Stand developing is not a common way to develop a black and white negatives. Nonetheless, learning how different development times and dilution will affect a film stock is good knowledge to have.
This technique involves a one hour developing time. Certainly, this is not something for people who are impatient and can't wait to see their results. But, if you are willing to sit and dedicate some time, you will be rewarded with interesting results.
Choosing the proper negative for this development is crucial to a positive outcome. When we tried the first time, we had misunderstood what enhancing the shadow and highlight truly meant. We used a Fantôme Kino B&W 35 mm ISO 8 that is by nature, a film with strong shadows and highlights, and the results (as you can see below) were far from what we expected.
Therefore, it is better to use a flatter negative that can reveal a wide range of contrasts stored in the secrets of the chemical composition. We opted for a Lady Grey B&W 35 mm ISO 400 – a perfect film for this experiment.
The process is quite simple and very slow. Stand development consists of leaving the negative in a highly diluted developer for a long time with minimal inversions. The most commonly known formula is with Rodinal.
Proceed As Follows:
- Developer: Rodinal 1:100
- Time: 1h
- Inversion: Twice. First 30 seconds and then at 30 min another 30-second inversion.
- Fix: 4 min
- Wash with distilled water: 5 min
Once you have mixed the chemicals, make sure to apply a steady and slow inversion as well. The goal is to stir the chemicals and refresh the exhausted solution, working on the silver. But since agitation will affect the final contrast, especially during a long development, it is advised to keep it as controlled as possible.
This long and highly diluted developer works undisturbed on the shadow details and the highlights. It gradually intensifies the contrast. As a result, we get a high definition negative. When we opened the tank after development, the amount of details present on the negative was astonishing.
Even shooting during an overcast day when information in the highlights are usually low, resulted in a fair amount of details. Commonly, the best way to get details in the sky is with a filter for black and white film. But during this shoot we didn't have a filter, and the results were surprisingly good.
This solution is especially effective in border regions between highlights and shadows, and it can blow out that line, creating a mystical halo. Not a deal breaker for us, but this is a personal preference. When reading up about this development on the internet, it is mentioned that it can help reduce the grain. We didn't notice any drastic reduction, but it was fairly low and not prominent.
We believe that it is fundamental to learn as much as possible to be in control of our work. Knowing the outcome beforehand will help direct your shooting practice, so you can always be ready to get the best out of each negative.
Have you ever tried stand developing? Share your experience in the comments below.