Monday, April 19, 2010

Jim Byers on Stand Development

Jim has been making some gorgeous images of Camellias in bloom, and I'm grateful for his permission to post some of them here, with his notes on development. I admire Jim's relentless persistence in his pursuit of excellence, and in bending his materials to his will, in service of his vision. Jim has really put 510-Pyro through its paces, using concentrated solutions and long, rotary development times to squeeze every bit of speed out of Tri-X, and using very dilute solutions with minimal and even full stand development to coax every delicate detail of a Camellia blossom out of Efke 25. I don't think the phrase, "Good enough" is one Jim uses often.

Jim's Notes on Stand Development

I found the Camellias challenging because it was difficult to capture the dark leaves without blowing out the highlights on the flower. If I increased the exposure to make the leaves more visible the flowers became too bright to show the highlight detail there.

So I needed to use a developing technique on the film to increase the development of the shadows while simultaneously limiting the development of the highlights. Fortunately “stand development” provides this benefit. By eliminating agitation for long periods of time the development of the highlights nearly stops since developer chemicals in the vicinity of the highlights become exhausted. In the shadow areas where development is much less, there are plenty of local developing chemicals in the vicinity and development continues strongly there.

Not all developers work for stand development. Using 510-Pyro I got great results using both semi-stand and stand development. For semi-stand I agitated for the first 30 seconds and then again for 10 seconds ½ way though development. I kept my development tank in a larger water bath to keep the temperature constant and the temperature differential between the top and bottom of the tank to a minimum. I got very nice results in the 35-40 minute range using semi-stand development for the Efke 25.

Encouraged by the semi-stand development, I next went for full stand development, - agitating for the first 30 seconds and then no agitation for the rest of the development. I went for a very extended full stand development time of 50 minutes. This is longer than I would have normally done and although it produced some overdevelopment on the edges of the negative I was able to get the result I wanted for this image.

I recommend people try semi-stand development with a 1:500 dilution and a time equal to 6 to 7 times the normal development time they use with 1:100/normal agitation. For full stand try 7 to 8 times normal development time. This is a fun technique to try and can provide very useful benefits. Experiment and have some fun with it!”

Main Photo information:

Film: Efke 25

EI: 25

Format: 4x5

Developer: 510-Pyro

Dilution: 1:500

Time: 50 min

Temp: 21C/70F

Agitation: Inversions for first 30 seconds then none for the remaining time. Place tank in water bath to keep temperature constant. Stir surrounding water bath occasionally to keep water a uniform temperature.

Presoak: 3 minutes water presoak

Fixer: TF-4

Information on close crop image:

This is a close up crop from the original image. If you click on the photo the image you will see has one pixel on the screen for each dot on the 2400 dpi scan of the negative. Note the very small fine grain and smooth transition of the tones. This is a much smoother transition of detail than I was able to achieve with Rodinal stand development.