Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Acros 100 and how not to wipe negatives (vol 2)

So far my biggest issue has been drying negatives. I don't seem to be able to dry them without leaving any marks...
I thought this time to avoid the scratching I will use a tissue to wipe off the water. Bad idea. Tissue is fluffy, so leaves stuff behind and you can end up with this - lot's of small white stuff.

On another note. I have tried a new film Acros 100, which is a different speed compared to the usual 400 I use. It has been all sunny and bright in London, so I though I will try a less sensitive film. 

I have also being testing the Pentax MeSuper with a 55/1.7 lens which I got from a colleague of mine. So this was a completely new take. 

Well, the Pentax meter's brilliantly! The f 1.7 allows for pictures inside to be taken without tripods, flashes or long exposures. The one above has been taken in the office. No natural light whatsoever. 

I normally use The Digital Truth Massive Dev Chart and for some reason it doesn't have the development time for 35mm 100 ISO. Well, the 80 ISO was 11.5 min and my wise friend Natasha who was eager to learn how to develop said let's try 12 min. And so we did. 

The negatives look well exposed, and are not under or over developed. So the gamble paid off. Also the Acros 100 is a great film!There is virtually no grain visible, such a difference to the HP5 +. Must try it on available light portraits. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You live you learn

Just when I thought I got it right this time: almost no spilling around, metering correctly, right development time, etc. here comes my newly discovered 'not to do'.

One of the spirals I use is a bit sticky and of course I managed to get that one, as a result the film would not roll in properly as a result on a shot which otherwise would have been rather nice I get those white lines out of nowhere.

These lines appeared because I managed to bend the film while trying to wind it into the spiral... as a result I guess the chemical layer has been damaged.

On a positive note, I managed to get the reflection stuff right

as well this rather lively scene at Monmouth at Borough Market
and this duck family which I haven't seen before outside of the Globe at Bankside Pier.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How not to dry negatives and other misfortunes

With the confidence that I now know how to do it I thought this time I will develop the two Ilford HP5+ films together, in other words in the same developing tank.

So far so good. With a bit of spillage and mess since I didn't get everything mixed when I should have done so I got the films developed.

Opening the tank, first film looked ok. However disaster struck with taking out the second film. Now, films go into the tank on a small spiral. As a result the end of the second film, which was at the bottom of the tank on the inner side of spiral looked suspiciously dark. At first I thought I have accidentally exposed it to light, on a second thought I realized it was left under-developed! I used the amount of developer I should have however I should have left the films for may be another minute or so in the developer...

Well, since I couldn't fix it thought I will move on and put the films to dry. So there they were hanging in the bathroom and I knew that now I will fix the mistake from previous time and won't leave water marks. On comes the cloth and down it goes until I don't see any watermarks. Only to realize I have deeply scratched both films! 

Because it is a very thin layer of chemicals on the film even the smallest speck of dust can scratch it... and you will end up with this

Here is some of the underdeveloped film...

I have about 5 more exposures left in the Zenit which I need to finish this week, as well as the colour in the Smena. 

Points to remember: 
- meter properly
- do not wipe the negatives to death

Experiment #1

The first try after buying lots of chemicals, thermometer and all was with a half of Ilford HP5+ film that was left over from the course I did in January. I have used half the film so I had been left with more or less 16 exposures. 

So there we are. I am using R09 one shot developer which means I need to measure very small (like 7 ml) amounts of developer to mix with water. The tall bottle is the fixer and the black is a stop bath. These are easier as they can be mixed and re-used many times. The small amounts however mean I don't need to make complicated physics calculations when chemical is 15 degrees and I need to mix it with water at what temperature to make 20 degrees at the end...

What generally happens with film development: you need to mix a developer with water in certain proportions that depend on the film, than you develop the film in that solution for a certain amount of time which needs to be quite exact, than you poor out the developer and pour in the stop bath which is also mixed in proportions depending on the film and generally film stays in the stop bath a minute. Last one is the fixer which is same story as the developer and the stop bath and film stays in it for about 4-5 minutes. 

All this happens with a stop watch and ably pouring chemicals from one bottle to another watching not to spill too much around and importantly non over the iPhone!

With the first film I think everything went very well. 

Here are some of the scans

The first image is simply to show off. 

The second is a note how not to meter. It was a very sunny day and I was using a sensitive film (400 ASA), plus J had the sun in her face, so yes, crap metering and over exposure. Although it can be fixed later on. 

The third one is a note how not to dry negatives. You might be able to see lines running horizontally through the pictures. This is because when drying the negatives the water wasn't wiped properly and since London water is very hard it left marks on the negative. 

And since I thought that I will definitely avoid the same mistake with drying again I went and bought shammy cloth. What a disaster it was  (although I am not enitrely convinced the shammy cloth is the one to blame) is coming up next.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My cameras

I currently have four cameras: three film and one digital. The digital is a Nikon D60 and the film cameras are (left to right):
Zenit Em with a 44 mm lens, Pentax SuperMe with a 50 mm SMC lens and Smena 8 with an incomprehensable lens. :)

The Zenit is my dad's, the Pentax I got from a colleague who no longer uses it and the Smena came from a friend of my mum's after my desperate cry for long forgotten film cameras living in people's cupboards.

I usually shoot on the Zenit. I currently have a colour film in the Smena but because it has no built in meter and also the film advancement system is rather odd (you just rotate a button on top and there is nothing to stop you from rolling in the whole film) so I have no idea what is going to come out of it, but it is a toy anyways.

I am planning to get a colour film in the Pentax this week and go shooting on the weekend some of the blooming roses around town.


I will keep this simple and very much usual. I am Irina, I was born Bulgarian and currently live in London.
The first camera I ever used was my dad's Zenit EM which is still with me and takes beautiful pictures. I love photography and I have discovered the wonderful art of at home black and white development only now.
This is my dedicated place of sharing my experience, misfortunes and luck of developing black and white film at home. I am always happy to hear back, so if you like what I am doing, have suggestions, questions and simply want to say hi, please, leave me a comment.