Sheet development problem.
Hey guys. Just wondering if I can pick your brains for a tick.
I developed this the other night, and after scanning (my way of proofing) I discovered the sky is rather patchy. Pretty much the only thing I can narrow the problem down to is a developing issue. I develop my 4x5 in open trays, and this was the first time I'd developed 8 at once, so perhaps I was rushing the shuffling a bit? I'm not really sure. I've developed 7 sheets at once before with no problems (though had no skies like this for it to show up) so I'm not really 100% sure. Does it look like typical uneven development?
And a larger version here: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3606/...00f67ef0_o.jpg
I actually have another negative of the same scene I shot without an orange filter where it's more pronounced, but I deleted that film. Hope this one's enough to tell, and any suggestions to avoid it in the future?
My first thought was hot fingers locally accelerating development in the shuffling process - but that would tend to add neg density and reduce print density. It looks like you have the opposite problem from what I can tell. If it were actual differences in blue saturation in the sky itself the orange filter would have accentuated those differences.
Sorry to tell you what it isn't - but perhaps it starts to narrow the problem down.
"Why is there always a better way?"
If anything hot fingers should have been less of a problem with these compared to previous developing as I was rushing through my 8 sheets every minute to get them done with time to let them sit for a bit. I was only slightly faster, but still noticeably faster.
Originally Posted by BobNewYork
It's always nice to cancel out possible problems though. Thanks.
What is the film, what is the developer? Time? Temp? What was your agitation?
Should have put this in huh?
Originally Posted by keithwms
Ilford FP4 (shot @ box speed) in ID-11 (1:1) for 11mins at 20C.
Agitation was top sheet to bottom of pack for all sheets then 1 more sheet so the same sheet wasn't on top every minute. This took around 40-45secs for the cycle, then I let the stack sit in the developer 'til the start of the next minute.
The same process I usually do, though with a few more sheets than usual.
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It looks to me as if it may be an exposure problem. Perhaps your filter factoring was off. If it is a developing problem it seems likely your shuffling may have allowed some sticking of negs together for a frequent but short period of time.
I had similar problems when developing sheets in trays emulsion-side down. It seems the ribs on the bottom of the tray caused uneven developer flow and some obvious increases in density around the rib areas. I tried emulsion side down since I heard it minimized the risk of damage. Unfortunately, it didn't work nearly as well as emulsion-side up; I switched back after one session! If you are developing emulsion-side down this may be your problem. (BTW, by just training myself to be alert and careful, I have virtually eliminated negative damage from handling. My last batch of 150 negs came out flawlessly except one neg that I damaged by dropping a funnel into the film washer during washing. I've now moved the film washer away from under the shelf...)
I also shuffle from bottom to top, (emulsion-side up) so that the moved neg gets a bath in a lot of developer, not just the little bit under the stack. Maybe shuffling in this manner would help too. Having the full depth of the developer above the exposed emulsion side of the negative has to help with evenness.
I also make sure that each sheet gets adequate developer when initially immersing them. After the water pre-soak (also indispensable if you want to minimize blotching), I immerse the sheets over the period of 30 seconds (e.g., six sheets = one sheet immersed and agitated every 5 seconds).
My scheme is to go through the stack once every 30 seconds for the first half of the developing time, then slow to once per minute at the halfway point. I turn the stack 180° each time through for the first half and switch to turning each sheet as I shuffle it for the slower shuffling. I time the shuffling so that I don't have a pause at the end (e.g., six sheets = one shuffle every 5 sec. for the first half, every 10 sec. for the second half of development).
When shuffling, I very gently immerse the sheet pulled from the bottom to minimize turbulence around the edges of the negative. Just a nice, easy float to the bottom aided by a little finger pressure.
I finish with sheet one on the bottom, pick up the entire stack, fan it like a hand of cards with the bottom sheet sticking out on the right (I work from left to right) and then immerse the sheets in the stop bath in the same order and interval as I immersed them in the developer. This ensures exactly the same developing time.
I use PMK primarily, and have become rather obsessed with getting even development, since it is such a finicky developer in this regard. I've been using this scheme for a long time now and am quite pleased with the evenness of development. Maybe there are some tips here that will be of help to you.
Best and good luck,
Last edited by Doremus Scudder; 04-06-2009 at 11:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
This might help:
I run up to 8 sheets 8x10 in trays with no problem (TMax in HC-110 or Tanol):
I use two trays for each step. And I add photoflow to the presoak, so the film will have no tendency to stick together. I run the film emulsion side up and always take the TOP sheet to move to the next tray to avoid scratches. To move all sheets from one tray to the next takes 30". If I run fewer than 8 sheets, I go slower, but always 30" tray to tray. I use a RH ProcessMaster to keep accurate times.
It appears to me, that development problems often come from too subtle agitation.
You might look at a 'slosher' sold by Photographers Formulary I think, if you can live with processing only 6 sheets at a time. I have been processing sheet film off and on for about 30 years, and the slosher I have found to be as near a perfect method as I can imagine. Never ever a scratch, it's easy to keep your hands out of PMK which I use and I have never had any streaking or mottling. About the only drawback is you really need to use 1 1/2 liters of developer for 6 sheets. I think John Sexton has written that he uses one. Reading the above post - another never ever problem with the slosher is films sticking together.