I love to go to extremes, and my journey into analog photography is no exception. At least in some respects.
The further I explore this medium, the more doors open for me and let me find new avenues. Right now I'm looking into the intricate details on how to develop black and white film.
Switch. Lucky SHD 100, Rodinal 1+100, 3 degrees Celsius, 12.5 hours
The basics are very easy and mostly the same:
you put the film in a light-proof development tank (usually a plastic container), you dilute developer with water, at a certain temperature, you fill the developer into the development tank, you agitate it every now and then for something in the range of five to twenty minutes, then you pour the developer out, rinse with water, fill in fixer for about 5 to 10 minutes, rinse again and you're done.
Now there are a lot of variables, you can use different kinds of developer (you can even develop film in coffee
!), the developers work with different dilutions. Then there's the time component. And the amount and frequency of agitation. And the temperature.
Here are the parameters for a pretty normal film development:Film: Lucky SHD 100 (exposed at ISO 100)
Developer: Spürsinn HCD
Development time: 7:30 min
Agitation: 30 seconds, then swirl the tank a few times once a minute
Temperature: 20 degrees Celsius
Fixing time: 6 minutes
The results are very predictable, especially if you stick to this very routine and don't change any of the parameters.Don't move!
Then I started to hear about stand development, which changes several of these parameters. In stand development you often work with thinner developer, e.g. at a higher dilution, the development time is longer, sometimes even an hour or longer. And as the name suggests, you don't agitate the development tank as much, sometimes just in the beginning and then just let it sit do its thing.
Developer gets used up during development, normally you have to mix a fresh batch every time you develop film. Stand development makes use of that fact. During stand development, the developer doesn't move over the film, and so at the places where it touches the film, it gets used up. And once it's used up, it won't develop anymore, or at least not that fast. So it has a self-stopping characteristic, the development will slow down further and further. But it doesn't get used up at the same speed everywhere. It will quickly develop the brighter areas of the film (e.g. those areas where the negative is dark) until it's used up. At the same time the darker areas of the film (e.g. where the negative is brighter) don't use it up as fast, so the developer has more time to go to work there.
The result can be more detail in the shadows and typically less grain.
Mercury II. Lucky SHD 100, Rodinal 1+100, 3 degrees Celsius, 12.5 hours
Did I tell you I love extremes? When I want to find out what a slider in Lightroom does, I don't just move it gradually, I crank it all the way right or left, then ease back. And when I do a stand development, I crank it too.
After reading enough about it, I thought I should give it a try. The hard way. The stand developments that I've done so far were in the 30 minute range, and I couldn't see that much difference from the regular process.
So this time I changed several of the parameters. First I exposed a roll of Lucky SHD 100 at ISO 800. Some say it's impossible to push this relatively cheap film this far. I beg to differ. Second I decided on a much lower temperature by putting it outside on the window sill. During winter. At 3 degrees Celsius. I also used a different developer: Rodinal R09 one-shot (I read somewhere that it works really well for stand development), And last, I thought why not go all the way and left it there over night. For 12.5 hours to be precise.
Let's recap:Film: Lucky SHD 100 (exposed at ISO 800)
Development time: 12.5 hours
Agitation: 30 seconds, then ignore for the rest of the time
Temperature: initially 20 degrees Celsius, cooling down to 3 degrees
Fixing time: 6 minutes
It was an experiment, and certainly not one under controlled conditions. I had changed several parameters at once, and didn't have much experience with stand development other than the few times I used pretty conservative recipes to develop by. All I could have hoped for was to find at least a bit of seomthing on the pictures that wasn't completely overdeveloped.
Down. Lucky SHD 100, Rodinal 1+100, 3 degrees Celsius, 12.5 hours
What came out was pretty much beyond my expecations. Great tones and a quite low level of grain. Very scannable too.Conclusion
I must say I'm pretty much happy with this! Up to today I was a semi fan of the Lucky film. It has its quirks, and under some lighting conditions I just could never get good results from it. This method has pretty much changed that for me <3
Now all I'll have to find a good way to do such a development during summertime. Might have to get a separate development fridge soon...