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Thread: Hot Water, WTF!

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    Hot Water, WTF!

    I just wanted to share an incident that happened to me when developing some 4x5 last night. I use my kitchen sink and I attach a temperature gauge to it that I control by moving the hot and cold knobs as desired.

    I had finished with the fixing, removed the films to set aside and, and I took the combi-plan tank for the "stop bath" and attached the tubing to the bottom for a quick wash period before using the HCA.

    I cheated and looked at the negatives before emersing in the wash and, like I felt when I exposed them, they were the best negatives I have yet to make with my 4x5 i.e., great densities, NO DUST on my skies!, and tack sharp focus.

    Well, somehow I must have accidentally hit the cold knob and moved it to shut off because, I put the films in the tank, and my fingers touched the water last. It was hot! I yanked them out and immediately emersed them in a container of cold water and I feared a "reticulation" effect due to the exposure to hot water. I remember glancing at the temperature gauge as I yanked them out and it was reading 120 deg F! I can only believe that the films were not exposed long enough to cause problems, they came out ok.

    I place the moral of the story in the absolue necessity to check that temperature gauge on a very frequent basis. That was a heart stopping incident I do not want to experience again.

    Chuck

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    Like all "slip ups" it's so easily done. As the film had hit that temp, I would probably have brought the temperature back down very slowly to normal to avoid reticulation. Reticulation, I believe, usually occurs when wet film is dropped into considerably colder water. If you bring the temp down slowly the contraction of the emulsion is slow and doesn't result in the cracking. Having said that, at 120 deg you were lucky not to have floated the emulsion of the base!! Said it before - rather be lucky than good!!!!!
    "Why is there always a better way?"

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    rmolson's Avatar
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    HOT water


    I have found that ordinary house hold faucets are not to be trusted. They seem to”creep” and the temperature can go up or down, Down is not so bad but up is pretty scary .And reticulation is a real danger.
    As I can’t afford or have room for really good temperature controls I use the old fashion method of mixing up a large bucket of the water at the temperature I want and manually change the water and soak the film for as long as needed.

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    Most modern b/w and color film (but not Efke/Adox) is prehardened. A brief flirtation with 120 degree water should do nothing to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE View Post
    Most modern b/w and color film (but not Efke/Adox) is prehardened. A brief flirtation with 120 degree water should do nothing to it.
    This is good to know now but I sure did not know it at the time.

    Thanks
    Chuck

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    One of the worst things to do is to shock the film with hot then cold water. That enhances reticulation. You were lucky, but I really don't know how to prevent a shock in your type of situation. Wow. Hope your luck continues.

    PE

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    Reticulation seems to be one of those things that happens more often when you do not want it than when you do. It almost makes one believe that there are imps in darkrooms, especially if one has Irish ancestry. I usually don't need any help from imps to make things go wrong.
    Gadget Gainer

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    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I once met a photographer that reticulated all negatives. The prints were extraordinary. A completely unknown photographer, true to the promise she made herself that her photography was for her and her only. Very unique approach. Very beautiful prints. And no desire to show it to others what-so-ever.
    She told me that she happened onto reticulation by accident, in an occurrence much like the one you just experienced. What prevented your film from reticulating I will never know.
    Gainer, I thought they were called gremlins. I have gremlins in my darkroom. Maybe because I'm Swedish.
    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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    I tried to reticulate some film once with as hot water as I could subject it to and rapid switches between temperatures but nothing happened.
    The universe is a haunted house. -Coil
    .

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    It strikes me that reticulation arises because of a sudden and significant drop in temperature. I think modern films are less subject to this phenomena than older ones. I too tried to reticulate, (they can't arrest you for it) and found I had to take the already processed neg up to about 120 deg F then plunge it into a bowl of ice water. Wasn't worth the trouble - at least for that image. :rolleyes:
    "Why is there always a better way?"

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