Before clicking the link at the bottom of the page to view the 22 minute Standard video please take a look at the side by side comparisons below and the descriptive text which follows.
Consider the above comparative sections of identically exposed FP 4 film, there is a light colored block that is underlined by a piece of black tape, the upper right of the block was exposed on Zone 4, there is another piece of black tape more difficult to see near the bottom of the tree. This piece of black tape is essentially two blocks down and one block to the left, that black value on the wall measured Zone 1 2/3. Both pieces of film were processed at N+4 and described as follows.
The Zone 4 value with increased development essentially rose to my Zone 8 density while the Zone 1 2/3 value rose to no more than a Zone 2 density. The section of film on the left was processed for a total of 50 minutes. 5 minutes of continuous initial agitation and then Minimally Agitated, i.e. for 60 seconds agitation @ the 15 and 30 minute mark and continuing to the 45 minute mark before being transferred to Stop Bath and then Fixer. The section of film on the right was Tray Processed for 17 minutes with continuos agitation. Each section was combined in PhotoShop with no manipulation whatsoever, the actual highlight densities of each independently processed piece of film are as close to identical as can be realistically expected. Looking closely at even a 72 DPI computer screen the section on the left shows more vibrancy and a greater sense of texture to the concrete. The Mid Tones show more separation which essentially means the actual slope of the film’s curve has been altered, impossible via any organic process I am aware of. This very exercise is done in each ONE on ONE or group workshop and every single student that has seen the resulting prints when asked if they see a value in developing a single sheet of film for sometimes 50 minutes as opposed to several sheets for fraction of that respond by saying “that is what I want my prints to look like” ! In fact one gentleman offered this comment, “the print on the right LOOKS like concrete the print on the left FEELS like concrete” Breaking it down into it’s simplest form, the lowest and highest measured densities in each piece of film are virtually identical, the only difference between the two negatives is the method by which the film was agitated and the dilution of the developer. The dividends are directly seen in the Mid Tone Contrast and the Separation of corresponding tonalities.
In this Standard Video I share the evolution of how I arrived at successfully perfecting Semi-Stand and Minimal Agitation forms of development that I currently use. I have made many minor tweaks to my dilution and agitation scheme but it is the only way I have processed my film since 2003. This type of Film processing has become very popular world wide over the last ten years. However, I do not hear many talk about the importance of developer exhausting between agitation cycles and that is why I believe my prints will always look different then those who do not embrace that component of my particular Minimal Agitation Process. The fundamental principles at work for my successful Minimal Agitation Process yielding palpable Adjacency Effects are explained below:
DEVELOPER DILUTION allows EXTENDED TIME which allows INFREQUENT AGITATION which allows DEVELOPER EXHAUSTION at the boundaries of differing densities which leads to ADJACENCY EFFECTS which gives the IMPRESSION of not only higher ACUTANCE but increased MICRO CONTRAST. Each is tied together playing off one another to combine for such a powerful technique. The relationships are a delicate balance, capable of producing ADJACENCY EFFECTS beyond what is PHOTOGRAPHICALLY BELIEVABLE.
In the 40 plus minute PREMIUM VIDEO, ( which carries a subscription charge) I share the design of the tubes I use, the dilutions, how the film is loaded, presoaked, initial agitation, intermittent agitations, frequency of agitation and why those times can change, the viewer sees in daylight every step I make in the dark and most importantly why those steps can change and finally through to comparative prints. Also included in the Premium Video is my complete development chart detailing Dilutions, Ratios of PyroCat A & B components, Times, ISO adjustments and any pertinent information needed to process your film via the Minimal Agitation technique or Semi-Stand technique I adhere too.