Differential Drying Issues Part Two

Hi everyone, Azriel Knight here with an update to my darkroom dilemma.

First off I took everyone’s theories seriously, as you’ll see.

Many of you were able to offer suggestions for best practices and there was a lot of overlap, meaning you agreed with each other on most points.

I went through your comments and broke down each part of all your ideas, and here’s what I got for workflow suggestions, in no particular order.

  1. Use a blower to remove droplets, assuming it’s water drops causing the issue.
  2. Warm the air, or use a Drying cabinet, six of you suggested that, and I did a bit of research and you can make a cheap one from a garment hanger.
  3. Don’t use a squeegee. I also had a few people say, use a squeegee.
  4. Use a Salad spinner
  5. And six of you suggested photo flo, but no one could agree on the amount.

Two 30 second dunks?

1ml per tank?

5ml per 2 tanks?

Two drops to an already submerged reel?

A few said to avoid photo flo as well.

Other suggestions include chamois cloths, or an alcohol bath.

Again a bunch of great ideas, and I mean that, because you obviously get the results you want and are not getting these weird artifacts, there is more than one way to skin a cat, but my problem was if I change an entire workflow at once, that is, I adopt six new steps to my developing routine, I’ll never know what the issue was, so at first I tried to narrow it down.

I shot an entire roll of just the sky, to make the issue easier to see.

The negatives came out fine.  And for a split second I was so relieved. Until I realized I solved the problem without knowing what I did. Then I thought: well, what would happen if I mishandled another roll of film, could I reproduce the results?

Sidebar though I did discover my old HC-110 is giving me some really bad results, I may have to see if there’s crystals building up in the bottle, when I get a chance.

So I shot another 36 frames of the sky….yay.

You may be asking why waste an entire roll and unfortunately a small strip won’t tell me if something is wrong, if the issue is streaking or drying.

After I developed this roll I took my gloves off, which I left on for over an hour while I scanned the previous roll, and mishandled the ever living shit out of the film. Before hanging it up and jamming my thumb on a couple frames for good measure.

Before I hung these, I checked both rolls to see if it was there before drying, it was not.

After drying I scanned them, and boy, they were filthy, and though the crescent showed up, that little dot in the middle did not.

I have to laugh, now that I want them to come back, they won’t!

Back to the window, 36 more sky shots, and another roll developed. This time I used fixer that had previously been used to make RC prints, which I thought was the issue originally because someone said the unused silver latches on and eats your film. Plus the first time I switched away from it, the problem went away too.

Aaaaand these came out perfect. Just a couple spots on the whole roll. What is going on?!

Well, you can imagine this is pretty demoralizing. Especially since I shot another roll and it reared its ugly head again.

So I bit the bullet and gave up on the idea of pinpointing which step was needed and created a best practices based on items I already had. I am 2 rolls in and so far so good, fingers crossed. Here’s the new routine, starting after fixer.

  • Using a hypo clearing agent as directed.
  • Ilford’s wash method with distilled water.
  • Photo flo 200 with amount as directed, maybe a little less. I use distilled water, prepare it separately, mixing thoroughly with a glass stir stick, and gently pour, avoiding bubbles the whole time.
  • Agitate lightly for 45 seconds with agitation stick, pour out.
  • Shake off reel vigorously, removing any loose water.
  • Place in salad spinner for 45 seconds and hang to dry.


Though I am not married to this idea, so far it has worked. Could I avoid photo flo and go straight to the salad spinner, probably, but this is the plan I came up with that is as close as I could come to following everyone’s advice at once.

I just wanted those things off my negatives. I have a hunch that some films are more prone than others but more testing is needed before I throw any one film under the bus.

Thanks for checking this update and stay classic!