My first image from the Toyo C Monorail with the 90mm f8 Super Angulon (1/15 sec @ f22), not 4x5 though just a frame of 6x9. Pan F @ ISO32 developed in Caffenol CL, the shot was unintentionally pulled. I realised after I had processed the negatives that whilst I had a lovely negative with a full range of tones, I could barely see the frame numbers that Mr Ilford had so lovingly exposed for me on the film, this has always meant to me that the film was underdeveloped.

This got me to pondering (dangerous I know) what could have been the cause of the underdevelopment, I suspect that it was because I have started to up the Potassium Bromide slightly (from 0.5g to 0.7g in 500mls) to reduce the base fog, but I was surprised at how much of a difference it seemed to have made.

I decided that if I am going to be successful at this large format film lark, I was going to have to do some thorough testing. I used a FP4+ 120 film in my Hasselblad H1 (16 shots see) and took 4 lots of 4 identical shots of my front room lit by daylight through the window (this gave a massive dynamic range), the camera was set at ISO80 for shots 1,5,9 & 13, ISO125 for shots 2,6,10 & 14, ISO200 3,7,11 & 15 and ISO320 for 4,8,12 & 16, then the fun really began, I had to try to cut the film up into 4 strips inside my Callumet popup changing tent thingy, this was a nightmare, the first bit was easy removing the film from the backing paper, then I got hold of both ends in the same hand and tried to get to the middle of the film to cut it, this took a lot longer (and I mean a lot) than I had imagined, then I cut each of them down again to give me 4 strips of film each the same length. I loaded each length onto a seperate Jobo spiral and stuck three of them in my large multi-tank for storage (oh I forgot that bit, I had a large multi-tank [5x35mm or 3x120] and a universal tank in the changing thing too), the other spiral was loaded into my universal tank for processing.

I processed the first section of film at the same 21 degrees Celcius but for an extended time of 71 minutes (approx 10% additional time) with 30sec (constant agitation) then 3 invertions after 2, 4, 8, 16 and 40.5 minutes this extended the previous time by 6 minutes. The frame numbers looked a lot better but not perfect so it was back to the changing tent thingy and take a spiral from the multi-tank and fit it into a Universal Tank to have another go.

I then made a big mistake, I reused the Caffenol CL that I had just used, bearing in mind that it had only processed 3.5 frames (oh, I forgot to say that whilst the 4 bits of film were each the same length they had a different number of frames) this time I extended the time for a total of 78 minutes which gave nice round agitation figures of 30 secs, 2.5, 5, 10, 20 & 40 minutes, Trust me, I was more than a little tissed off when although the temperature was kept at exactly 21 degrees and I had increased the time the film was in the developer, the frame numbers were more faint than the previous test. I can only assume that the Caffenol CL only likes being used once.

By this time I had had enough of stand processing (each time it is at least an hour and a half without all the rigmarole inbetween) and I have left the other 2 spirals to try again with tomorrow using fresh developer each time.

So after all that, here is the image that started it all: Oh, the crappy bit of foreground (chippings and unkempt plants) is part of my front garden.

If you want to see the full sized version click on the link below the image.

Toyo C Monorail 90 SA 6x9 large by Ed Bray, on Flickr