View Full Version : Extremely diluted developer top bring up a long pinhole exposure

30-May-2010, 05:25
Hi all. I suppose most of you are familiar with the solargraphy project (taking 6 month pinhole exposures tracking the sun's path in the sky from solstice to solstice:http://www.solargraphy.com). I've been pinholing on and off now for a long time but Justin Quinnel's photo from Bristol really wowed me - not that fact that it took 6 months but that he didn't develop it, just scanned the undeveloped paper neg. So it got me thinking. I like the fact that it bridges silver and digital but I can't help feeling there is greater quality to be achieved by staying in silver but the question is how?

You can't develop the paper neg normally or it will just go black straight away, so I was wondering if you could develop it with very diluted developer. I use Ilford multigrade developer at 1+9/20 degrees Celsius but what if I increased the dilution factor to 1+20 or more and lowered the temperature. It would take time obviously - almost like lith developer - but would it actually work?

The alternative is to use lith developer but my fear is that it will all just turn grey to greyer to black and the image will be lost.

Any thoughts?

Jay DeFehr
30-May-2010, 07:33
Most modern printing papers have developer incorporated into the emulsion; that's what developed Justin's photo, acting as a printing out paper. If you want to develop more, an alkaline bath might do the trick. I'd recommend working up from sodium sulfite to more basic alkali until you find what works best. Latent image bleaching techniques might also prove useful.

30-May-2010, 08:52
Why not just fix the image on the print without development?


30-May-2010, 09:08
Yes Jon. I think that's what Justin did but I was hoping there was a way to bring out more detail in the image without ruining it and then fixing it. I'm relying on an image to be developed naturally as Jay quite rightly says it should and Justin has proven but is there a way to get more. An impossible dream?

Jay DeFehr
30-May-2010, 10:08