West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach is a beautifully sandy beach located at the entrance to Chichester Harbour. On a unexpectedly sunny Sunday last week, we loaded up the car with and assortment of kids, dogs, and sandwiches and headed on out.

Yashica Mat 124G / Kodak Tri-X / Stand developed in Kodak HC-110 1+160 for 45 minutes

West Wittering Beach

I generally use just two films in medium format these days; Ilford FP4 and Kodak Tri-X. And this being Feb, my Yashica Mat was already loaded with Tri-X. I typically stand develop both those films in Rodinal with good results. However, blue skies on Tri-X with Rodinal was likely to show a little too much grain for my tastes. I therefore decided to use stand development with HC-100 instead.

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach

This roll was developed for 45 minutes in a dilution of 1+160. I used 5ml of HC-110 in 800 ml of water, and developed for 45 minutes with one very gentle inversion at the halfway mark. I’ve often head it said that stand development is temperature agnostic, but for the sake of consistency I stick to 20C.

West Wittering Beach

These frames don’t quite have the lemon-juice-in-the-eye sharpness of Rodinal, but the grain in those skies is less pronounced.

West Wittering Beach

Daisy’s nearly 16 now. Her legs don’t really work like they used to and everything’s a bit harder than it once was. I know how that feels. But I’ve never seen her happier than when she’s on the beach.

West Wittering Beach

There’s some great dunes at West Wittering Beach. I’m always reminded of 1968’s ghost story Whistle & I’ll Come To You, although that was filmed on the Norfolk Coast. If that means anything to you, you may find this interesting.

West Wittering Beach

Stand Development With HC-110

Several years back I gave Kodak HC-110 a go for developing my 35mm films. Up until then I’d mainly been using D76. But HC-110 is very economical, and in it’s undiluted, syrupy form it stays usable for many years. As it turned out, I found it to be less sharp and less contrasty than D76, which is why I’ve still got most of the bottle under the kitchen sink. But I had thought that one day I’d try some stand development with HC-110.

What Is Stand Development With HC-110?

Thanks for asking. Stand development is the process where film is left in a very dilute developing solution for an extended period of time, with little or no agitation. The theory is that the developer exhausts itself in areas which require greater development, while remaining active in less-exposed areas. In other words, the highlights don’t burn out whilst the shadows develop a bit more detail. Not all developers are suitable for this, but I’ve been using this method successfully for many years with Rodinal. I’ve found that I only get satisfactory results with traditional grain rather than T-grain films, which is why I mainly use FP4 and Tri-X rather than Tmax and Delta in 120 format. For 35mm, I find Rodinal too grainy, irrespective of the method used.

My dear friend Ella / Nikon FE (probably) / Kosmo Foto Mono / Stand development with HC-110 1:160

Stand Development With HC-110

I came across a roll of exposed 35mm film that I’d slung in the back of a drawer and forgotten about. It was a roll of Kosmo Foto Mono so I knew it couldn’t be that old. Nevertheless, I wasn’t sure what was on it or even what camera I’d used. But the very fact I’d forgotten about it meant it was unlikely to contain anything of consequence to rival the Zapruder film. I thought it was worth taking a chance with.

Nikon FE (probably) / Kosmo Foto Mono / Stand development with HC-110 1:160

Stand Development With HC-110

What Dilution Should I Use?

After some rummaging around online I decided to give it a go with a dilution of 1:160 for 45 mins. You normally require 300ml and 500ml of solution to cover 35mm and 120 films respectively. However, you also need a minimum amount of actual developer per film to make things work. It also helps to try and use some round numbers. I did some research, and settled on the following:

  • 35mm: 3ml of HC-110. Top up with 477ml of water to make a total of 480ml.
  • 120: 5ml of HC-110. Top up with 795ml of water to make a total of 800ml.

I’m not saying these numbers are definitive. I’m just saying that they’ve consistently worked for me.

Nikon FE (probably) / Kosmo Foto Mono / Stand development with HC-110 1:160
Ah, double exposure. That’s Charles James Fox ( 1749 to 1806). Onetime local resident and the first ever British Foreign Secretary. Much like a more recent Foreign Secretary, he was an Old Etonian who had a reputation for being lazy, a womaniser and having ridiculous hair. However, Fox was a passionate campaigner for abolishing the slave trade, which is not something I can imagine Boris Johnson wanting to waste his precious time on.

Stand Development With HC-110

What’s The Process?

It’s fairly straightforward. Bear in mind this is all about what I do and what consistently works for me. Other opinions are available, although clearly they’re incorrect….

  • Temperature – Once you mixed up your solution, you need to think about temperature. Some people say that this is irrelevant. However, I like to strive for consistency and predictability, so always go for 20℃.
  • Pour the solution into the film tank, and agitate well for 30 seconds. I then give the tank several good whacks with a wooden spoon on the top and sides, to ensure any air bubbles are dispelled.
  • You can then leave everything to develop for 45 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, I give the tank one very gentle turn upside down and back (don’t forget to whack afterwards), before leaving for the remaining 25 minutes. Technically, this is called semi-stand development. I’ve tried leaving for the whole 45 minutes, and I’ve noticed you can get some strange ‘halo’ effects on the edges of subjects. Apparently some people like this, but it’s not for me, hence the gentle turn mid-way
  • After the 45 minutes are up you pour out the developer. I never bother with a stop bath because the dilution of the developer is so low, and in any case it’s exhausted by this stage. Just give the tank a good rinse out under the tap.
  • Fix and rinse in the normal way.
  • Hang up your negatives to dry. This gives you the opportunity to prepare for the coming Zombie Apocalypse by watching the documentary Black Summer.

Waston S T R E T C H E S / Nikon FE (probably) / Kosmo Foto Mono / Stand development with HC-110 1:160

Stand Development With HC-110

The Results

They’re great, in my opinion. Great contrast and tonality, with well-controlled grain. So there you go. I’m happy with these. The price of D76 in 1 litre packs has shot up over the last year, so it looks like I might use up that bottle under the sink after all.

Daisy was dead chuffed to find out what great tonality she has when developed this way / Nikon FE (probably) / Kosmo Foto Mono / Stand development with HC-110 1:160

Stand Development With HC-110

Medium Format

I’ve since tried this with medium format film, with equally pleasing results. I stick to traditional rather than t-grain films. These two were shot on West Wittering Beach with my Yashica Mat on Tri-X. These frames don’t quite have the lemon-juice-in-the-eye sharpness of Rodinal, but the grain in those skies is less pronounced.

Ella & Ewan / Yashica Mat 124G / Kodak Tri-X / Stand developed in Kodak HC-110 1+160 for 45 minutes

West Wittering Beach

Daisy’s nearly 16 now. Her legs don’t really work as they used to, and everything’s a bit harder than it once was. I know how that feels. But I’ve never seen her happier than when she’s on the beach

West Wittering Beach

Here are a few shots from my Mamiya 645 with Ilford FP4:

Coco, our beautiful working cocker spaniel / Mamiya 645 Pro TL / Ilford FP4 / Stand developed in Kodak HC-110 1+160 for 45 minutes

The Serpent Trail

Brookwood Cemetery / Mamiya 645 Pro TL / Ilford FP4 / Stand developed in Kodak HC-110 1+160 for 45 minutes

Brexit time capsule

Brexit time capsule

I hope you find this useful. This has now become one of the regular options in my development armoury. Consistency is always important, and when I stick to the guide above, the results are always predictably pleasing.

You might also be interested in some of my other how-to articles:

Sphinx Aren’t What They Used To Be

A couple of unusual things happened this weekend. Firstly, the weather forecasters predicted two full days of complete sunshine and a temperature of 21C. In London. In early April. The second strange thing was that this absurd prediction actually came true. Normally during such a weekend I might typically have driven down to the coast, or maybe spent some time cycling in the park. But a few recent events have conspired to suck some of the energy and enthusiasm out of me. So instead I unfolded my handwritten list of Cemeteries I Haven’t Yet Visited, closed my eyes, and randomly prodded the paper.

West Norwood Cemetery is a 40 acre site in south east London, so for me that’s a 30 minute train ride up to central London, followed by a further 15 minutes out through the other side. It’s one of The Magnificent Seven, the group of private cemeteries that were established in the 19th century to deal with overcrowding at the various parish cemeteries. It’s not the first of the seven I’ve visited.

The cemetery had its first burials in 1837, and although all the plots are now taken, the crematorium is still active and you can have your ashes stashed in the columbarium. It holds London’s finest collection of sepulchral monuments, has 69 listed structures, and is on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It’s a peaceful place.

All of these were shot with an orange filter, most of them them with the wonderful (but hefty) Mamiya Sekor C F/2.8 45mm lens (35mm equivlant=28mm). I semi-stand developed them (one gentle inversion at the half-way mark) in a 1+99 dilution of Rodinal for 60 minutes. I find this gives a really nice level of bite without being too grainy. On these sunny, cloudless days I don’t bother with the onboard meter. I just use sunny 16, allow an extra stop of light to compensate for the filter, and then it’s just 1/125 & F/11 or permutations thereof all the way.

Camera: Mamiya 645 Pro TL
Film: Ilford FP4
Process: Developed in Rodinal 1+99 for 60 minutes

The Crematorium; still in use today

After a hour or so of wandering round, I found a shady spot to eat the sandwich I had brought with me, and was thinking about catching the train home. That’s when it occurred to me that a couple of stops and about ten minutes further down the line was Crystal Palace Park.

I’d forgotten how nice Crystal Palace Station is, and at the risk of being mistaken for a train geek, I took a quick snap. To be honest, when you spend a sunny Saturday hanging round a cemetery, people thinking you’re a train spotter is the least of your worries.

Wikipedia describes Crystal Palace Park as a Victorian pleasure park, which I think is a lovely turn of phrase. The district of Crystal Palace takes its name from the building –The Crystal Palace – in which the Great Exhibition of 1851 was held. Yet the exhibition wasn’t held in Crystal Palace; it was held in Hyde Park in central London. Confused? Don’t be.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations (phew) was conceived as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. It was an attempt to show the rest of the world how Britain was a clear leader in industry, and in the process stick two fingers up to the French after their highly successful Industrial Exposition of 1844. Plus ça change. After the exhibition, between 1852 and 1855, the park was created as a home for the relocated and rebuilt Crystal Palace, but tragically the building was destroyed by fire in 1936, leaving just the few remnants you can see from the photos.

That’s the Crystal Palace TV Transmitter in the background. 719 feet and the fifth tallest structure in London.

There’s plenty to see and do in the park. The boating lake. A maze. The famous Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – a series of extinct (and often inaccurate) animal sculptures that date from 1852. But it was the sphinxes that really drew me here on this day. It was about twelve years ago now, on my only previous visit to the park, that I sat beneath them holding the hand of a pretty red-headed girl with a kind heart. I’ve no idea what’s happened in her life since then, but a few years back I was surprised to be told she now lives just a couple of miles away from me. I keep that little bit of information wrapped up and tucked away at the back of my mind, but occasionally I take it out, just to see how it feels.

There are six sphinxes in all , and they’ve been there ever since the site was moved from central London in the 1850s. What surprised me however, is that they are now in much better condition than when I last saw them. And as you clearly can’t see from the photo, they’ve been painted terracotta. I’ve since found out they were restored last year, and analysis has shown that they were regularly painted up until about 1900, after which they gradually started to fall in to disrepair.

This dude was happy to ham it up for the camera.

And in the middle of the park, at the sports centre, they were playing beach volleyball. I took the photo just so I can tell people that I did indeed have a lovely day at the seaside, and no, I didn’t waste a glorious weekend wallowing in nostalgia and gravestones..