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Thread: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

  1. #1

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    Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    Want to start using this development technique again. Years and two darkrooms ago, I had a revolving door, so I could easily walk in and out of the darkroom every 15 minutes or so. Present darkroom doesn't have a revolving darkroom door, but just has a simple door. I have painted the door frame and floor black and installed a light baffle on the bottom of the door, so now no problems with light leaking in from the outside. But I can't open the door to enter or exit while the film is in the developer because the outside room has windows which light the room up quite well. How do other photographers deal with this? Considering putting the tray in a larger black box and using another inverted box over it, very much like two of the black boxes that our LF film comes in. Has anyone done this? Or is there another solution or technique that people use so as not to have to spend an hour in the darkroom in the dark with nothing to do? Keep thinking to myself that there's an obvious solution out there that has eluded me.
    thanks,
    Greg

    "The French photographer Atget used stand development. Berenice Abbott has described visit to his studio: he would leave his visitor every twewnt minutes to dash into the darkroom to inspect the negative and see if it was ready or not"

  2. #2

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    The solution is regular agitation & a shorter developing time. The techniques of the 1920's or earlier have little real relevance to modern (1950's onwards) films. Despite the claims attached to stand development etc, using good basic techniques competently will deliver more in the long run - & there are plenty of far more effective ways to boost sharpness etc.

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    One thing that I won't do is leave the darkroom while developing film. Of course, this relates to how I develop film, which now includes 10 second agitation at 1-minute intervals. But, even water bath development requires attention.

    As for "minimal agitation", I tried that. The idea was to also minimize film development variability. I ended up with mottled film. (Jettison that idea.)

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    I had tried it just using a basin that went over the tray that covered it, but another problem kept coming up... Sometime during development, something would settle or jar the tray slightly and disturb the byproducts layer on the facing up film and leave a little squiggle of density change somewhere on the negative, despite the tray being leveled and on a fairly solid base, so "surprises" would come up...

    I abandoned the method for dilute one shot developers that develop to exhaustion, but had regular agitation cycles to avoid still "bromide displacement" effects...

  5. #5
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    Quote Originally Posted by interneg View Post
    The solution is regular agitation & a shorter developing time. The techniques of the 1920's or earlier have little real relevance to modern (1950's onwards) films. Despite the claims attached to stand development etc, using good basic techniques competently will deliver more in the long run - & there are plenty of far more effective ways to boost sharpness etc.
    Given the fact that I am the photographer that perfected the modern day Minimal Agitation technique back in 2003 with modern thin emulsion films I can speak with great certainly that the gentleman from Glasgow speaks as so many others who simply dismiss the technique or have not been able to achieve my results with little knowledge of Minimal Agitation forms of development. The bonus here is the OP lives 30 minutes from me and I’ll extend an open and free invitation to come by my darkroom in central Connecticut and see side by side comparison negatives that will simply astound the yet to be informed film photographer and hopefully begin to put an end to such frivolous narratives by the unknowing.
    Last edited by Steve Sherman; 10-Dec-2018 at 08:49.


    Real photographs are born wet !

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    multi format
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    Thumbs up Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    Quote Originally Posted by interneg View Post
    The solution is regular agitation & a shorter developing time. The techniques of the 1920's or earlier have little real relevance to modern (1950's onwards) films. Despite the claims attached to stand development etc, using good basic techniques competently will deliver more in the long run - & there are plenty of far more effective ways to boost sharpness etc.
    hey interneg
    i've been doing sort of semi stand development with sumatranol 130
    for IDK 10 or maybe more like 12 years. i say sort of because
    i put the film in an FR tank pre wet, then dump then fill it up with the magic stuff
    slosh it around for IDK 20seconds and come back in 26 or 35 mins or whenever i remember
    and i slosh it around for about 1 min ... so it really isn't long development times. im getting
    a couple of steps below nice gamma infinity wannabe results with c41, e6 and b/w
    can't complain one bit. cause they contact print and scan " like buttah "
    im no expert though, and i couldn't care less about
    sharpness, perfection or what most people using LF get all animated & argue about
    ... so maybe you are right ?

    in any case >>> YMMV.
    Last edited by jnantz; 10-Dec-2018 at 06:55.
    enjoy your coffee

  7. #7

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    If 4x5 size film, then there are a few tank options that will enable this development technique. If 8x10, save yourself a lot of grief and buy Steve's premium video series on EMA. Build yourself a few tanks for little $$ and you'll soon be crafting negs like you've never seen!

  8. #8

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    I use pvc tubes with push-on end caps. 50mm diameter for 5x7, 80mm for 8x10. Once the film and developer are in, I agitate in room light by rolling it around. If I'm doing the stand thing, I just stand it on its end for an hour. Works very well.

  9. #9

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    When Steve first began publishing his results back in 2003, I switched to EMA and havenít looked back. I develop with tanks and hangers and have simply put a box over the tank and left the darkroom without a problem. I suppose it would work with trays.

    However, Iíd invite you to sit down and relax in the darkroom between agitations. The quiet and dark help relieve stress in a world that seldom allows for that.

  10. #10

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    Re: Basic question on minimal agitation, stand, & semi-stand development.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Considering putting the tray in a larger black box and using another inverted box over it
    Greg, this is the last paper safe I acquired (still sealed) to develop sheets:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	kust.jpg 
Views:	40 
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ID:	185324

    After watching a youtube video explaining it I use a paper safe as a daylight tank. When development done I close lights, I move the sheet/s to a tray with plain water stop bath and after some 15s I open lights to also fix with lights open, so the paper safe is cleared to start another batch. Perfect, very happy with that way.

    Of course you may place the tray inside a lightight box, but at some $15 for the paper safe....

    What I strongly recommend is to fix with lights open, for convenience and to know fixer remaining strength from the time it takes to clear the salt, then I use x2 that for fixing.

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