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!

Thanks for taking the time to read this! If you want to see more of my work please consider following me on Instagram! I buy all of my film from Analogue Wonderland.

~ Simon

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About the author

Simon King

Simon is a London based photographer and photojournalist. He is currently working on long term personal projects, and has been shooting on 35mm film since late 2016. You can follow his work on Instagram, or read his personal blog, both linked below.

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  1. Good morning Simon,

    We’re missing London and I’ve been checking the overseas weather reports – you guys have been baking! We’re “hardy” New Englanders – our temps have been topping the charts between 90 -100 F with tropical humidity. Lately, just a normal summer for us. The masks do get soggy and itchy, but who’s complaining? We all know global warming is just a myth (ha!)

    My darkroom tops out at 80 F during these days. I just fill a plastic pan with cool water and place all my chemicals in for a few minutes. It takes no longer than 10 to 15 minutes to bring all of them down to a working temp of 68 F. I also try to develop early in the morning or late at night.

    I just don’t trust stand developing for consistent results. I’ve been doing this for 50+ years, but stand developing doesn’t seem natural (boy, do I sound like old time preacher in a black frock coat!)

    Wishing you and your family/friends continued good health; maybe we’ll be in London next year!


  2. Here in Tucson, Arizona most of the year my tap water is above 20C, and during the summer it is usually closer to 26C. As such I’ve resigned myself to the necessity of developing at higher than suggested temps. Thankfully most film & chemistry manufacturers give development times at higher and lower temps. I’ve made up some charts for my various film/developer/dilution combinations, and using these guideline from the manufacturers, have extrapolated more than reasonable times for approximately 0.5C increments. I’m had pressed to see much difference between negs made at 21C or 26C. You might also consider trying out a tropical hardener too, which would allow for developing at even higher temps if necessary.