You've mentioned "stand development in dilute Rodinal" a couple of times. Could you please explain in more detail how you do it and what the benefits are?
I'll give a quick overview now. I'm in the process of putting together an article on the subject for APUG.
I use the technique to take advantage of Rodinal's compensating effect, an advantage when film is exposed under contrasty lighting. So far I've limited my experiments to nighttime under a full moon - mostly successful - and still lifes under artificial light - mostly unsuccessful.
The theory behind a compensating effect is that the developer's action becomes exhausted most quickly in the densest areas of a negative - the highlights - while the thinnest, shadow areas continue to come up.
As you can imagine this is a pretty good trick for really difficult exposure situations. Usually we agree that either shadow detail was placed there by exposure or it won't be there at all. I don't believe that stand development creates something from nothing. But it helps minimize blocked up highlights while allowing the shadow detail that was recorded to fully develop.
There are probably better compensating developers. I can't swear to it but Microphen certainly shows an unmistakable compensating effect for me in my push processing adventures. And Diafine is well known for highlight control
The difference is in the dilution. Microphen is great stuff as straight stock solution. For me, tho', it becomes grainy and less palatable when diluted. And while I like Diafine with Tri-X, it imposes its own peculiar tonal qualities.
Rodinal and Tri-X have a classic look. And dilute Rodinal, within reasonable limits, doesn't lose that quality. At 1:25, 1:50, 1:100 and 1:200, when used with Tri-X it all looks pretty much the same to me. There aren't many developers that retain their inherent characteristics despite dilution. D-76/ID-11 certainly doesn't; the same is true of any developer relying on sodium sulfite.
So far my best results come from exposing Tri-X at EI 100 under full or nearly full moonlight (not of the moon but of objects illuminated by moonlight) followed by stand development in 1:200 Rodinal for about two hours. I agitate gently and continuously for the first minute - that's all. Wait, then finish normally with stop bath (actually, I prefer a plain water rinse) and fixer.
I've also experimented with stand development for a shorter duration in a blend of Rodinal and Xtol but that's a whole 'nuther sack o' taters. All the tonality of Rodinal with the fine grain of Xtol - in other words, pretty much like Tri-X in D-76/ID-11 used normally. ;>
Clear as mud? Well, I'll admit, it's mostly voodoo. I'm hoping to be able to defend my position more ably once I've finished research for an article.
BTW, I've uploaded an example (my favorite prop, a goat skull) showing Tri-X stand developed in dilute Rodinal. It's in the Critique section and my personal gallery.
Well...that wasn't a very quick overview. Imagine what the article will be like.
Three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.
Interesting Lex. I've done a similar thing with Tri-x and HC110 diluted 1:120 from concentrate. Development time is only 20 minutes but I'm not always real fond of the results. I'm going to have to try this.
Since I'm using sheet film and tray development, I'll have to get inventive so I don't have to sit in the dark for two hours.
You could put your developer tray inside a paper safe!
I once did something similar to stand development while I was printing. I was working with a badly overexposed negative. Due to the overexposure, it had extremely low contrast. I couldn't get anything resembling a decent print from it. I made one last try. I exposed the paper, put it in the developer -- and the phone rang. I left the darkroom and answered it. After about twenty minutes, I went back in. The print was perfect!
Thanks for the suggestion Rob. But I don't have a paper safe. I'll come up with something similar though.
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Stand development involves using extremely dilute working solutions of a developer and developing for a very long time. Typically you would agitate for the fist minute of development, and no agitation at all after that.
If you are lucky you will get negatives that have full shadow develoment with highlights that are not blown out, regardless of the contrast of the original scene. In this sense stand development is a good choice for extremely contrasty scenes, and/or for situaitons where you were not able to mesure the contrast range.
The other interesting thing about stand development is that it can give extreme adjacency effect and negatives of great apparent sharpness. The effect is at times quite incredible.
Glycin based developers and Rodinal have been used a lot for stand development. Atgeet, for example, developed most o film this way with a glycin based develope. But strange as it might seem for a staining developer, Pyrocat-HD also works very well with this type of develoment. There is a fellow on photo.net who has made a couple of reports of his use of Pyrocat-HD with Across. As I recall he used a dilution of 2:2:500 and developed for 30 or 40 minutes.
I use stand develoment only for 35mm and roll film since these are the sizes that can benefit most from the boost in apparent sharpness. However, because it can be quirky at best I advise taking two or three shots of every important scene because you never know when one of the shots might be ruined because of bromide drag or a gratuitiouis bubble.
You could also use a 4x5 rotary tube...just make sure you add enough developer to fully cover the film when the tube is on it's side...and just let it sit. No darkroom needed.
I stand developed (stood developed?) 4x5 in the following manner. I used the absolutely cheapest 5x7 trays available which are flat bottomed and have a very low profile and put one negative in each one, face up, in 500 ml of dilute rodinal (I ain't gonna mention the dilution 'cause it was just too crazy weak and Lex is gonna yell at me.) On top of those trays I put a deeper 11x14 tray, flipped over so that the 5x7's were cacooned beneath. Then I layored three towels on top of that, patting down the edges as best I could before turning on the lights. That arrangement proved light tight indefinitely -- or at least for 7 hours, which was the length of my longest test.
Before trying this, I'd read another post on P.net which mentioned that old-timers floated trays on liquid mercury (!) for stand development to assure the neg was perfectly flat. Because of this, I thought for sure I was going to get un-even development, but it just never happened. All together the test turned out very promising.
There's a good section on stand development in The Film Developing Cookbook-mentions glycin based devs as being especially good. Re PCat HD-a useful article on the unblinking eye site which is well worth a look.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.