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  1. #131
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I think, at the end of the day, that it's all about knowing our materials.

    Mistakenly, early in my photographer days, I was very keen on trying to improve by switching films, developers, and so on, but in the long run, it's technique that matters. It only took me five years to realize this.

    Today I have established what materials I like to use, and it's mostly stay with one film/developer, and one paper/developer. I don't think I'm even close to reach their full potential, and wonder if I ever will. But I think to try to fully explore our materials is the type of progress we should explore, because that approach makes us think about the pictures rather than thinking about the materials, and a print can be absolutely glorious in print quality, but without a good picture underneath, it's still not interesting. The whole process easily becomes too much about the wrong stuff.
    To find that balance between technique and subject matter is what I find to be the most challenging aspect of photography. I hope to continue learning about the materials I use, about lighting, about color (even in black and white), about framing, and about printing technique. I feel like a perpetual student. Someone else always knows something I don't. That's why the advice of someone like Bob Carnie is of invaluable help to me. The advice he gives me will be time proven in practical use.

    So, to summarize, I think that all magic bullets are technique related, and none of them related to particular materials. This is my approach, and I admire others that can make beautiful or important prints using other approaches. There are many ways to get to the end result, for sure, so in my mind it becomes impossible to answer whether one developer is better than another. Just pick one and run with it and make the most of it. It isn't until you fully understand one developer that you can fully exploit and appreciate the qualities of another developer anyway, so either way you win by learning one developer first.

    - Thomas
    Perfectly said!
    Real Photographs are Born Wet !
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  2. #132

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    ...and yet another technical thread veers into speechmaking about learning to use our tools. Yes, yes, we all know this obvious truth regarding virtually any endeavor. It does not mean it is a waste of time to talk about the differences in materials when a question is posed. I especially think it is important since much of what is said is either incorrect or misleading.

    Yes it is true some of the differences between materials are immaterial, and should pobably be ignored. And yes how we refine our technique and work with our materials is extremely important. But there are sometimes characteristics which are quite different, not good or bad, but different, and there are implications when printing. Again, not good or bad, just characteristics worth understanding.

    For example, everybody talks about grain masking in Pyro negatives, how the stain makes grain less apparent. True, but the context is usually wrong. The grain masking effect reduces the prominence of grain relative to non-staining high acutance developers. Even with stain and less silver in them, Pyro and Cat negatives are still noticeably grainier, sometimes a lot grainier (depending on the formula) than a negative developed in XTOL. Sandy King himself has written about how if fine grain is important to someone using small or medium format they would probably be happier using XTOL than PMK or Pyrocat. The tiny differences, if any, in highlight tonality are outweighed, and can be compensated for with skill in printing.

    Just one example.

  3. #133

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    I wonder if the humic acids produced by pyro developers harden the emulsion.This might result in slower diffusion of developer in highly exposed areas so that they do not burn out when printed.That's just a guess by the way,not to be quoted as fact.

  4. #134

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    Just as a proof of concept, I played with making a developer using tannic acid itself. I analyze for tannic acid in water at work, and tannic acid is rather similiar to pyrogallol and pyrocatechol all rolled up into a giant molecule but less toxic than either of those two compounds.

    I used the Pyrocat HD formula as a starting point - I found that it took a large amount of tannic acid to replace the pyrocatechol in the Pyrocat, on the order of several grams/liter (if I remember correctly) to get it to have a similar contrast index. It had a good stain as well.

    I didn't pursue it very far, I just wanted to show it worked.
    Kirk

    For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!

  5. #135

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Johnson View Post
    I wonder if the humic acids produced by pyro developers harden the emulsion.This might result in slower diffusion of developer in highly exposed areas so that they do not burn out when printed.That's just a guess by the way,not to be quoted as fact.
    Pyro/Cat development tans (hardens) the emulsion. There is less silver developed and this is "made up for" by the stain which increases density proportionately with the amount of silver developed (ie the amount of exposure). This does not necessarily result in highlight compression in the negative, although there can be a compensation effect when printing on VC papers.

    One thing tanning does not do, is prevent silver migration, because silver does not migrate to begin with. That is a non issue with modern hardened films.

  6. #136
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    No, Michael. Please don't turn it into that. I am not trying to destroy this thread about what developers are best and why.

    I find it important to understand the materials we use, and I'm not stopping you from exploring it. My goal is to try to present people, like the original poster of this thread, with a balanced approach of how to use and apply our materials. I'm trying to illustrate that technique and hard work will conquer materials every time, and that the original poster shouldn't be fooled into believing that using pyro will somehow magically transform his pictures from good to brilliant. I'm trying to keep that balance to a thread where someone is trying to find out what developer to use, and I'm illustrating how important it is to be consistent.

    So go on and discuss how pyrocatechin or pyrogallol and their respective types of stain will benefit your prints and how it happens, in this thread that was originally about finding out picking one developer over another, and I will sit here and be quiet about having a balanced approach to any materials we use.

    - Thomas

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    ...and yet another technical thread veers into speechmaking about learning to use our tools. Yes, yes, we all know this obvious truth regarding virtually any endeavor. It does not mean it is a waste of time to talk about the differences in materials when a question is posed. I especially think it is important since much of what is said is either incorrect or misleading.

    Yes it is true some of the differences between materials are immaterial, and should pobably be ignored. And yes how we refine our technique and work with our materials is extremely important. But there are sometimes characteristics which are quite different, not good or bad, but different, and there are implications when printing. Again, not good or bad, just characteristics worth understanding.

    For example, everybody talks about grain masking in Pyro negatives, how the stain makes grain less apparent. True, but the context is usually wrong. The grain masking effect reduces the prominence of grain relative to non-staining high acutance developers. Even with stain and less silver in them, Pyro and Cat negatives are still noticeably grainier, sometimes a lot grainier (depending on the formula) than a negative developed in XTOL. Sandy King himself has written about how if fine grain is important to someone using small or medium format they would probably be happier using XTOL than PMK or Pyrocat. The tiny differences, if any, in highlight tonality are outweighed, and can be compensated for with skill in printing.

    Just one example.
    "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

  7. #137
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    So you are saying the bare bulb in a room effect , one flared out* D76* , one crystal clear*Pyro* is a placebo effect and not real.

    I think I need an asprin, I have sold all this development based on this percieved effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Pyro/Cat development tans (hardens) the emulsion. There is less silver developed and this is "made up for" by the stain which increases density proportionately with the amount of silver developed (ie the amount of exposure). This does not necessarily result in highlight compression in the negative, although there can be a compensation effect when printing on VC papers.

    One thing tanning does not do, is prevent silver migration, because silver does not migrate to begin with. That is a non issue with modern hardened films.

  8. #138

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    Give me a break. The original question was whether one was better than the other. Discussing how they are different (not better or worse) can help someone make a more informed decision regarding which one to pick first (depending on what format they shoot etc), and then they can focus on mastering it with consistency, control and creativity. I'm not talking about debating microsopic differences, but simply being aware of basic, visible properties.

    I'm just saying that "pick something and learn to use it" should not be the default answer to technical questions. Otherwise we might as well have only one forum with an automated "learn to use it" response.

  9. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    So you are saying the bare bulb in a room effect , one flared out* D76* , one crystal clear*Pyro* is a placebo effect and not real.

    I think I need an asprin, I have sold all this development based on this percieved effect.
    No no. I mean silver does not migrate. That's only one effect. There are still other things that enhance accutance and value discrimination in the tanned negative, like less halation and irradiation, and a lower probability of infectious development. I'm just suggesting people not go nuts thinking a stained negative will show massively different highlights than a well exposed/processed negative using a non-staining developer. I'd also add if exposure is heavy with Pyro/Cat, which several people on this thread have said they prefer, the enhancements pretty much go out the window. Sandy King has written alot about this stuff in other forums etc. For what it's worth I've done alot of my own experiments.

    I'm curious though about your flared-out D76 comment. Why does it have to be so? I agree there can be *slightly* more "bloom" around such objects with a sulfite developer than a staining developer, but the value differences and detail can be just as good, albeit harder to print in some cases. Can you explain?

  10. #140
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    You have your opinion, and I have mine. Time to coexist. What you say, and what I say, can go hand in hand. In my mind they are not opposing views. Both rely on an importance of understanding the materials we use.
    You told me I shouldn't comment like that in this thread, so I simply returned the favor. Who gives you the right to decide what I can write and not?
    I respect your opinion, Michael, as I think you're a knowledgeable person with experience and a critical mind. But I think I was sharing important information, to someone that may not know, or wants to know, the minute differences between the developers or why they work the way they do. He just wanted to know what developer to use, and you know that he'll get as many replies here on APUG as there are individual posters. He was asking for advice. And I gave mine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Give me a break. The original question was whether one was better than the other. Discussing how they are different (not better or worse) can help someone make a more informed decision regarding which one to pick first (depending on what format they shoot etc), and then they can focus on mastering it with consistency, control and creativity. I'm not talking about debating microsopic differences, but simply being aware of basic, visible properties.

    I'm just saying that "pick something and learn to use it" should not be the default answer to technical questions. Otherwise we might as well have only one forum with an automated "learn to use it" response.
    Last edited by Thomas Bertilsson; 08-02-2011 at 10:22 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "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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