Tales from the Darkroom - Why was the print completely blank?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Francis A. Miniter, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. I usually like to think that I can do most tasks well when working in
    the dark. On more than one occasion, I have even whipped up a new batch
    of fixer or made a fresh dilution of developer under a safelight. But,
    sometimes one gets overconfident. Here is a story of one such incident.

    This last weekend, I made up a batch of stock glycin solution (Fn 1).
    From that batch I decided to make a 200 ml stock solution of
    Dassonville D-3, a print developer that I like. (Fn 2) At this point,
    there is no more than 5.3ml of glycin and 1.75 ml of hydroquinone in the
    stock D-3 solution. I prefer using the developer at a 1:15 ratio to get
    what Anchell (The Darkroom Cookbook, 2d Ed) calls the "photogravure
    effect". So I took 62.5 ml of the stock solution of Dassonville D-3 and
    added water to make a liter. Now we are down to 1.7 g of glycin and
    0.6 g of hydroquinone in the working solution.

    Then I turned out the lights, put a negative in the enlarger, decided to
    use a variable contrast filter #4 with the Ilford MGIV paper, and
    plucked the filter from the box in the dark. After determining the
    exposure time from the transmission analyzer, I exposed the paper,
    developed it in the fresh D-3 (1:15) and got absolutely nothing. I then
    exposed another sheet for 4x as long. Developed it until it was ready
    to come apart, and, nothing.

    It was late. I went to bed frustrated and confused. The next day, I
    checked my calculations and the pH of the working solution. Everything
    was fine. So, I set up with another negative and popped out the vcf
    filter, only to find that I had used the red safelight filter instead of
    a number 4 filter. I had all too confidently believed that I had put my
    hands on the correct filter and never bothered to read it under the

    Francis A. Miniter

    Fn 1. 90 g of Sodium Sulfite (NaSO3), 140 g of Sodium Carbonate
    (NaCO3) and 50 g of Glycin in 1800 ml of water, stored in a glass
    container (old whisky bottle) and refrigerated.

    Fn 2. The formula is in Anchell, TDC. After determining quantities
    of each of the ingredients needed for 200 ml instead of 1 liter, I used
    187 ml of the stock glycin solution, and added to that the quantities
    calculated above for a 200 ml solution, less those supplied by the
    glycin solution. These additions brought the solution to 200 ml without
    the addition of further water.
    Francis A. Miniter, Jan 6, 2004
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  2. Francis A. Miniter

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Sounds like me trying to figure out if it's a green or a blue filter. Of
    course I enjoyed dropping a full box of paper even less-)

    Nick Zentena, Jan 6, 2004
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  3. Francis A. Miniter

    HypoBob Guest

    Well at least now you can have full confidence in that red filter. ;-)

    HypoBob, Jan 6, 2004
  4. Loading a roll of spring steel that Kodak calls 400TX, I lost my grip
    and the film fell on the darkroom floor, I knew not where. I got on my
    hands and knees and felt the whole floor to no avail. I finally muttered
    a pious ejaculation (as my father taught me) and turned on the light.
    There it was, tightly coiled. I said what the hell and developed it
    anyway, figuring some of it might show something. Every part of it was
    pretty well fogged, but I actually got a few good pictures by scanning.
    Patrick Gainer, Jan 9, 2004
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