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Restoring old paper

Old photographic paper tends to fog when processed normally. The following paper restorer will help save the day. 
Paper Restorer formula  Water 40C   700ml Potassium bromide   100g Water to make   1 liter

Add 10ml of Paper Restorer solution to your working strength paper developer, at most 20ml. Develop the print for as short a time as possible or you may experience chemical fogging. 
Another way to use this restorer is to immerse the exposed paper in this solution for 1 minute followed by development.
Recent posts

Practical Zone System: Loch Duich Scotland

Loch Duich is one of Scotlands most magnificent sea lochs. With mountains towering above the lake and the most photographed castle, Eilean Donan, on its shores this lake is a photographer's paradise. 
I found myself there a few weeks ago and enjoyed loads of great photography with my Nikon FM2N. Today, I wanted to talk about this particular beautiful scene.


Cottage - Loch Duich 
We'd walked along the far shore of the loch, opposite the famous Eilean Donan castle for a few miles. It felt as though we had the whole lake to ourselves. As we rounded a small headland, I saw this house and jetty complete with sailing boat moored in the background. The peaceful scene called out to my camera, but the lighting challenged any automatic exposure technique.
My exposure technique has always used Ansel Adams "Zone System". I first heard of Adams when very young. My father talked of Adams' "Zone System" and he'd talk of how complicated it was. At that young age I neve…

The history of two bath developers

In the early days of photography, people developed their photographs from single photographic plates. These were glass plates that fitted in the back of the (large format) camera and allowed the taking of a single shot. The plate was then carefully removed and another fitted. That plate would become a glass negative. Nowadays, most of us don't have single plate negatives to work with, we have multiple negatives all together on a single roll and this is why two bath developers were invented …
In the beginning
Photographic plates, as single negatives, allowed each to be developed individually. The plate is developed in a tray and given the exact development time needed according to the contrast range of the shot. If the photographer bracketed shots using several plates or took several shots at the same exposure, he or she could alter development for each using a trial and error system or by inspection. Therefore, when using these early plates or separate negatives it was easier to get…

8 Commercial Developer Replacements You can make in the darkroom

I got to thinking what home-brew alternatives could one use for commercial developers? Here's some ideas. What do you think?

1. Xtol/DDX
This one's easy for me! FX-55, perhaps Geoffrey Crawley's last public formula released in conjunction with Amateur Photographer magazine, it's the perfect replacement for these two commercial Ascorbate developers. It's fine grained, low toxicity, and makes beautiful negatives. Simple to make, this developer will save you money and make cracking negatives to print.

To use,  take 100ml of stock part A and dilute to make 1 Ltr of working solution. Then add the dry developing agents to the 1 Ltr of working solution to create the viable developer. It keeps for up to 36 hours but then must be discarded.

For an idea of developing times start tests at 7 minutes@20c. Don't test with important negatives!

Part A Stock
Sodium Carbonate  Anhyd. 15.4g (Mr Crawley said 20g of Potassium Carbonate but I find that harder to get)
Sodium Bicarbon…

5 reasons I chose D-23

With many developers now becoming unavailable maybe it’s time to think of a plan to always have one around. It takes years to get to know a particular developer well and really get to understand its nuances so one has to consider the problems if they discontinued your commercial favourite. It has bitten me many times...

The tale of the dying developers
My father would remember longingly of when Johnsons of Hendon made one of the best developers around; Definol, a fine-grained acutance developer. He would reminisce of using it for years and really getting to understand how to get the best out of it. Then, without warning, Johnsons ceased production. Little did I know a similar thing was about to happen to me. 
I started learning from him how to make my own developers. I was very young, and it was fun at first. But, as I took more pictures I became bored with always mixing chemicals and so I looked around for an easier answer. I decided on using the Patterson chemistry of the time. Geof…

A better way to develop your prints - Factorial Development

There are three ways of developing prints in the darkroom. The first is following the print developer instructions, usually 2 minutes at 20c. The second is snatching the print out of the developer when you think it's done - not a good idea unless your making lith. Finally, the third and by far the best is to take control of the process with factorial development.
Factorial what?
Factorial development is the way we used to develop prints way back when and it's smart, smart because:
1. Development times for different papers and different photographs are not the same 2. Developers slowly exhaust through use and through oxidation 3. You can control contrast more closely and get the print you want
Interested? Then read on...
Unlike conventional wisdom, development times for different papers and different photographs vary. This is because of the type of paper, the make of paper, the grade (yes, even multigrade), and of course the actual photograph being printed.
Developers become m…

PMK

A lot of darkroom users are investigating pyro developers these days. No doubt they're looking for that 'something' to make the difference in their work. And it's here, with a pyro developer, that you might find just that. The oldest developing agent pyrogallol has still a lot to offer, so much so that some photographers still use it regularly if not all the time!

There are a few pyro developer formulas around but when I think of Pyro I think of PMK. Gordon Hutchins' PMK is one of the most researched modern pyro formulas available. Others include John Wimberley's WD2D (and the new WD2D+ that's only available commercially) and Jay DeFehr’s 510-Pyro. If you're looking to use a Pyro developer you won't go wrong with any of these three!

For this post I'll focus on PMK.

Hutchinsons' PMK developer borrows much from the slightly earlier Wimberley formula called WD2D. It includes the same 1:10 Metol to Pyro ratio and the same preservative - sodium bisu…