Film number 2

April 9, 2019

I glossed over some errors in the last post about my home developing experience with my first film. While happy with the results. And I mean the happiness associated with the realisation that I took a photo, developed it and wasn’t faced by a blank piece of emulsionless film. I did make a couple of beginner’s errors I think (know). Having read and watched how to load a film into a developing tank reel on numerous websites and ignoring the advice that it’s worth getting an old film and practising, I managed to crease and I think scratch the face of a section of the film getting it out of the canister and when it all got kinked rolling onto the reel. It’s true though, it’s easy to do just don’t ignore the advice to practise first. The actual developing process itself went smoothly despite slight panic when I realised my phone had locked during the first stage and the surgical gloves I was wearing disabled the use of the touchscreen to restart the next stage of the handy timer app I was using (facepalm). I had read about the use of a wetting agent in the last washing stage enabling the film to dry in a nice clean even manner. The mix of this agent to water is something like 1 to 200. I of course added more as there’s no way to measure it to that degree so a quick squirt from a syringe I found in one of our dog’s medicine boxes was my method of application. Now, whether it’s the use of too much wetting agent or the fact we have incredibly hard water is to blame I’m not sure but I ended up with some big white water marks across the whole film. I’ve since read that you can clean them off with a PEC pad, which I use to clean my equipment anyway and a small amount of IPA so I might revisit them at some point. Part of the developing kit was a pair of film squeegees to aid drying the film. They are like a cross between a pair of tongs and a window squeegee which you grab the hanging film with and literally run down it removing the water drops. With mixed reviews online as to whether you risk scratching the film or if they are safe to use I opted to ‘what the hell lets give the a go’. This reckless act may be responsible for slight scratching along the length of film. I’m not 100% sure if it was this or the reel loading incident before.

This second film was much better. I was more relaxed knowing what to expect, I had read that black and white developing was not too to-the-second time time critical. This calmed me down a bit more. I had also bought a darkroom timer with proper plastic buttons workable with gloves on! I am now an expert (ha!) at loading film onto the tank reel. I used deionised water with just one drop of wetting agent for the last wash and didn’t go near the film with those pesky squeegee tongs. I simply ran my gloved fingers down the film to get rid of most of the drips and left the film hanging in the bathroom with an open window to dry. Still a couple of marks but greatly reduced. I’ve read you can use a chamois cloth too so might try that next time.

Again I’m happy with the results, beyond the magic of practising this wonderful process I had wanted to do for so long but actually pretty happy with the results too. Similar subject matter to the last film I’m afraid, apologies if its too similar to the last. Another roll of Ilford HP5 400. More dogs, fields, girlfriend (starting to avoid me with a camera now)…. And some cool light leaks where I opened the camera back when I thought the film was completely rewound dammit! Every day is a school day..

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