I’ve found myself with quite a backlog to develop from the last few weeks of sun, but encountered an issue I hadn’t really faced before when developing – the heatwave we’ve been having here in the UK means that all of my chemicals would be quite a bit above the recommended 20°. Temperature is an important aspect of the process, and using my usual formulas would mean times of around 5 minutes – not something I really trust.
I’ve never been one to approach development from the perspective of pure recipe following – a smidge here and there has never caused massive issues, but this was definitely the highest temperature I’d ever had any of my chemicals reach. I measured 32°c on my room thermometer, and the mercury one I use for the actual chemicals themselves told me 30° after I’d left them for about half an hour to equalise to the room. My answer was to use a shorter stand development time than usual; half an hour with a dilution of 10:100 rather than the Rodinol staple 1:100 @ one hour.
Although I know that temperature is one of the most important elements of development I think that removing agitation went some way to balance it out. Stand development is something I use wherever possible, as it offers me the cleanest negatives in one of the simplest workflows. I agitated for the first and last minute, but other than that left the tank untouched for the duration.
I’m pretty pleased with the results – consistent with what I’m used to. I’ll be using this method to develop the rest of my rolls for as long as the heat lasts. The shorter stand time is nice to work with, as I can complete twice as many rolls in half the time I would usually for this kind of process.
Some people are put off from working with stand development due to the “look” it can sometimes give the images. This is often described as almost a halation/glow, and the muted highlights can lead to odd transitions between tones. I think the shorter time here actually reduced this “look” quite a bit, especially when compared with some of my stands with high-ISO, high-pushed films. I think it’s going to be worth my while to experiment with higher temperature, shorter timed stands in order to figure out if it’s something I can adopt into my wider workflow, and not reserve for emergency summer uses!
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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