Quote Originally Posted by scott palmer View Post
I develop what I have in groups of six or less until all exposed sheets are finished. Of course, it could be that the problems are more pronounced with larger numbers of sheets, but I don't have such records.
Just to maintain shuffle/agitation timing, if I have only one or two sheets, I add exposed, processed blank sheets so that I always have a minimum 4 pieces of film in the batch. I don't think I've ever processed only one or two sheets at a time.
And, just as aside, I too have had problems with interior camera reflections screwing up exposures. To deal with it, I did the same thing you described: painted surfaces flat black, and even had to put black felt on a surface in one of my Wisners to stop it from reflecting into the film in specific conditions.
From what I know about the chemistry of the film development process, I think the problem, most likely, occurs somewhere in the first minute in the developer, probably being linked to initial submersion and agitation. Still — I'm not sure how to successfully address the situation.
Thinking more about the issue last night, I decided to make a note of all sheets that include open sky and process them separately. I don't know that it will do any good, but at least I'll have a better baseline for comparison.
Thanks again, Scott — And any further thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
I use Cesco dimpled trays for pyro development and have never had a problem with them. I process two sheets of either pale sky or N- negatives all of the time in pyro. There is absolutely no reason to "add" sheets of film to get to some meaningless minimum. Many times I have processed a single sheet in a tray if it is necessitates special attention. Take good notes of those exposures that require separation in processing and deal with them. At the end of the day it is quite simple. If you want quality negatives you need to adjust your process (and quite possibly your exposure) and do what is necessary to get the results you want. If you only process two sheets get them into the developer and shuffle them consistently throughout the development process to ensure the first minute of processing is dynamic for the film (ie moving in the developer) to the degree possible. Two truisms in large format photography from my perspective. The ground glass never lies and secondly, the processed negative over a light table is a wealth of information that is gratis for the photographer willing to take the time to learn from their failures or successes.