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The Barnet Book of Photography A Collection of Practical Articles

It is often almost impossible to obtain sufficient opacity


after the developer has been poured on and the plate seems to be uniformly wetted, the liquid will recede from one corner or one edge of the plate and the part thus left uncovered will appear as a patch of lower opacity when the negative is finished. This happens either because the dish is not standing level on the table or because the bottom of the dish is not flat; sometimes it happens because too small a quantity of developer has been used.

After the plate has been covered by the developer the dish should be carefully rocked from time to time, and, for reasons that will be explained presently, the time required for the first appearance of the image and the manner in which the different parts of the image follow one another, should be carefully observed.

If the plate has been correctly exposed, the brightest parts of the image will appear (as black, of course,) in about a minute, more or less, according to the temperature, composition of the developer, and character of the plate, and the other parts will follow steadily in the order of their brightness, after which the image as a whole will continue to gain vigour or opacity up to a certain limit. The essential point is that the principal details in the deepest shadows of the subject shall appear and acquire a distinct printable opacity, before the highest lights become so opaque that the details in them are no longer distinguishable. Whether this condition

is realisable or not depends very largely on the exposure that the plate has received.

If the image appears in considerably less than a minute and the different parts follow one another very quickly, the plate has been _over-exposed_, and the degree of over-exposure is indicated by the rapidity with which the image appears. In this connection it ought, however, to be stated that with metol and certain other developers, even when the plate has been correctly exposed, the different parts of the image appear almost simultaneously, though the first appearance may not begin until about a minute after the developer has been applied to the plate. It follows that with these developers it is difficult to recognise over-exposure, but it so happens that they are not suitable developers to use when there is any probability that the plates have been over-exposed. On the other hand, if the image is slow in appearing and the brightest parts of the subject are not followed in due course by the middle tones, the plate has been _under-exposed_, and there is considerable danger that the high-lights may become quite opaque before any details have appeared in the shadows, or even, in extreme cases, in the lower middle tones, that is to say, in those parts that are next in darkness to the shadows.

When it is desired, as it frequently is, to alter the composition of the developer during development, the substance or substances to be added should be put into the measuring or mixing glass, the developer poured out of the dish into the glass, and the well-mixed liquid poured over the plate as before. Any attempt to add substances to the developer whilst it is in contact with the plate will probably result in uneven action.

It should be borne in mind that temperature has an important influence on development, the time required for the first appearance of the image and for the completion of development being, as a rule, less the higher the temperature. Further, if the developing solutions are very cold, it is often almost impossible to obtain sufficient opacity.

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