View Full Version : Strange Patterns on negative

12-Jan-2015, 14:13
Hi all,
I am reasonably new to LF photography and particularly tray developing. I have got a couple of B+W negatives with some weird patterns on them and was wondering what might have caused it. I am using Ilford FP4 plus 5x4 with hangers in 8x10 trays with ID-11, Ilfostop and Rapid fixer. Any suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong would be greatly appreciated! Below is the negative with the most obvious problem. 127965

Michael Rosenberg
12-Jan-2015, 14:21

It appears that the overly bright object (bulb?) has caused some lens flare. In addition, the developer will overdevelop adjacent area, causing a halo like effect. In a situation like this you need to over expose and then use extreme N- or compensation development.


12-Jan-2015, 14:24
What pattern do you mean? I cannot identify anything there which cannot be explained as effects of the illumination on the subject. There are obvious shadows of the fence on the wall - the other structures on the wall look like shadows of a tree or shrub cast by the same light source. And then there are in-lens reflections and flare from the lamp in the image. I find it impossible to tell whether there is some development artefact hidden among these pretty dominant effects...

12-Jan-2015, 14:43
Thank you Mike and Sevo,

I am beginning to think it may be a lens flare issue. There is a small defect to the front element of my lens and I guess this could cause the odd patterns when there is a strong light in the frame. Here is another not so obvious example there are some patterns in the shadows above the engine. 127971

Thanks again


12-Jan-2015, 15:11
Shoot a few sheets of a gray wall in a no-flare situation, like a cloudy day or indoor w/light behind you. Develop and make sure it's not a developing issue. Are you doing any pre-soak? Ilford says it's not needed, but most people probably do it.

If you can eliminate it except for flare situations, then it's likely flare. If there is a gouge or chip on the lens, you can blacken that in so it does not reflect light about.

Fred L
12-Jan-2015, 15:55

Are you referring to area I've circled ? I tried to bring them out but you can just make out some random lines around the light. Looks like processing issues to me. I presume you're laying the hangers flat in the tray ? I'd skip the hangers and learn to shuffle the deck.

12-Jan-2015, 15:59
It looks to me like there was a filter on the lens (UV?) and the reflections are from the inside surface of that filter. Try shooting the same scene without it.

12-Jan-2015, 18:20
It is certainly more than a flare issue. There are non-regular branch-like lines that are hiding in some of the darker areas of the shots, could be from bad processing technique, could be from some other film handling problems. They almost look like electrical discharge effects, but are more likely turbulent flow effects. If it were me, I would not use film in hangers when tray developing. You can see the effect much easier if you invert the image and play with the tones a bit, like in these versions.

127984 127985

13-Jan-2015, 01:59
I think we can rule out static - arcing is much more hard edged. In a harshly lit scenery with lots of shadows of fences and signposts, other shadow-like structures are likely to be shadows as well - that branch like structure does not appear to be superimposed on the clearly identifiable other shadows, but merges into them, which makes it very likely that it is projected by the same light source. One notable exception is that darker shadow crossing the shadow of the signpost in the centre left, which looks very much like a crease mark or tongs mark - that is superimposed on the shadow, so it must be something else. Probably a crease mark, but from a single image we can not fully exclude natural causes like a paint splash on that wall (or even a moth passing near the lens during the exposure).

13-Jan-2015, 02:32
Did you do a pre-wash with water (say 1-2 minutes, at the same temperature as the developer) before development ?



13-Jan-2015, 05:57
Those dark lines are visible where there is light shining through clouds of steam, so it might be related to the steam The second example (in the shed) doesn't have any steam though, and those have to be something else. I'd like to see what increased agitation and attention to preventing drying marks would do for them.

PS Lovely tank engine!

Ben Calwell
13-Jan-2015, 06:45
I would stop using the hangers and switch to shuffling through the stack. When I used hangers, I always had serge (surge?) marks on my film. Not saying this is the issue here, but try it without the hangers and see what happens.

13-Jan-2015, 06:56
I would stop using the hangers and switch to shuffling through the stack. When I used hangers, I always had serge (surge?) marks on my film. Not saying this is the issue here, but try it without the hangers and see what happens.

Agreed. There is visible waviness in the grey spaces of the second picture (probably in the first as well, but more prominent subject structures camouflage them). And there is a kink in the first. Hangers are hangers, best used submerged in a nitrogen agitated tank, and not really a tool of choice for tray development...