First time developing.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by McFortner, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    Well, I got the sodium thiosulfate today so I was able to try my hand at developing film with caffenol. I still gotta get a hang on the developing times. I think I'm developing just a little too long at 20 minutes. But since it was expired film and the pictures were taken with the knowledge that I would be experimenting with them, it didn't go too bad.

    [​IMG]

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    Michael
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'd say there's some fogging, some uneven development, or some effects from badly expired film going on. Clearly you've got images, which is a good first step. If you want to do more traditionally "normal" B&W, I'd suggest switching away from Caffeinol and using in-date film as first steps. If any of the unevenness or splotchiness remains, then you should try to track down the cause.

    Of course, if you want the odd results you got for artistic effect and don't want the boring old "normal" look, keep doing what you're doing! :wink:
     
  3. David William White

    David William White Member

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    I'm not competent to comment on the chemistry, but just wanted to say I really like the last photograph with the radiometer in it.
     
  4. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    From what I'm reading on the net about caffenol, I've been way overdeveloping it at 20-30 minutes. Apparently, the best results for others is happening at about 10 to 12 minutes of developing time. As soon as I finish this small test roll, I'll try it at about 10 minutes and see what I get.

    Michael
     
  5. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Michael before you switch around, I think you may want to decide in your own mind what "best results" means to you. It's really tough at first but
    I'd recommend looking at the photographs of others that you admire before deciding how you'd like your photographs to look. If you can get to a few galleries to see the photos "live" so much the better. Understand that how your images look is subject to many many variables - the film, the meter, the developer, the paper, the processing temperature, your personal processing technique etc. etc. To achieve your personal "goal" you must change only one of these at a time to determine the effect. Then, if that's not what you're after, you can work out which other of the variables you need to change. APUG can certainly help you with this - trust me, there's no shortage of opinions in these here parts!!

    This in no way means abandoning your personal artistic expression - it just means finding the materials and technique that will enable you to attain your expressive potential in a predictable and repeatable manner. Lucky accidents are wonderful but you don't want to find yourself held hostage to serendipity.

    Bob H

    PS - I too love the still life. Well seen!
     
  6. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    I also
     
  7. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    ******
    I agree with BobNew York. And I would make a specific suggestion. Get a fresh roll of the film. Meter accurately. Develop the film "by the book" in D76. That way you will have bench mark negatives developed in the world's film- developing standard against which you can compare your caffenol, or whatever esoteric or off-the-wall film developer you might opt to use.
     
  8. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    My version of Caffenol McF. Opinions?

    Ok, here is what I'm going to try for today's test roll (Illford XP2 400). I'm going to keep my fixer time at 10 minutes, but shorten the development time. I think that is what is causing my negatives to be way dark. Your opinions are welcome. Right now I have my two part mixture cooling to room temperature (70°F right now).

    ----

    My Caffenol Formula (Caffenol McF)

    16 fluid oz of warm water
    6 teaspoons coffee
    4 teaspoons washing soda
    1 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C)

    Mix coffee and asorbic acid in 8 oz warm water.
    Mix washing soda in 8 oz warm water.
    Allow both to cool to room temperature (~70°F)

    Mix both mixtures together and allow to sit for aproximately 5 minutes to
    allow for bubbles to disapate. Pour into developing tank. Develop for
    10 to 12 minutes.

    --

    My sodium thiosulfate fixer

    2 l warm water
    2/3 cup sodium thoisulfate penta

    Mix and allow water to cool to room temp. Use once at approximately 10-15 minutes (test with tongue of film till clear, then double time for film)

    ----

    I may buy some K76 or similar developer when I have the money. But I'm also having fun with the Caffenol too. The last batch I did I over developed and had no ascorbic acid in it, but the last photo really was interesting, as were the others on the roll. I'll post them when the net is more favorable for me to upload. Lots of problems between me and where I store my online photos yesterday and today.

    Michael

    p.s.: Pardon the name I picked for my formulation. It's not like others and I don't want to use designations when I am not following them 100%.
     
  9. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    The roll is drying now and it appears that I was overexposing the previous rolls. This roll looks more like negatives should at 12 minutes! I'll scan a few in in a couple of hours when the film has had time to dry out totally. Man, I'm really pumped about this. I love developing my own film! :smile:

    Michael
     
  10. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The only accurate way to determine if your film development yields the results you desire is to print the negatives. The stain in these will cause them to print with more contrast than an unstained negative. This can be good or bad, according to your vision and desired outcomes.
     
  11. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    Well, the negatives are dry. The cheap point and shoot I had the roll in doesn't have the sharpest lens out there and it has no way to adjust the shutter time, so I lost some detail. But I think I'm close to having the developing time right at 12 minutes. I'll let y'all look and tell me what you think. I've only managed to get 2 shots uploaded so far. The internet is so slow on my end the last few days. Lots of router problems here in Georgia haven't really helped. I keep timing out trying to upload.

    I've converted these to b/w in hopes of getting more detail, but I don't think it helped a lot but it makes them look more "traditional".

    The Norfolk Southern RR Signal Shop in town:
    [​IMG]

    And a shot of the lake in my subdivision.
    [​IMG]

    These negatives didn't come out as dark as the last ones. I could actually tell they were negatives without using a strong backlight.

    C/C welcome.

    Michael
     
  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Well, Michael, you've got pictures.
     
  13. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    I'll probably keep using the Caffenol for more "artistic" photos, but I am planning on buying some commercial developer. The good thing about all of this is that I have gotten confidence in myself that I can develop my own negatives at home without any major problems. Plus, I enjoy doing it! :D

    Michael
     
  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    PM Toffle. Tom wrote and article or the magazine and has been developing in Caffenol for a long time. Course, being around to help God name dirt, I guess he would have had to get around to it eventually. ;P
     
  15. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Alas, despite the pitiless goading from Chris, :tongue: I have little to offer on the subject. I've always been too much of a chicken to try coffee on my films, but I use it regularly in my paper developing. If I ruin a print or two it's no big deal, but if I spoil a roll of negatives, I'd end up kicking myself. If you want to see my results with printing, they are hidden somewhere on my mess of a website.

    Your images work well within what you are trying to do, and you have a real keeper in the window display shot. (I'm at the stage where I hope for a real keeper every two or three weeks... :D ) I'd suggest you continue your experiments, keeping an eye on the variables, and in the process hopefully finding a process that gives you consistent and satisfying results.

    Cheers,
     
  16. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    I checked out Photography (6th Edition) by London and Upton yesterday because of the section on developing film interested me. I was reading it before bed last night and it appears that I may be over fixing my film in the latest roll and "erasing" details in my photos instead of it being a problem with the camera used. I think I have the developing time pretty well down at 11 minutes, so now I just have to get the fixing time down.

    But I am having fun now. Experimenting with chemicals that aren't very dangerous and playing around with my cameras sounds like good times to me. And at least I've got a developer and fixer that are pretty cheap for me to experiment with!

    More pictures to come when I shoot off another short roll of film. In fact, I'm about to get the bulk reloader out and roll another 10 shot roll now.

    Michael
     
  17. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Fixer time is easy - take the film leader that you snip off to load the film on the developing reel and drop it in your fixer. Time how long it takes to clear. Your fixing time is twice, (some say three times) that clearing time. To check how your fixer's doing, when the clearing time doubles from that of freshly made fixer - toss it.

    Keep up the enthusiasm Michael. With luck it'll never desert you.

    Bob H
     
  18. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I think in order to reduce details you need to leave your film in fixer for a very long time. For example if you processed a roll of film and left it in the fixer overnight then maybe. If your fixing time is supposed to be 5 minutes and you leave it in for 10 minutes or even 20 minutes, there shouldn't be any loss of image detail.

    Use the clearing test. Snip off the leader, put a drop of fresh fixer on it, wait 30 seconds, drop it in a tray of fresh fixer, start timing, when you can't see where you put the drop, that's your clearing time. Fix for twice that, with films that are "hard to fix", like Tmax, give it 3 times. Make a note of the clearing time. When you start a session in the darkroom, repeat the clearing test, if the time to clear is over twice that of fresh fixer, your fixer is pooched, pour the fixer into your spent fixer jug and make a fresh batch. First thing you do with your fresh batch is the clearing test. Clearing time with a fresh batch of the same fixer should always be roughly the same. If the normal clearing time is 45 seconds and your new batch is 40 seconds or 50 seconds, close enough, if your last batch was 45 seconds and your new batch is say 2 minutes, the batch is suspect, so try again.