Man alive - thanks everyone for your posts so far. This is indeed a great place.
I should've given a little bit more info in the first post - sorry 'bout that.
I'm using Ilford Delta Pro 100 (4x5). I developed it in ilfosol s at 68. I haven't used this developer a lot, but had for the last 30 or so negs. They always came out fine! (at least the development did.... the composition is another story. ) I mixed up a new batch of developer for this round of negs - I did discover the lid to the bottle of dev was not tight. As I turned the bottle on its side to read the label, the lid did leak just a very small amount out. The bottle had been sitting like that for app. 45 days. Could that have killed the developer?
I'm trying to recall what exposure my spotmeter called for metering on a gray card... something in the line of 1/2 @ f/32. (I might be off a bit on that - I don't have my notes with me.)
The temperature was around 30 degrees - nothing too cold I wouldn't think.
As for the shutter, I always look and listen carefully as to whether it's opening and if it sounds okay. I was happy with what I saw and heard during the dry fires... but I did not physically watch the shutter open while I was actually "exposing" the neg. It did sound okay though.
I kinda wondered about exposing the film if it was in backwards. The only thing that I'm scratching my head on is that I had preloaded a batch of about 20 holders at one time... 10 or so of which I had previously exposed and successfully developed. I was using the remaining 10 on this trip. I wouldn't have thought I'd messed up in the middle of a batch, but who knows.
Unfortunately, delta pro doesn't have labeling... or at least I don't think it does. I checked for that on other processed negs and didn't see any.
Again, I really appreciate your time in reading thru this, and am very open to any and all suggestions!