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Thread: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

  1. #11
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Yes, the 7x17" negatives are scanned separately and the scan is designed to encompass the given tonalities of each specific negative, no more and no less.
    Attached are the two negs side by side on a light tablet I have that is not quite large enough to illuminate both negs at the same time. When the negatives receive the identical amount of back lit illumination it should be clear that the 1.33 neg is in fact less dense than the 1.79 neg.
    The important observation is the tonalities of the 1.33 neg show more micro contrast, that is a direct result of Minimal Agitation processing, in this case a Semi-Stand technique was used over a 45 minute processing time. In the more panoramic comparison the negs are turned so that the sky area of each neg abuts one another to offer a clear comparison to the respective densities in each sky area.

    Lastly, the 1.79 neg was processed in a tray using ABC Pyro as it was reputed to be a more aggressive film developer than other Pyros back in 2003 when I processed these negs. I was not fully aware of the example that would play out when compared to Semi-Stand processing technique using PyroCat HD developer. I was hopeful that the Semi-Stand PyroCat processed neg. would show more micro contrast than a neg. that was tray processed to a much greater highlight density. Traditional wisdom dictates that higher highlight density will produce a more contrasty negative, clearly that is not the case with Minimal Agitation forms of development.

    So, on the chance you align your thinking as some have that the comparison is not valid because two different developers were used, you simply are missing the point of Minimal Agitation and are looking to validate traditional thinking. Further, the technique will work with developers other than PyroCat, just not as well and if you know Pyros like I do you would understand that Pyrogallol based Pyros ( ABC, PMK, Rollo, Wimberleys ) are much more susceptible to aerial oxidation and could not tolerate not being agitated for the length of time that PyroCat can, and it is that length of time without agitation which produces the Adjacency Effects that are clearly present in the 1.33 neg.

    If you need further validation, see this LF forum link from a gentleman I had never met who offered this unsolicited critique of these very two negs after attending an Open House I held a few years back. http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ght=open+house

    Happy New Year !!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1-79_1-33_Negs.jpg   7x17_1-79_1-33_Negs.jpg  


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  2. #12
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Thank you for the additional images!

  3. #13
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    Leigh, this is true, scanner had to be in auto mode with different levels, because the mean gray level of both are exactly the same, see it with Ps, F8 Information, and mask regions containing one of the negatives. IMHO the images show the different local contrast, and the 1.33D, and 1.79D have to come from a densitometer. But you are right, the sample images do not tell the truth about max density.

    IMHO both negatives should be scanned at the same time (on bed, without the V700 holders) with all auto choices diasabled.




    You obtain a look that otherwise would require CRM+SCIM+"etc" . For sure masking techniques and Alan Ross way selective masking would provide more control.

    Well, in fact with A Ross selective masking we have total local contrast control: http://phototechmag.com/selective-ma...onal-darkroom/

    With EMA we just have higher microcontrast for the same overal contrast. This is good for a sharp look.
    I had to think about wether to take on this question given the named photographer and masking technique you eluded too.

    However to be fair to my technique there are some inconsistencies with some general statements about the EMA technique, especially the closing statement.

    My knowledge of masking is limited especially since I perfected the EMA technique I abandoned any pursuit of unsharp masking.

    In reality the EMA technique provides significant flexibility in the amount of Micro Contrast in the final Silver print. When you design negatives in the style I do, very low highlight density requires a reduced amount of soft contrast light to effect detail in the final silver print, that in turn allows more hard contrast light which produces higher Micro Contrast, most clearly seen in the Mid Tone region. If for whatever reason Mid Tone Contrast is too high you would simply increase the length of the soft Contrast exposure and reduce the hard Contrast exposure time which directly reduces Mid Tone contrast, it's a simple cause and effect.

    Lastly, the EMA technique is completely organic and therefore provides a smoothness yet vibrant transition of tonalities, particularly in the Mid Tone region, the area of any print that most respond to the most. To be clear, the amount of Adjacency Effects that different film formats and degree of enlargement of the Silver Gelatin print will govern the type of Minimal Agitation technique used.


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  4. #14

    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Steve how much developing time are we talking for your process..??
    thanks, Peter

  5. #15
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by peter schrager View Post
    Steve how much developing time are we talking for your process..??
    thanks, Peter
    Depending on contrast range of the original scene the total time could range from 15 - 75 minutes with greatly reduced Agitation time.

    SS


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  6. #16

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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post
    there are some inconsistencies with some general statements about the EMA technique .
    Perhaps problem is the thought that a sensitometric calibration explains all. It is true that sensitometry explains very well how a regular photographic process works, but with Pyro + EMA we are talking about compensation, and IMHO this is more complex, as (with EMA) response is also dependant on local exhaustion of developer and also on local bromide concentration that also influence local development. I mention the concepts I think I understand, but more can be there...

    I was thinking that perhaps Pyro has an advantage for EMA, as density is partially built with stain then less bromide is generated for building the same density, with less risk of bromide streaks... just a thought. Also Xtol, for example (IIRC) is less prone to restrain development from byproducts... Perhaps that delicate equilibrium is needed to obtain a sound result....

  7. #17

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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Steve...any comments about how EMA might (or would) work with brush development? The reason I ask is based on my current setup - with six 5x7 developer trays enclosed in a single 20x24 tray (other solutions batched in single trays). My developer agitation routine has involved tilting the 20x24 tray around...which works great except I will sometimes get some "micro scratches" on a film's base as it moves about its tray - so my next move is to either very gently lift and flip each negative in succession...or go to brush agitation, either of which would offer the further advantage of tailoring agitation to each negative.

    As my routine involves doing six single developer trays at once...you can see what compels me to adapt this to EMA. And I've examined a few of your negatives up close (with a loupe) when I last visited...and yes indeed - they show a nice balance of smoothness/sharpness with wonderful micro contrasts, with resultant prints likewise...and exhibiting no hints of "over manipulation." So I am feeling very motivated!

  8. #18

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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    I will sometimes get some "micro scratches" on a film's base as it moves about its tray
    Tap water contains variable amounts of sand and metal particles. You can filter it out or use deionized/distilled water for mixing the developer, and also filtering it again after mixing if it is the case of a powder developer.

  9. #19

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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Hmmm...I do utilize a pair of 5 micron filters - but the elements are now overdue for replacement. Could help.

  10. #20

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    Re: Minimal Agitation Negative versus Tray Processed Negative

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    Hmmm...I do utilize a pair of 5 micron filters - but the elements are now overdue for replacement. Could help.
    Another way I used is to place some vertical sticks in the tray (with hot glue) in order the sheet cannot move, as it is retained by the sticks when rising a side to agitate.

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