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winger 10-15-2014 10:12 PM

Kinda know what's wrong, but...
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So, Jim - were there ANY clouds that day we were out shooting? I don't really see any in the shots I have here. Which leads me to ask, just how badly did I agitate this sheet when I developed it?!? I see the air bubbles, too, which means there wasn't a ton of thunking (though I'm usually pretty good about that). I haven't seen obvious evidence of this on the other sheets I developed with it, but dang!
It's HP-5+ in DD-X in an HP Combiplan tank. I'm thinking of getting the Mod54 in the hopes of it being a little better (I do not want to do tray processing).

Jim Jones 10-16-2014 02:30 PM

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This somewhat overexposed shot shows a fairly blue sky with perhaps a bit of haze. There were a few wisps of clouds in other shots. As for developing, I've always used T-Max developer mixed fresh for each session in trays with a Photo-flo pre-bath and gentle agitation every few seconds: even development and no air bells. Your example looks like an agitation problem, but I'm totally unfamiliar with the HP tank.

winger 10-16-2014 05:48 PM

I've seen some wisps of clouds in my digital shots, but what shows in the one above is way more than that. Luckily, my plan for the library shots was to do lith prints. That might even help with the air bubbles. Well, at least the uneven development sorta looks like clouds - I won't tell anyone if you don't. ;)

The HP Combiplan is liked by some (and formerly by me), but I think the rack it has loosens up with use. The top also leaks more each time. Both of these do kinda keep me from inverting it as well as I do with 120 in the steel tank. Maybe I'll try stand development… (sorta kidding) Or maybe get a couple more tanks and use them as dip and dunks when I get back to PA and have a true darkroom.

Jim Jones 10-16-2014 07:57 PM

I downloaded and skimmed through the instructions for the HP Combiplan T, and am content to stick to something simple and fairly foolproof like tray developing. The Combiplan instructions don't mention a Photo-Flo pre-wash, which I consider important for much tray development, and absolutely essential for some processing such as solarizing T-Max negatives in Solarol developer. It seems to make little difference in developing times.

winger 10-16-2014 11:40 PM

All the films I use in 4x5 are Ilford and they say not to use a pre-wash, even water. The more I think about the last batch, the more I'm sure I didn't agitate well. I've stayed away from trays so far because I'm afraid of scratches (and here I don't have a dark enough darkroom). Though I'm fairly sure that I'd manage to screw up just about any method.

Jim Jones 10-17-2014 12:43 PM

The risks of tray development may be exaggerated. Cole Weston said his father could shuffle ten sheets of 8x10, and never scratch one. I used to shuffle many more RC prints than that, but only a few negatives at a time. Cleanliness is more important than in tank development; any particles in the trays can cause problems. The corners and edges of film can scratch. Don't slide film against film. I lift the stack of negatives, slide the bottom one out, and place it on top.

A reliable timer is needed for the developer. Cheap kitchen timers suffice. You could use a LED timer if its output is dimmed and directed only at your face. ore light is OK once the film is in the fix. A large tray, perhaps from a refrigerator, holds six 4x5 trays. This reduces the mess I can make anywhere, anytime. Music is more appreciated when developing film in total darkness than in other darkroom work.

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