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Thread: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

  1. #1

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    Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    I'm wondering what might be going on here with the grain. The film is Tri-X, developer is Ilford Perceptol, I'm guessing the temperature was about 75F. plain water stop bath, old-ish jug of Photographer's Formulary TF4 fixer. Constant agitation in BTZS tubes for about 8 minutes. It's not a huge bummer, (although it would be a real interesting challenge to try and get rid of it!) I've just never seen this particular grain effect before and was curious about what might have caused it. Maybe it's really common and I'm just a newb. Entirely possible. Anyway, thanks!


  2. #2
    Forever Beardless Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    This looks like reticulation to me, but more knowledgeable people may differ.
    This happens when you go from a high temperature to a low temperature; the emulsion expands and contracts rapidly, or "crinkles".
    If your developer was 75˚F, you might want to double-check the temperature of your other baths when you last used them.
    Odds are, the fixer, stop bath, or wash water were at a much lower temperature than your developer.

  3. #3

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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    +1 on reticulation and the causes. You shouldn't be guessing at temperature. Thermometers are cheap these days.
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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    I did measure the temperature of the developer, but guessing about what the number was now. It seems odd that it would be different than the other chemicals, but maybe it was.

  5. #5
    westernlens al olson's Avatar
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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    I agree. Was your water stop bath fresh from the spigot? If so, check the temperature of your cold water line. Going from 75 degrees to a water temp of 60 or 65 might be the cause of your problem.
    al

  6. #6
    lenser's Avatar
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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    Definitely looks exactly like the retriculation I've experienced. Always caused by a big temp difference with hot developer and considerably colder stop bath or water if you use that for a stop before fixing. Simply put, the emulsion is softened by a too warm developer and then shocked and shrunk rapidly by the colder stop or water and everything separates and draws up into these little "islands" of the emulsion.

    Now I am very sure to keep temps within a few degrees of each other all the way through the wash cycle.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  7. #7

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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    Reticulation due to extreme temperature differential. I think we've all done it once.

  8. #8

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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    Congratulations, this is genuine reticulation. People often fail to get there when trying to do it as an effect...

    It is not easy to arrive there at a constant 75F. If there hasn't been some step in the process whose temperature was way off (tap water always is a danger, in either direction), another common cause is accidentally using the bottle with concentrate in place of the diluted stop - pH difference shocks may also cause reticulation.

  9. #9

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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    Oh well, then um, yeah I was trying to achieve this reticulation effect! A photographic achievement on my part for sure! Hooray me!

    No, but seriously - thanks for all the replies! I will have to be more careful with the temps next time.

  10. #10
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Unusual grain pattern, like styrofoam or brains?

    I keep film tanks and trays, chemicals. and an adequate supply of water for washhing in the darkroom so all are about the same temperature. When develping in trays there will be a change in temperature due to evaporation, but it hasn't caused noticable problems yet.

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