This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Developing Heavy Shadow Lightings. In developing shadow lightings, in portraits or views containing dense shadows requiring detail, you must strive for clearness of the shadows, and softness of the highlights. This is controlled before development by the amount of developing agent that you are using. If you find the highlights building up strong - becoming dense, practically no half-tones showing in them - reduce the strength of your developer by adding water. Oftentimes if the exposure is short, place your negative in a tray of fresh water. If the negative is very much under-timed prepare a new developer, using one-half the amount of the developing agent (pyro), the regular amount of carbonate and sulphite, and double the amount of water. Generally this formula for universal developing, if the lighting and exposure have been anywhere near correct, will develop properly without altering.
Developer Discoloring After Having Been Prepared Only A Short Time. If the water you are using in your pyro stock solution is strongly alkali, it will cause your stock solution to discolor quickly, and it might be necessary to acidify the water, neutralizing it, before preparing this stock solution. This you can do by adding a few drops of sulphuric acid. But first test the water with blue and red litmus paper. If the water turns the red litmus paper blue, you will know that it is strongly alkali. If, however, it does not change the color of either litmus papers, you will know it is neutral. If the water does turn the red litmus paper blue, then you will need to acidify it by adding a drop at a time of sulphuric acid until it becomes neutral.
344. When you have neutralized the water, then add in addition the amount of acid given in the formula; finally add your pyro. Keep your pyro stock solution in a tightly corked bottle, if possible, a brown or yellow bottle, and store in a dark, cool place. When you are preparing for developing, first pour your pyro solution in the graduate, next add your sulphite, then your carbonate. All stock solutions should be shaken before using, especially the pyro stock solutions, (so as to keep the acid thoroughly mixed with the pyro.) If your stock solution does not discolor rapidly there is no necessity for neutralizing the water.
Negatives Drying With A Coarse Grain. This is sometimes due to the carbonate of soda being too strong, or prolonged development, or if the negative is gray and grainy your sulphite is also too strong. Reduce the strength.
Shadows Fogging During Development. This trouble is generally found in under-exposures where you had altered the developer by reducing the amount of pyro, thereby producing a developer too strong in sodas, both sulphite and carbonate, more especially, however, carbonate. The latter if used in excess of a sufficient amount to nicely balance the developer is sure to fog the shadows. Extreme underexposure requiring prolonged development is also apt to fog the shadows. In such cases immerse the entire plate after fixing in a weak red prussiate reducing solution. This will clear it.