Developed my very first roll of B&W film! Questions and my story.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by micwag2, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I want to thank once again all those here that have responded to questions and comments in my other threads to help me along with getting started. I wanted to try this for 30 years but, life circumstances never really allowed me the opportunity to have a go at it. Times have changed for me allowing me to pursue the things i have set aside for so long.

    For those interested in reading them here is where my previous thread is. http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/116475-developing-my-own-b-w-finally-full-strength-1-1-a.html

    So here it is. The day I have been waiting for. The wife is out of the house, the cat is sleeping, my motorcycle is fixed, and I still have some spare time. OK, developer mixed correctly, stop bath ready, fixer mixed to the correct ratio, and wetting agent ready. Great.

    Now let's get the film on the reel and into the developing tank. I'm developing a roll of 120 and will be using a patterson universal tank. Set the reel to the correct width and put it in the dark room bag with the film. Put my big arms into the arm holes of the bag......what the heck!? Why can't I put my hands on the tank? It's like it's in another section of the bag. Take my hands back out....oh....there's 2 zippers and i only put it in the first one. Jeez. Unzip both zippers and properly insert the tank and film. Ok, put my big arms back into the arm holes of the bag. I've never put 120 film on a reel before but, how hard can this be? After all, I read that with the Paterson reel you can "walk" the film on by moving the ends of the reel back and forth. That's what the little check balls are for. Take the roll of film and carefully start to unwrap the paper, ok found the edge of the film, this is it, I'm putting it on. Wait.... where on this reel do i start it? OK I can feel the area where the check balls are at.....no wait do I hold it this way? Or the other way? Damn this film is curled. Damn paper. Stuff is getting in my way. Crap, I almost had this thing started. I'm sure i can slide the film into the reel here. Got it! Crap it slipped out. Try again. This paper, and ugh, the curl of the film! I'll get this yet. Ok, got it again and........yes it's on! Carefully walk it on with the Paterson "walk your film on action" of this fancy reel! Damn Paper! What the!? Crap, the paper is taped to the film at the end. Really? Should I be surprised? I was wondering how they attached the film to the paper anyway. And now i know. Think I put scissorrs in the bag? No. Ok, carefull remove the tape. Seriously, did they have to use such strong tape or is it just me? Ok, film is on the reel and reel is in the tank. Out of the bag it comes. Success! And it only took 20 minutes. I can only improve from here.

    Got my D76 developing times chart seems good. Graduated cylinder with developer sitting in warm water to bring it up to temp, 70° perfect, 6 1/4 minutes developing time. Let's go! Ok in goes the developer. Crap how many times do i agitated this? I only read this 100 times already and i can't remember this? Oh yeah rap the tank dislodge air bubbles, air bubbles...bad thing. Rap Rap. Gently invert the tank for 30 seconds. A small amount of developer drips onto my hands...crap tighten the lid more, sheesh. Great now my hands itch. Thoroughly wash out graduated cylinder, measure out stop bath and warm it the same as the developer. Don't forget to invert the tank every 30 seconds!! Get the graduated cylinder of stop Bath out before it gets too warm. Invert the tank! Don't forget the tank! Do i need to rap it again? Eh, rap it again can't hurt i suppose. Rap, Rap. Ok times up! Pour out the developer and in goes the stop bath! Time....time, sheesh how long am i supposed to stop this for? Flick Flick Flick through my trusty NYI developing B&W workbook. Stop bath timing is not critical half a minute is usually plenty....so the book says. Wait til i put that on APUG and get different opinions on that, not that different opinions are bad. Focus! Agitate gently ok. Crap!! I forgot to warm the fixer! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Measure it, warm it get, it in! I put the stop bath in, do you have any time before putting the fixer in or does it have to go in immediately? What will happen if I let it sit for a minute or two? Aww heck, I don't know. Ok it's close enough I suppose. In it goes. Agitate for 30 seconds. Gently! Then 10 seconds every minute after that. Wait....how long do i fix this for? Book says manufacturers recommended time. Now where's that bottle? Ok label says "Dilute 1:3. Fix at 65-70°for 5-10minutes or twice the clearing time." Clearing time? What the heck is clearing time? What does that mean!? Must be another term for fixing time or time in the fixer. Heck i dont know. 10 seconds every minute! Agitate! Agitate! But gently please. Ok, back to how long am i fixing this? 5-10 minutes....twice clearing time? 6 1/4 minutes! Same as developer, at least that's my guess and i'm flying with it. After all none of these images may turn out anyway, i was testing the camera i used to see if it was working properly. I could post on APUG but it's a little late for that now. Ok out goes the fixer and it's wash time. Graduated cylinder with enough water to fill the tank, a few drops of wetting agent. In it goes for a few minutes. Gentle agitation. Off comes the lid and wash under running water. Damn this sink has no hot water. Wonder what the temp is coming out of this faucet? Got it! Mix some of the hot water in my warming container with the tap water. That'll bring the temp up! Pour it in swish and dump out. Did this for about 10 minutes. Ok washing is done, let's see what i got.

    After all that I am pround to say that indeed images have appeared on my film! I have acheived some level of success! Hmm, I'm working at setting up my darkroom but it's not ready yet. So how am i going to view these things so I can see how i actually did. Sure I can take them to the local camera shop and have them scanned but where's the fun in that? Let's see, my D70s with the slide duplicator? No, the negs aren't going to come close to fitting, no surprise there. Let me lay them on this white paper and take a picture of the negative and i'll see how it turns out. Not too bad. Not perfect but not bad either. What else? Since laying them on the paper seemed to work for a photo, I wonder how well they'd scan if i just put them on the glass of my flatbed scanner and scanned them? I don't have any film adapters for them but what have i got to lose? I was surprised at the scanning results.


    [​IMG]
    Test20001 by jmsnoopy650, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    Test20001edit by jmsnoopy650, on Flickr
    After inverting and using convert to black and white under the ehance button.

    [​IMG]
    Test20002 by jmsnoopy650, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Test20002edit by jmsnoopy650, on Flickr

    I think my exposure and focus was off on this one.

    [​IMG]
    test40001 by jmsnoopy650, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    test40001edit by jmsnoopy650, on Flickr

    Not sure if these were my exposure or developing. Opinions?
     
  2. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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  3. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Not a bad start. Youtube may have some good videos to provide learning by example.

    It's not a big deal to get a little developer dribble on your hands. Either have some clean water handy to rinse your hands in regularly; I dip-rinse my hands after every agitation just so I don't transfer any developer to anything else in the darkroom. The other option is disposable gloves.

    It's OK to err on the side of generous with fixing. If you fix for an hour you might go too far. Especially as the fixer diminishes in performance with re-use you can err on the side of caution. After 1 minute in the fixer, open you tank and inspect the film in normal light. It will be milky turning clear. That's how you see clearing time. With Kodak film, you don't have to spot on with temperature of non-developer chemicals and water. Some films you can damage the emulsion with temp changes. Part of Kodak's quality is resistance to this.

    The pink look to your film means you didn't rinse it enough. I'd refix it for another 5 minutes and then wash it for 30 minutes. I doesn't have to be continuous wash, just change the water every 5 minutes or so.

    You could make a black mask border and photograph the negatives with a macro lens up against a window to get a digital copy of them. You could also do cyanotypes if you want an analog process for printing that doesn't require a darkroom. If you don't like the blue, you can tone cyanotypes to another color.
     
  4. sbattert

    sbattert Member

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    Really? Isn't that risky... what if it isn't fresh? Fix can take a while if it's getting old. Best to do this with a test strip I would think.
     
  5. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I wanted the post to be as fun as i had doing the first time developing. Keep the replies coming, I like feedback.
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Continue to have fun! It's a great start. I like the first picture quite a bit.

    Work on your metering technique. Your negatives are underexposed. If you expose more, you may need to shorten your developing time a little bit, to avoid blocked up highlights.

    If you have a room in your house that you can make completely dark, you should learn how to make contact sheets. You need three trays for your chemicals, a flat surface, a sheet of glass, photo paper, and a light that you can switch on and off easily (like a 15W light bulb). That will tell you more about how you're doing with film developing than scanning ever will. You can still scan the contact sheets.

    Keep up the good work!
     
  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I've done it countless times. I start washing and putting away things while fixing is happening, and that includes the top parts of my combiplan tank and/or patterson tank.

    This respected guy exposes film to light at the end of the developing cycle putting them into stop bath; more than a whole step before my suggestion.

    http://www.viewcamerastore.com/servlet/the-2/BTZS-4x5-Film-Tube/Detail
     
  8. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    I support the cyanotype notion. Dirt cheap and nice, quick results. Just coat, give a whistle with the hairdryer till its dry and 5-10 minutes in sun, then after a wash its good. You can even coat and dry in somewhat dim ambient light.
     
  9. sbattert

    sbattert Member

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    Good to know... I'm still learning. So, once you wash off the developer, development is paused and light safe as long as it doesn't touch any more developer. I have always been afraid to check the negatives until I've fixed them. Now, prints on the other hand, I turn the light on after a minute in the fix.
     
  10. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    so do I.

    Anyhow, good first result. Getting the film onto the reel takes practice. I wasted a film to practice with, and still keep it to hand for a "rehearsal". The tape at the end isn't so bad. Just make sure its either ripped off or folded over or the sticky causes havoc.

    I use Ilford chems exclusively and their sheets on times, dilutions etc are easy to follow. The only really critical temp is developer. The stop and fix only need to be approx the same temp. I use a (slightly extended) Ilford wash system - fill the tank invert 10X, empty, fill the tank invert 20X, empty, fill the tank invert 30X, empty, take the lid off fill again with some flo. twizzle, take out cut - hang. Then a quick squirt from a squirt bottle with a little more flo mix. Clean negs every time now!

    To me the most fun is actually in printing, so try and get an enlarger and a space you can use as a dark room!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2013
  11. Fast

    Fast Member

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    Well written! Takes me back to the first time I did that. Terror, exhilaration, excitement.
     
  12. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Ah Ha! I knew I was not the only one to have this experience!
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Congratulations on that first roll...

    Not sure if you're looking for advice or merely company, but if it's the former:
    - you should expose your film more, probably one more stop on the first frame and about 2 or 3 more stops on the latter ones. The shadows are lacking detail.
    - you're maybe over-developing a little. This is usually due to poor temperature control (you should be well within 1C); you can adjust your development time if you're sure your temperature is right and consistent. This depends on how you intend to print and the lighting conditions you're in, so don't change your time just yet, just do a few more rolls and be very careful of temperature.
    - when inverting B&W scans, set the black-point no lower than the border density, i.e. the border of the negative should be completely black not dull grey. Otherwise your image itself will have no blacks.

    You might also get something from the FAQ in my signature.
     
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  15. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    You can test fix time without risking exposing the film to light. Snip off the 35mm leader, or a narrow piece of the end of a roll of 120 film, and test it in the light.

    Put a drop of fixer on the film. Wait about fifteen seconds. Drop the film into the fixer. Watch. When you can no longer see the spot where fixer got a head start, that's your clearing time. Double that for non-T-grain films, and triple it for T-grain films. If your fix time has doubled from what it was with fresh fixer and that film type, discard it and mix anew.
     
  16. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I've used Patetson reels for 40 years or so.

    Here is a simple trick that may help getting the 120 started on the reel.
    It gives the stiffness and guide to get the roll started in to the flanges...


    Cut a piece of the film box to be the same width as 120 film and about 2 or 3 inches long.

    Before you go in the darkroom or changing bag slide this piece of card along the reel tracks into the beginning of the reel but not past the little ball bearings. Now when in the darkroom or bag take your film and slide it along the card until it is past the ball bearings and pull in a bit more then remove the card and load in the normal way. You see the card acts like a guide and makes those springy films easier to get started.

    I most often reverse curl the first 1/2 inch or so of my film before loading to help with the springiness.
    I still have the same bit of card I cut out of a Fuji box a couple of years ago, I only replace it if it gets lost or too banged up.
     
  17. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Great Post

    Takes me back like it was only yesterday!

    And the excitement of those first negatives! Wow!! Look at that...there really are some pictures there!!

    Now...are they any good, how can I tell?

    Great stuff. Keep it up and you will feel like a pro in no time. That's when you'll screw something up and your precious negs will come back clear. What!! What the heck!!! What did I do wrong now? I thought I had this figured out?

    At least that is how it worked for me. I still mess up once in a while, just to stay in practice.

    Just wait till you try color. But it is great fun and I love every minute of it.
     
  18. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Great first attempt. I suggest you save a whole lot of time and use the Ilford washing method. It has worked for me for 27 years and no sign of deterioration in my first negs. Photo flo is a final rinse to aid even drying although I use Tetenal Mirasol, similar but also with a fungicidal property. Anyway, keep up the good work.
     
  19. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Always open to advice, but company is nice too. I did realize that they were under exposed. It was the first time using that particular camera and I wasn't paying attention to my settings. As far as inverting the scan, I just discovered that setting in photoshop elements. Set the black point? How's that done?

    This sounds interesting and I will most definitely give this a try. So is this what it meant on the bottle when it said "Dilute 1:3. Fix at 65-70°for 5-10 minutes or twice the clearing time."

    I knew there was a trick to this. I know what I'm doing next time. Thanks.
     
  20. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The Curves (or Levels, if you dont have Curves) dialogs are the best way to adjust your scans.
     
  21. fenderslash

    fenderslash Member

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    Ahh, your post takes me back to the nervous anticipation of my first roll. I was expecting everything to go wrong but to my amazement it all went well for me for my first development. From reading your great description I think the reason that my process went more smoothly in comparison was in the preparation. These are a few of the things I did to make the process run smoothly, and may help for your next go too...

    I did a lot of reading of forums and such, looking for any tips or traps to avoid, and I also got one of the old-timers from my photography club to show me one-on-one how to go about it prior to going solo. This meant I knew what to expect regarding the tape, scissors, etc. I reckon you've progressed past that stage though.

    I practiced loading the reel in daylight a few times with a sacrificed roll of film. I figured that a few bucks spent on one wasted roll of film for practicing may save me a few wasted films and lost images if I mangled the process in the bag when trying to do it for real. That meant that I knew exactly how to find the guide-slots in the reel, etc.

    This is the best tip I can offer: I typed up an easy step by step guide and printed it out to have alongside me during the processing. It just shows each step of the process, short and to the point, and how long to do each one for. At the top I also have a list of the individual developing times for the few films that I regularly use. An easy-to-follow checklist like this will avoid the panic mid-process. Even after plenty of experience I still keep the checklist there to follow every time.

    As I mentioned, my first go went great, and do did the next few. But I have to admit that after that I had a bad run of films that would get jammed part way while loading them on the reel, resulting in kinks and bends :whistling:
     
  22. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    Well written and well done! Yes, you definitely captured the anticipation of the first time...heck I still feel that wayl
     
  23. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    I've only just heard of this piece of card trick, and I'm going to give it a try, but having practised loading film straight on, I'm now fairly confident I can get the (120) film on the spool without any buckle marks every time. Sometimes it still takes a few attempts to get it started, but I'm getting better!. With a bit of practise you don't need bits of cardboard. 35mm is a doddle. Mind you, never tried a changing bag - it's much easier in a darkroom (except when you drop the film and it rolls away. Amazing how big a small darkroom can get when you are doing a fingertip search to find the pesky thing)
     
  24. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I just loaded my first roll of 120 film onto a reel the other day. I found it MUCH easier than 35mm! First, the roll is a lot shorter. Second, since its wound tighter, you don't get a slinky tangled mess if you drop the end. I just kept the lose end on my pinky and moved it in front of the reel while I was spooling to keep the film straight while it was going onto the reel. To get it onto the reel I just pinched the lead in my left hand and fed it into the tabs on the plastic reel by pulling, not pushing. So I was holding the reel with my right hand with the tabs facing right, and I "drew" the film across the reel. That way just felt more natural to me. I did fumble around for about 5 min. That beats the 30 min it took me the first time loading a roll of 35mm!
     
  25. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I pull it into the reel too. With fingers holding the leading edge of the film, it's easy to make sure it goes in straight.
     
  26. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    One point about adjusting over/under exposure when digitizing images. If you have a scanner with good software (like an epson) you can adjust the exposure when you scan it in...I think that works better than trying to change exposure on a jpeg in LR or Photoshop.