Stand and Semi-Stand Developing
OK, I've been reading a lot lately here on APUG of people using a Stand and Semi-Stand Development process to develop their film. Since I'm mostly self-taught and I learn as I go, can someone explain to me what exactly is Stand Development? And what are the advantages/disadvantages?
Thank you for the enlightenment
Searching my way to perplexion
I've not tried either stand or semi stand but my impression is you put your film in a container of developer, shake it a couple of time and go away for hours. When you come back the negatives are completly developed.
Semi stand would imply you come back a little early and give the container another shake or two and go away again.
I am the photographer who originally broke the news of the process being successful. I subsequently wrote several articles for View Camera Magazine about the topic. Feel free to PM and I will forward the articles to you.
Short version -
Semi-stand development is also sometimes referred to as Extrem Minimal Agitation (EMA). This process uses highly dilute developer for an extended period of time. For example, when developing with pyro developers, normal dilution is usually 1:2:100 or 2:2:100 (part A: part B: water), and normal development times with 5 seconds of agitation every 30 or so coming in somewhere around 10-15 mins depending on film/exposure. With semi-stand/EMA, you would use 1:1:175 or thereabouts, and you would give approximately 5 seconds of agitation every 15 minutes or so, with development time somewhere around 1 hour.
The advantages of this are that by allowing the developer to exhaust locally on your film. The lack of agitation causes developer byproducts to build up on the film surface. This causes an increase in contrast on an extremely localized level. This is often referred to as micro-contrast. This creates an appearance of overall increased sharpness. When done properly, your film will look like etched glass when you examine the emulsion side of the negative. You will need to consider if you are going to do this before you shoot, as it does not work for all subjects. A subject with large areas of continuous tone will not benefit from this. A subject with already high inherent overall contrast may not benefit. A subject with very low inherent overall contrast and high detail will benefit greatly.
Because of the extremely extended development times, stand/semi-stand/EMA is an excellent process for controlling extremes of contrast - I know this sounds like it contradicts what I just said, but bear with me. If you have a subject, like an interior, where the overall scene contrast is fairly low, but the windows are six or eight stops brighter than the rest of the room, you can more easily adjust for reducing the negative density in the window areas because you can cut back on the total development time without impacting the shadow and mid-tone development.
The downside, in addition to the very long development times, is that you run the risk of bromide drag on the film, creating areas of uneven development, most noticeable in areas of continuous tone, like skies. It is also best done with large volumes of chemistry, and single or a very few negatives at a time. I know people who have made special tanks for developing single sheets when they are working with ULF format negatives. If you are only doing 4x5 or 8x10, deep tanks with hangers are a very viable alternative. The other downside is that unless you have a method for lightproofing your development tank, you're stuck in the darkroom for an hour with the lights out, waiting for the next fifteen minute increment to transpire so you can agitate your chemistry for five seconds.
Semi and stand DEv
Sorry Steve but Atget was known to have used stand development. And that is what-like almost 100 years ago? Nothing new under the sun. I always knew about it just never cared to pusue it since I make LOTS of negatives and LOTS of prints. Edge effects are not that critical to me. Hey if you got 1 hour to dev a negative go for it. Personnaly it adds nothing to the mix for me.
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Sure, Atget did stand development, and the procedure is described in many photography books from the first half of the 20th century. However, there were very few people seriously experimenting with stand development and large sheet film until Steve Sherman initiated a discussion on the subject over on the AZO forum a couple of years ago. That discussion, and Steve's subsequent experimentation and publications in View Camera, produced some useful practical ways to use stand development.
Originally Posted by Peter Schrager
Many film/developer combinations produce some edge effects, even with intermittent and continuous agitation, and the micro contrast that results is an important factor in apparent sharpness.
I personally don't use stand or semi-stand development but a procedure I call extreme minimal agitation. This procedure produces very good edge effects and yet minimizes the possibility of bromide drag so I consider it appropriate for most subjects, whereas I would avoid stand or semi-stand with subjects that have large area of even tones. With extreme minimal you just divide the total time of development into four period, agitate for 1.5 minutes at the beginning of the first period, and then for 10 seconds at the beginning of the second, third and fourth periods. It is a very convenient way to develop. For example, with 5X7 film I place the film in open ended PVC tubes, and the tubes go into a 11X14 Beseler drum filled with developer to a height that covers the top of the tubes. I just plop the tubes into the developer, put the cap on the drum, and agitate for 1.5 minutes by sloshing the developer around. And you just go away until the beginning of the second, third and four periods. After the tubes go in the developer everything is done in the light until the end of development so in practice it is about as easy to develop this way as in a Jobo.
ULF film introduces logistical problems with this kind of development, but it does with other kinds of develoment as well.
I find that the various forms of minimal agitation are really worth the trouble in increasing apparent sharpness, especially with contact printing.
Geoffrey Crawley, I think, is the one who talked about using agitation as a control during film development to shape the curve and build internal contrast and adjacency effects, returning the technique to the postwar consciousness ... back in the '60s.
In the pre WW2 era craft photographers, it was a common technique. I learned my photography from one in the late '60s, and have always viewed agitation as variable, like dilution and time, to make the negative you want.
Ansel Adams wrote about it in The Negative, discussing it's use with HC-110.
Mortenson advocated it.
And going back to the Atget days, Agfa advocated standing development with a metol formula ( much later known as the Beutler formula ), a glycin formula, and Rodinal.
Early 20th century discussions about 'tank development' was usually some form of semi standing development. See Weston, Strand, and Stieglitz.
Steve's monumental achievement ( and I am earnestly serious about this ) is that he described the technique ( and backed it up with fine images ) that would get past the editorial desk, usually the bastion of conformity and convention. And Sandy King has talked about reduced agitation, which is the same thing after all.
So, cudos to Steve and Sandy, and good pictures to us all.
Standing Development, Still Development, Reduced or Minimal Agitation: all the same thing. Using Agitation as a control rather than a constant to effect the image in various ways.
"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"
I deduce from that statement that you've probably never seen any of Steve Sherman's prints.
Originally Posted by Peter Schrager
After less than stellar results, I would like to ask the full-time practinioners of this procedure how they successfully deal with the two major issues I've encountered. That is: Serious uneven development (that is oh so painfully apparent in too many of my shots); and the very erratic presence, or absence, of the protective fibre mesh imprints on the back of the negs.
Until I find a sure cure for these show-stoppers, I will keep developing single-sheets in tray with brush/DBI method.
During WWII I worked in a camera store and among my duties was film development.
We use extreme stand development but it was called "Total Development".
The process involved hanging all roll fillm, regardless of brand or speed, on clips which were attached to a large rack. This rack was lowered into a huge vat of D-23, raised and re-lowered the film twice, and then the tank top was lowered.
The film was left overnight and processing completed the next morning. It was a rare negative which was unprintable. The D-23 was never changed during the year or so I worked in this darkroom.
Sheet film was developed in hangers in another vat of D-23 using the same method.
Since that time when I have negatives of flat subjects, exposed in flat light I use a similar method with sheet film in black trays. My times for this run from 3 - 5 hours.
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