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Gordon Hutchings

Gordon Hutchings

Member, Freestyle Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals


Gordon Hutchings is a well known black and white fine art photographer living in Granite Bay, California. Gordon is a master printer and photographer whose work is dominated by the large format camera. He is the inventor of the PMK pyro developer and is largely responsible for the insurgence of interest in this developer in recent years. His articles and photographs are published in many countries and his book "The Book of Pyro" is well known all over the world. He has taught extensively in one-man workshops and co-taught with other well known photographers such as Ralph Talbert and Morley Baer. Many of his workshops have been through the University of California, extension. His work is represented in private collections and permanent collections primarily in California.

Ask The Experts

Dear David, I wish I knew the answer to your question, but I haven't used Seagull for many years ( I gave up on it during one of its withdrawals from the market) and haven't gone back. These days you cannot count on consistency from very many companies. There has obviously been a change, and then another change. This can mean several things, none of which is privy to you and I. The possibilities are that they had to change the chemistry, or they tried a slightly warmer emulsion and decided to go back, or perhaps they have somebody else coat the paper or make it for them. The latter is not uncommon these days. If you like a slightly warm tone paper that has not changed and looks like it is going to be with us for a long time, I can highly recommend Bergger warm tone fiber. I develop it in a cold tone developer, Dektol, and with or without Selenium toning it is beautiful. Untoned it has a slightly golden undertone and with selenium it runs from warm eggplant to brownish black. Be careful with toning, it tones fast. Hope this helps,

Dear Mark, You are working with large format, good for you. There are many years of wonderful learning and exploration ahead of you. Q1. In your area, I would suggest a workshop from Bruce Barnbaum. He does not like pyro but he is a great artist and knows the subject throughly, including finishing, mounting and dealing with galleries and shows. Q2. Of the formulas you have mentioned, I would recommend John Wimberley's WD2D. It is available from Photographers Formulary and their distributors like Freestyle. John's formula gives a lovely stain to negatives. If you want to mix your own, his latest version is proprietary but earlier versions are not. You will find his formula in the Darkroom Cookbook. I would also suggest that you use traditional film like Tri-X, Ilford FP4, Bergger 200 etc. The traditional films seem to work best with pyro developers. You might also consider using my PMK formula. The stain and film speed is very similar to WD2D. The PMK formula is in my book "The Book of Pyro", available from Freestyle. Hope this helps.

Hi Brad, As far as I know Unicolor made only the one Uniroller. It works great, but all of the used ones I have seen require a little re-hab in the innards. Simply take off the base and clean the grunge off of everything. Then lube the axles and the reversing-switch-paddle arm thingus. After that, it should run for years. Good luck,

Dear Richard, Sorry that MaxPyro doesnt seem to be working with Acros film. I have never used Acros film, it is a tabular film and I do not generally like the flat local contrast from tabular films. To make Acros film work with MaxPyro, it looks like you would have to reduce the exposure speed of the film by at least a full stop. This may work but it defeats the reason to use Acros if you are getting good results with other developers. Since MaxPyro works technically very well with T- Max, which is also a tabular film, I simply do not know why it is so weak with Acros. I used a JOBO extensively during the development of MaxPyro and it worked very well and the agitation was not excessive. I always use the slowest speed setting on the JOBO. Have you tried the MaxPyro with a different film just to be sure that the developer is OK? It probably is good, but it wouldnt hurt to be sure. If you try more experiments, I would like to hear how you are proceeding. Your problems with Acros are a surprise to me, MaxPyro has been terrific with every film I have tried. Sincerely,

Dear Kip, Yes, you are probably a little rusty, but there is a germ of truth in what you have experienced. With the loss of Super-XX and lately Bergger 200 all but one of the current films are tabular grain. That flat look is from your trained eye that remembers the chunky grain film of long ago. I went through the same experience 25 years ago. That is one of the reasons I went to pyro, it helped bring back the three dimensional look of long ago. Some modern photographers have learned to do quite well with the new flat grain film, but to my eye their pictures look grayish and a little bit flat. Also there is little separation in the highlights, hence a white-paper look instead of the sparkle and shine of objects in bright sunshine. There are some films that are a mix of tabular and chunky grain. Ilford FP-4 and HP-5 are examples. I have used these films and do quite well. But if you want that old time three dimensional look there is just one film left: Efke. It is the last of the Mohegins. Since I am almost out of Bergger film and there may not be anymore, I too am looking for a new film. I ordered a few boxes from Freestyle and am testing it in several sizes and I love the tonality. Local contrast is the best I have seen since Super-XX and Bergger. The only problem is the relative slow speed for 8x10. But then, if Edward Weston could use a film of ASA 32 the rest of us should be able to use a film of EI 100! Try it with a developer you are familiar with and after you get used to it and want more highlights and deep shadows you might want to try a pyro developer. Good luck and let me know how you are doing, dont give up!

Hello Mike, I am delighted that you are getting good results with MaxPyro. And you still have some Bergger film! I am almost out, and will have to soon adopt a new film. What a drag. I am thinking Efke 100. Have you tried it? Anyway, MaxPyro is very potent and has a lot of pyro in it. What JOBO tank are you using? I used the 3000 series with the five cylinders. In this I used 1500cc which is all the tiny motor can handle. Use the lowest speed. Five sheets of HP5 in 1500cc with excellent results. The film margins were very clear, not perfect, but the fog was very low and a nice contrasty neg. Let me know if you have similar results. Good Luck,

Hello Don, How great to talk about Ralph. I think of him often. I am sorry, but to my knowledge, there are no pictures for sale or obtainable. His negatives are housed at the Sacramento County Archives. There are very few prints and his wife Jane has those and to my knowledge, she does not want to sell them. Sincerely,

Hello Jim, The stained image is the magic of pyro. The difference between the two developers is subtle but important. PMK is designed to run to exhaustion thus maximizing the stained image. MaxPyro is designed to have a more controlled stain, important for high base fog films like Ilford HP5. MaxPyro has less image stain and almost no base fog stain. Having a clear base is especially important for alternative processes like platinum printing. Alt. processes are usually blue-violet light sensitive only and any yellow/green stain is very opaque to actinic light thus making exposures very long. For conventional printing with graded paper the same opacity rules holds true except to a much less degree than alt. processes. For VC processes the stain performs a very important function. This takes some time to explain and it is fully described in my pyro book: The Book of Pyro. If you are interested in pyro you should definitely have a copy because it will shorten your learning curve by years. Freestyle has copies of my book for sale. I am not just trying to sell a book, here, I really mean it when I say that it takes several years to learn what pyro can do for your shooting and printing. Basically, as the negative gains silver density it also gains in stain density. When printing, this increasing stain softens the local contrast in the higher density highlights. This allows full contrast printing of shadows and midtones without burning out the highlights. It is much more subtle and controllable than I am describing here and allows lots of room to make really exquisite prints. Good luck with your shooting.

Hello Keith, I too have also used Delta 400 and PMK @320 for many years with great success. D400 is my choice for a fast film in 120 size. What you can expect from MaxPyro is: full emulsion speed, I shoot D400 at 400; short development time (7min). Any development method (not much of a problem with roll film but an issue with sheet film). There are other benefits but not applicable to D400 in 120 size. Prints from MaxPyro are described as robust or muscular. Whether this is better than PMK is personal choice. I can only suggest you try it. The film that benefits the most from MaxPyro, as of this writing is Ilford HP5. HP5 is a high fog film and the controlled stain of MaxPyro greatly reduces fog for a greater image stain to fog stain ratio. However, in 120 size I think that D400 is superior to HP5. I have been using nothing but MaxPyro for everything in order to get thoroughly familiar with it. I created it primarily for Bergger 200 film, but it also works fine for all film especially faster film. With Delta 400 I think you will be fine with either developer. Yours,

Hello Richard, There is no set limit for PMK. It lasts for many years in the stock bottles. However, it all depends on the oxidation of the A solution and this can be checked visually. If the A solution is yellow or even dark yellow and translucent, it is OK. If it is brown and/or somewhat opaque, toss it. The B solution will last forever unless it has precipitated (thick white deposit at bottom of jar). In theory the B solution can be heated and re-desolved but it will precipitate as soon as it is cold. Not worth taking a chance with good exposed film. Test it first if in doubt. Yours,

Hi Steve, Glad to hear from a photographer who is really burning up the film! I have good news for you. If you are shooting people, PMK will work just fine and probably as good as MaxPyro. If you really want to save money, mix it yourself. It costs just pennies if home made. Another way to save money is with film. Have you tried Efke film? It is the last of the true old fashioned films, it has no flat grain mixed in, nor any die-coupling. Freestyle has very good prices on Efke and it makes beautiful prints. Good luck with your shooting,

Dear John, Your process is amazingly complex and thorough. Although excellent in concept, I think your process may be too complex resulting is a wet time long enough to allow various oxidation complexes to occur. As a suggestion, try eliminating or shortening some of the steps. I am not a JOBO expert but I used it extensively when developing the new formula and never had an orange general stain. Here are some ideas: 1. Eliminate the presoak (turn on rotation before pouring in developer). 2. Use a single acid stop because you are using an acid fix. 3. Shorten the fix time. Although TMX does require a longer fix. 4 Dont use hypo clear, film doesnt need it. 5. Eliminate post soak, the new formula was designed without it. 6. Wash for 10 to 15 minutes. I think that these suggestions will eliminate the orange stain and will greatly shorten and simplify your film processing. Let me know how you are doing. I think step #2 may be key. Good Luck,

Dear TK, Always glad to hear from a long time user of pyro. Your problem with a partial filled bottle sounds like oxidation and hot weather. Since you have observed that PMK stock solutions keep for a long time, anytime you see one of the solutions suddenly turn dark, it is a sure sign that something has gone wrong. If the solution is in doubt, by all means make a test shot. The longest shelf life I have experienced with my PMK in partial bottles is 11 years. I recommend against steel lids because the slightest corrosion will ruin the solution. You apparently have some lids with great coatings, but I still recommend against it. It would be a good idea to protect your solutions from light and intense heat. Good luck and good shooting,

Hello Gerhard, Thank you for the kind comments on PMK. It has been a remarkable developer and yes it is best with medium to slow films. MaxPyro was designed specifically for fast films. It offers the following advantages: Full ISO film speed, fast development compared to traditional pyro developers, very low base fog and consistent base fog from film to film, very energetic development for fast films which are typically less contrasty than slower films and any method of developing including stainless hangers and JOBO. Whew! Well there it is. The stain can be adjusted by the stop bath and fixer used. The least stain comes from plain water stop (large volume of water and continuous agitation recommended) and alkali fix (TF4 from photographers formulary is the only commercial source). The formula for TF3 (almost the same) is listed in the Photographers Developing Cookbook by Steve Anchell and Bill Troop. Here is the formula: Ammonium thiosulfate (57-60) 800 ml Sodium sulfite ann. 50 gm Sodium metaborate 20 gm Water to make 1 liter Dilute 1:4 with water for working solution The most stain comes from a strong acid stop and standard rapid fix. Since MaxPyro is proprietary and is distributed by Bostick and Sullivan, I do not know if they plan to send it to Europe. They do mail a lot of chemicals, so I would recommend sending them an e-mail to find out. As for times, I have not used the film you mentioned except for TMX which needs about 6.5 minutes at 21°C. For the other fast films I would suggest starting at 7 minutes with agitation either continuous or every 10-15 seconds. Good luck,

Hello Chauncey, Sorry you are having trouble with your JOBO. If you are only having one sheet from many troublesome, the problem may just go away with usage. However if it persist there are several things to try. - If the problem is aerial fog stain and not silver based stain, then a small amount of sulfite may tame the fog. Try about 1/3 gram per liter. - I doubt that the gap makes a difference, however you may want to insert the film all the way into each tube for less aerial exposure. - Use more developer. Since you are using a motor base and not a JOBO you might be able to use a heavier load of developer. - The ultimate fix for JOBO tubes is nitrogen gas. A long time ago I used a JOBO tube, a squirt of nitrogen gas and then a rubber stopper. The negs came out looking good enough to eat and the dumped PMK was the same color as when it went in. By the way, what is a motorized tray? I have never heard of this and am curious. Let me know how you are doing with the stain problem. If you still have stain problems after trying everything, you could try Rollo-Pyro. This developer was designed just for JOBO. Basically it is PMK with an ascorbic acid substitute for metol. It works fine, but only in a JOBO. You could also try my new developer MaxPyro from Bostick and Sullivan. More expensive than PMK but lots of speed and works in JOBO and stainless stell hangers. Good luck,

Hello George, I see that you are paying attention to the text, you will do well in the written test that comes later! The reason why the Zone 8 reading is so high is the increased image stain. Image stain is a greenish- yellow stain. This acts as a softening contrast filter for the highlights, thus the higher total dens. contrast. This is covered in the chapter Pyro and the Fine Print. It is a great effect and allows the robust looking prints without burning out the highlights. The exact density ratio must be worked out by each photographer. Each person will experience slightly different stain level depending on lots of factors including film choice, local water, development methods, agitation etc. A lightly stained negative will need a lower density range because the negative is more like conventional negatives. A heavily stained negative like HP5 will need a higher density range, as much as 1.65 with Zone 8 as high as the 1.8 mentioned in the text. Yes there are a few commercial printers who do a great job with pyro negatives. Ken Templeton, here in Sacramento is one of the best printers in the country and is known for his work with pyro negatives. He also develops with pyro and should be consulted about best printing densites. Good luck with pyro, Im sure you will love the printing qualities as much as thousands of others. Yours,

Hi Gordon, I am reading The Book of Pyro and was surprised when I read what your densitometer readings were for Zone 1 and Zone 8. I have been using .1 and 1.2 respectively and your values were .1 and about 1.7. I have been working with FP4+ in Rodinal but want to try PMK. Unfortunately, my densitometer is for black and white and I dont have a color densitometer. But if I can locate one, should I use 1.7 for zone 8? Also, would I have better results if I re-tested FP4+ in Rodinal and used 1.7 for the zone 8 value? I realize that these densitometer values are not written in stone but I want to use a value that is going to give me the best results. I dont have a darkroom currently and hire someone to do my printing so I dont have direct experience in the darkroom with these .1 to 1.2 negatives so I dont know if these values are optimum or not. In case it matters, my printer uses Ilford Multigrade paper and a printer with a color head with variable contrast control. Finally, could you recommend a printer to work with b/w pyro negatives. Thanks for your wonderful book and I cant wait to start trying Pyro. Sincerely, George

Hello Bryan, Splotchy stain? Good grief, MaxPyro was created in part to completely eliminant such mischief. I have not experienced any such business nor have I heard of anyone else having same. What to do? I can only think of presoaking the film in distilled water. Try both plain water or a mild alkali like bi-carb. Try a teaspoon in a liter. A mild alkali will open up the gelatin, about three minutes should do the trick. If this doesnt help there must be something haywire with the components, try a new batch of film and chemicals and water. Any change in your water? Good Luck and let me know of the progress. Yours,

Hi Tuco, You will get most of the benefits from a scanned pyro neg as in printing to silver paper direct from the negatives. The one exception is variable contrast compensation in the highlight areas with variable contrast paper. What you will get is the same masking of the grain, especially beneficial with smaller negs. With PMK the contrast is also kept in check which helps digital rendering. The highlights are always translucent so they wont block out the scanner and printer. Rock on!

Hello Dwain, It is always good to hear from a new enthusiast for large format. You mentioned that you are a member of ViewPoint. ViewPoint is holding a lot of workshops. Gene Kennedy teaches workshops in large format. Contact ViewPoint for details. Gene is an excellent teacher, very down to earth and a lifetime of experience. In preparation for your effort in large format you should also study some books. I am old school so of course I recommend the Ansel Adams series. Another excellent book is Bruce Barnbaums (I think it is titled The Art of Photography). Take your time, learn as you go and enjoy the process. The intimate hands on process is the real reward. Yours,

Hello Neil, Sorry for the slow response, I have been out of town. So... bullet proof negs huh? Well I suppose thats better than nothing at all. 50cc of each A and B in one liter is correct and it has been working great for all films (this formula is very different than PMK and acts differently, so ignore your PMK experience with MaxPyro). Time for Tri- X should be about 7 minutes. If your negs are still bullet proof then you need to look at several things. MaxPyro is designed for full ISO speed. For Tri-X that is ISO 320 if I remember correctly. After you recheck things, if you are still getting dense negs, you may be lucky and can shoot at a higher speed. I know a few folks who have a meters that have never been calibrated and they shoot Ilford HP5 or Tri-X at something like EI 500 to 600. Re-check everything and try some test shots. Let me know your results. Yours,

Hello Scott, Its good that you are so observant. You didnt say if it was the same bottle or a new one. Assuming that it is the same bottle, this change in color is normal and is simply telling you that the stock solution is maturing. Keep tabs on the A solution, if it turns brown in the bottle it is shot. It shouldnt turn brown. I have PMK solutions that are many years old and they are still OK. The key question of course is how are the negs? So long as they look good, everything is cool. Glad you like PMK! Yours,

Hello Leo, My, you are a long suffering pyro user. Here are some tricks to solve your sky mottling problem. Double the A stock solution (2A + 2B + 100 Water) and add about 1/3 teaspoon dry sulfite per liter. Add just enough sodium sulfite to eliminate the mottling and cut down on general stain but not so much as to eliminate the image stain. With your system this may be the easiest remedy. Add a small amount of alkali to your presoak, sodium metaborate or baking soda. This softens up the gelatin far more than plain water and also assures that the films will not stick together in the developer. This prepares the gelatin to fully receive the pyro. Pyro starts hardening the gelatin immediately and the developer alkali tries to soften it. Thus there are conflicts leading to hard and soft spots in the gelatin. As an experiment, have you tried slipping a single sheet of either presoaked or dry exposed film into a tray and sloshing it as I describe in my book? I have always had perfect results this way. John Wimberly tells me that he processes single sheets and has to use an acid stop or he will sometimes get sky mottling. Start with a single sheet and then work up in number from there. Morley Baer could tray develop a dozen sheets of 8x10 and never scratch one! I get nervous beyond 4. Have you tried or heard of my new formula MaxPyro? It was designed for the faster speed films and it is terrific for HP5. I shoot HP5 at EI 400 and develop for 7 minutes. Big rich negs. More robust negs with more contrast, good for HP5. It is available from Bostick and Sullivan. I havent had any mottling or general staining problems with the new formula. With this formula I can use stainless steel hangers and tank development. My favorite and very convenient. Let me know how you are doing and if any of this helps. Yours,

Dear Jacques, I presume that you are talking about a single sheet in an 8x10 tray. The process starts immediately after the sheet is placed into the solution, The agitation can be continuous, that is, tip from each side around and around. Or, it can be paced, that is tip from each side every 5 to 10 seconds. Some workers consider one tipping from each side as one cycle every 15 seconds. Some also tip from the corners. The important thing is to agitate frequently and with some vigor. Yes, some small amount of solution will probably spill out. It is best if you wear rubber gloves for tray agitation. What film are you using? What do you like to photograph? Good luck and let me know if you need any more help. Yours,

Hello Jacques, TF-4 does not require an acid stop but it does require a plain water stop, essentially a rinse for 30-45 secs. A tray of water is fine. Also with TF-4 there is no need for the post soak in the developer or an alkali bath. This eliminates one step. The procedure is develop-- plain water stop--fix. Yours,

Hello Mike, MaxPyro is only available from Bostick Sullivan. I presume you have been ordering it from them. Some time ago the called me to ask for my source of chemicals, they were having trouble ordering for some reason. I wonder if that has been straightened out? Have you called them in the last three weeks? If you are having trouble with the order, let me know and I will call them and find out what has happened. Yours,

Hello David, You have made this easy and you have answered your own question. In my opinion, PMK is the easiest pyro formula to use. It has been around over 30 years now and is used all over the world. As for method, read my book! There is a whole chapter on just agitation. The appendix is a must read for safety sake. Now, about this old film. Are you just using an old camera with new film or you really trying to develop film from 1888? 1888??? If it is really 1888 film you are dead. Theres not a chance that you can develop an image. But why not try anyway? Start with PMK, double the A stock, add 0.1 gram of potassium bromide per liter and add 10 grams of sodium sulfite per liter and develop for 20 minutes. The sulfite will kill the image stain, but with old film, stain is not what you want. Fog is the real killer of old film. As far as pyro results with other developers. Nothing will work the same. Stick with pyro, it is easy to use. Good luck and let me know how you are doing.

Hello Mike, So, you are the one who looked at my video! Medium format and pyro? Good for you, it is a great combination. What camera? Hand held or tripod? I use a Rollei twin lens on occasion and a Rollei SL66 all of the time. Love the SL66. For hand held for the Fuji or Mamiya medium formats I like Ilford HP5 @ EI 400. For tripod use I much prefer very slow film, either Ilford Pan-F EI32, or Efke 25 EI25. I also use a Galvin 2x3 view camera with view camera lenses. 16x20s are easy with this format. As for developing, it is straight forward, especially with roll film. Read my book, it has everything you need. The Book of Pyro is available from Bostick and Sullivan, Freestyle and Photographers formulary. Be sure and read the appendix about safety. Don get nervous about the development. Just plunge into it like any other film with ample agitation. My favorite method is with Patterson tubes on a roller base (eBay for both). If you go this way use small cut off 1/4 inch rings from 1 PVC pipe for spacers between the reels for better agitation. Good luck and feel free to ask more questions. Yours,

Hello Wynne, I wonder if we are related? Anyway the chart you have stuck on the side of the meter is for reciprocity failure compensation. That is, when film is exposed for longer than one second its inherent speed drops and continues to do so. Here is how the chart works. The left hand column ind means indicated. This is the time that your meter indicates is the correct time. But if the indicated time is more than one second you must convert to the times shown in one of the other columns. The title on the other columns are for individual films. The first film column: Fp4 is Ilford Fp4, D100, D400 is Ilford Delta films. Next column: Hp5 is Ilford Hp5, Trix is of course Kodak Tri-X and T400 is Kodak T-Max 400. Last column is for Bergger 200 (no longer made), and T100 is for Kodak T-Max 100. I hope this makes sense. Let me know if you have any questions. By the way, the Pentax digital is an excellent meter and is highly desirable. Yours,

Hello Dieter Not much. Some of the newer films are covered plus info on using the JOBO. Probably not worth the swap. Good luck with the pyro. Everybody who uses for awhile swears by it. Yours, Gordon

Hi Dieter, Only half? Wow, something is wrong with that water. Sometimes a tiny amount will precipitate because it is a saturated solution. But half is really bad news. I have always used distilled water for the stock solutions.

Hello Ray, T-Max 400 in 5x7? I have heard rumors that Kodak is no longer going to cut 5x7 film of any kind. However all I know is rumor. Your Freestyle rep should know a lot more than me. You might be able to find 5x7 T- Max on e-bay now and again. Constant looking is required. If you can find it, it works very well in PMK. Image stain is just right and the margins stay very clean. If you can find 5x7 T-Max you will have to find a new film. Not fun. Do you really need a 400 speed film? If you do there is only one choice and that is Ilford HP5. Good film, but it is a little tricky to use in a pyro developer. HP5 is a high fog film and the base colors up with a staining developer, especially in a JOBO. My book details how to develop this film and others in a JOBO. Also my new developer Max Pyro is a super developer for fast film. Max Pyro is available from Bostick and Sullivan. I no longer use fast film in my view cameras. I love the quality of the slower films. Yes, sometime I have trouble with long exposure or wind, especially in my 8x10, but I am willing to take the chance of missing a shot. I don miss very many even with 8x10 film as slow as EI 25. I am down to the last few sheets in 8x10 of Bergger 200 film and 5x7 is gone. Lots of people have gone to Ilford FP4. It is a great film and has been the gold standard for many years. I have used a lot of it. However I have been experimenting with Efke film and love it. It is the last film that is old fashioned chunky grain. It has a wonderful tonality, local contrast and depth of image. It is slow! I am using Efke 25 in 4x5 and 5x7. In 8x10 I am experimenting with both the 25 and 50. Efke also makes 100 film, but I am hooked on slow film at this time. Experience may force me to to go to the 100. So, there it is, constant change is the norm these days. Good luck with your film search. Yours,

Hello Leo, I am delighted that the sky problem is fixed with pyro. Tray processing offers some of the best negatives and also some of the worst problems because the film is so exposed to the air and mechanical handling. Sulfite does two things to a pyro developer. It is a preservative, that is, it prevents oxidation of the developer. Secondly, the oxidation product of pyro is a powerful gelatin staining agent. Sulfite makes these oxidation products colorless, thus preventing staining. In the old days when temperature, chemical purity and other potential problems, pyro developers were on-staining by adding lots of sulfite. PMK tries to reach a balance between image stain (good), and general stain fog (bad). Because tray development has so much exposure to oxygen in the air, a little more sulfite can be beneficial. Ideally we want maximum image stain and minimum general stain. Comprendo? Good luck,

Hello Mike, Eighty degree water? Whew! That is very warm and is close to the critical temp for film (and the emulsion will be very tender). About 10 more degrees and the emulsion will start to float right off the film base. Icing down the temperature is the best solution and is very easy. You do not need the temperature of all baths at 70 degrees. Reticulation of film emulsion only occurs when a film undergoes a big temperature change from one bath to the next. Modern film is quite tough and reticulation is much less of a problem today than in pre-war years. Increasing the processing temperature in one jump to final wash water at 80 degrees is the safe way to go (without further testing). Get a plastic bucket and ice down your tap water to, say 70 degrees and mix your developer. I am assuming that the developer concentrates and the trays will be at or about 70 degrees also (?). If warmer than 70 you may have to have water at 65 or 68 to reach final tray-ready temp at 70. What temperature is your fix? If it is room temperature, say 68 to 75, no change is necessary and you can mix your stop at anything from 70 to 75. If your fix is at 80 simply adjust your stop to 75. If your fix is room temp, say 70, then make stop same temp as developer. Then to be safe, after fix, rinse film in a water bath at 75 for two minutes, then into the wash at 80. It is unlikely that a 10 degree jump will reticulate film when developed in pyro, but if it did occur, it would be on your best shot in years for sure. I haven tested HP5 for reticulation in many years and you might give it a test. Simply develop some test shots and dunk the film into 80, 85 and 90 degree water and see what happens. You might be completely safe in going from 70 to 80 degrees. Let me know how you are doing,

Dear Beto, Thank goodness you didn spill B into A. That would self destruct in minutes. The B solution is more stable and unless the solution turns very dark (like coffee) you are probably OK to use it. Be aware that the A solution will be completely oxidized and can yield a general stain if strong enough. Watch for increase fog stain and if there is a lot, dump the B solution. It is quite inexpensive, being just sodium metaborate, which by itself, is quite cheap to buy. Good luck,

Dear Dan, Seems like your photography is growing in all directions. As for the availability of film. I am not worried at all. There are lots of companies still making film. The electronic divisions of Kodak, for example are in the tank, but the film division is making a profit. Ilford is completely dedicated to silver film. Photo classes in colleges are full, I have taught a few. Lens coating is a bit complicated. There is uncoated, single coating and multi-coating (starting in the 1980s). There is also lens design. The more air/glass surfaces, the more reflections and the most benefit from coating. Also wide-angle lens tend to benefit most from coating. When I was starting out, I used a lot of uncoated lenses and had great luck with them. You mentioned a 90mm WA. I would go for a plain Angulon. I have just as much luck with them as the Super-Angulons. Convertible Symmars are also excellent (don convert them, not so good). You will need to avoid strong rays of light, sunlight mostly, shining direct into the lens, or close to it. A lens shade is a good idea for uncoated lenses. Shade the lens with the darkslide at almost all times. Some lenses were designed to minimize glass/air surfaces. The famous Dagor has only four surfaces and really do not require coating. Coating increases contrast and increases the depth and clarity in the shadows. With some lenses the image is going to be a little soft and a plus development will bring the contrast up to normal. If you get an uncoated lens, do not even think of having it coated, it just doesn work out and is VERY expensive. Don worry about multi-coating, for BW single coating is just fine. Multi-coating works best with complicated, big aperture wide angle lenses. I use a MC wide angle for my Rollei SL66 and it is a tiny bit better than a single coated WA. So, have at it and good shooting.

Norm, Thank you for all your kind words! I am so old-fashioned that my web site is just now being built by a friend of mine. I do not know how soon he will be finished. So I have nothing I can show you on the internet at this time. I have a big show right now at Freestyle in Hollywood. Are you close? Hopefully my website will be up soon, check back in few months (he seems to be a little slow, but he is a friend so I can yell at him). Thank you for your interest. Yours,

Hello Mario, Glad to hear that you are so enthusiastic about photography, especially film photography. I have attached an article about MaxPyro that was in View Camera magazine some months ago. In case the attached file doesn show up try slow film at 5 minutes, medium speed film at 6 minutes and fast film at 7 minutes. I think Tmax 100 was 5 minutes. All at full ISO speed. MaxPyro was designed primarily for fast film and is quite potent. It doesn last as long as PMK on the shelf and PMK is more broadly applicable. Good luck and let me know if I can be of further help. Yours,

Hello Paul, There is good news for you. The need for the afterbath is dependent on how much image stain you want. If the wash water is neutral or slightly alkaline, the negs will stain just fine. If you are not getting enough image stain, you can dunk the film into any alkaline solution after fixing. I think that the water in GB is typically alkaline (?), if so there is no need for post-fix bath. Since I moved to Sacramento and am using well water, I no longer need to use the post-fix bath. About the JOBO, it is a great machine. JOBOs can be rebuilt. There is a company in the US that has lots of parts and rebuild most models. There was an article about this in the last issue of View Camera magazine. Try Google JOBO, there is probably a shop in Europe also. It is a common practice to use JOBO drums with old color rollers or by hand in the sink. See if you can get ahold of a Unicolor drum roller, I think they are the best for this as they oscillate and can slow down to about 20 rpm. I use these rollers for my 120 film tubes and love them. I took mine apart to clean it and grease the reversing gear. I also glued some rubber stoppers on the bottom to get the unit up above any wet in the sink. It is also common to simply roll the tube back and forth in a sink or big tray. Take good care of your JOBO drums, they are devilishly expensive on e-bay. Roll away! Yours,

Hello Brad, Great to talk to a long time user of PMK. I had no idea it was going to be so good when I first created it, now 30 years ago. PMK works on the principle of exhaustion of the pyrogallol. This maximizes edge effect, local contrast and image stain. PMK forces the pyro to work very hard leaving behind the maximum pyro effects. For this reason you have to be careful in changing the amount of theA stock in the working solution. You can decrease the A stock by 20 to 25 and thats all. Even at this amount, there are risks. Complete exhaustion without complete development will yield splotchy areas of development, unwanted stain and incomplete development especially in the middle of the film. This is why I stress agitation so much in the book. If you are getting some unevenness in the negs, especially in the sky, you can increase the A solution by two or three times. This will only make a very slight increase in density, but will even out any uneven or splotchy areas. Increasing the A will decrease, to some degree, the maximum edge effects and image stain. Now for the B solution. It is perfectly OK to increase the B solution. Since the B solution is a buffered solution you will not get the punch out of increasing the B as in WD2D which uses carbonate which tops out at about pH12. Sodium metaborate will top out at about pH10.5 to pH11 at the most. Some years ago an aerial photography firm in the SF Bay area was using PMK for fast and higher contrast for aerial film by doubling both A and B. They loved the speed and the masking of grain and still maintaining fine detail. Finer grain? Gosh, you are tough. PMK gives the finest grain possible because of the underdeveloped silver and grain masking image stain. If you are dissatisfied with the grain of your film, there is only two things you can do. Switch to a finer grain film or increase the film size. What size and what film are you using anyway? Could you use finer grain film, or a bigger size? Hopes this helps, Good luck,

Dear Cristo, I think that a staining Pyro formula works very well with infrared film. There are several benefits. Highlight silver density is less and the printing density is increased by the image stain. This means that the highlight bloom with infrared is less yielding sharper and less blown out highlights. The image stain masks the grain so prevalent in IR film. I would recommend that you try it and to understand staining pyro, buy my book The Book of Pyro. Pyro is very different than conventional developers and if you do not what is going on or is possible, you will be feeling around in the dark (bad pun). Yours,

Hello David, Ah, IR film. Well you are a brave soul and I hope you can stick with this long enough to get dependable results. Be prepared to do quite a lot of experimentation. So buy lots of film. IR film is very challenging. Most people just bang away and hope for the best. While this may work once in a while it is not very dependable and most shooters give up after a short trial. The IR content of visible light varies to a great degree, the filter you choose makes a great difference in speed and light meters are not much use unless you cover the lens with a red filter and, with some experimentation, develop a fudge chart. All of these variables can result in an EI from about 3 to 50 or so. Wow! As you can see it is best to experiment a bit to decide what IR effect you want to begin with. Do you want just an extended "normal" shot with a darker sky and lighter foliage or do you want the full "bloom" along with the soot and chalk effect? This is a fundamental decision and will dictate everything else. Extended Normal effects are shot with a dark yellow or red filter on overcast days (to give snap and contrast to an otherwise dull scene). Full IR effects are shot with a IR filter (Wraten 87 or a Hoya equivalent) and are shot in sunlight. I believe the Rollei IR film is made by Photokemica (Efke IR 820). Is this what you have? Years ago I shot a lot of 120 Konica IR film. This was a "soft" IR film in that it did not go way deep into IR like the old Kodak IR. I cut a small square of red plastic and slid it over the optic of my old Gossen meter and worked up a "fudge factor" table. Once it was calibrated, I never missed a shot. True deep IR is more difficult and the meter+filter may not work, especially on sunny days. Look up Efke IR on the web and read everything you can. Development times are the easiest variable in all of this. Try different times starting with 8 minutes in PMK. If you need less, try 7 minutes and if you need more jump to 10 minutes. Good luck to you (and I really mean it!) Yours, Gordon

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