002.
Your idea for use of microdensities makes no sense to me, I'm sorry to say. If you are talking about edge effects, I would have no difficulty measuring the variation in density across an edge. My densitometer measures a projected image that I can enlarge to my heart's content and has a sensor less than 1 mm square. I have to say that I do not believe you know what can and cannot be measured by a microdensitometer that would not show in a print. If there is such a thing, it cannot possibly be of interest to the practical photographer. At least I do not care about any variation in density that does not show in a print. The variations that DO show in prints are such that I am very leary of using stand development for an important job.