I'm new to the darkroom and have been experimenting with Pyrocat-HD and home made BTZS type tubes. For images without significant amounts of smooth area such as sky, I've successfully used semi-stand and stand development to produce wonderfully sharp negs. For images that do have lots of sky, I've been trying minimal agitation – 1 minute agitation to start and then 10 sec every 3 min. My results have been disappointing. While the skies are even, contrast seems to have been reduced. I've posted an example here; the ground under the bench looks pasty and unnatural.
I suspect I'm doing something wrong with my agitation and would appreciate any suggestions (including the possibility that agitation isn't the issue). My agitation technique is to gently roll the tube in the water bath and then let it stand on end for the time between agitations. Other than the agitation schedule, everything is exactly the same with minimal agitation as when I do semi-stand and stand, which both work great but unfortunately create mottled and uneven skies.