My first attempt at processing...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by sangetsu, May 14, 2009.

  1. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    4x5 Format
    ...was a success!

    Last month I picked up an old Wista 4x5 camera and a couple of lenses at a junk shop, and ever since I picked it up, I was wondering what kind of pictures I could take with it. I cleaned up the camera, replaced the light seals, bought some film holders, a loupe, and spent many hours reading about large format photography and film processing.

    Yesterday morning I finally got out and took a few pictures at a nearby farm. It was a beautiful day to be out; sunny, warm, and many flowers about. A couple of old farmers turned up while I was setting up my camera, and they asked me several questions about how everything worked. I explained as best I could (as I don't know very much about it yet), but they seemed impressed.

    As I didn't have a light meter, I used my Nikon D300 to take readings. I had brought only 3 film holders with me, so I ended up shooting 6 photographs. I would have brought more gear, but I moved to Japan last year, and I haven't yet bought a car. I have to carry my gear everywhere in a backpack, and the farm I was photographing lies on a hilltop (2 miles of steep climbing) in the foothills which overlook my city.

    Anyway, when I got home, I set up my "darkroom", which consists of 4 plastic trays, a thermometer, and an egg timer. I set up the trays in my bathtub, as my Japanese apartment is very small, and has no other place where I can work.

    Fortunately for me, my apartment was at exactly 20 degrees c yesterday, and the water from my tap was the same temperature, setting up the trays and chemicals was simple, and easier than I expected. I turned off the lights and went to work.

    The instructions on the Ilford box (Perceptol) said that gloves were required to protect one's hands. Unfortunately, I couldn't really feel the film well with the gloves, and shuffling the sheets properly was not possible. I took off the gloves and found the going much easier. Japanese bathtubs are kind of deep, so I had to reach down pretty far to get my hands into the trays.

    I kept shuffling the film in the dark, and was beginning to wonder if my egg timer was broken when the alarm finally went off. I transferred the film to the stop bath (water), and so on.

    When I turned on the lights, I was actually surprised to find that the negatives had clear images on them. So far so good. I rinsed them and hung them on a clothes rack under the shower.

    This morning I took a closer look at them with my loupe, and I was surprised at how well they turned out. I won't know for certain until I scan them, or get prints made, but for the moment I am very happy with the results.

    I'm already planning where I'll take my camera next...
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Jun 21, 2003
    Multi Format

    i know what you mean about not being able to feel the film
    when you are shuffling them in your tray, AND that it does
    seem like an endless toil until the timer "dings" ...
    in the end when you see the negatives it all seems worth it :smile:

    congratulations on your first experiments, and best of luck with the next ones!

  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Dec 31, 2006
    Medium Format
    Congratulations. Your technique sounds just fine. One thing: you said you "rinsed" your negatives. They should be washed properly if you did not do it. You can go back to them do rewash them without harm.
    As an amateur and as a working pro, I souped many a negative in the bathroom in total darkness.
    If you need "company" in the dark, record some music, with your voice giving timings as voice over and play that instead of using your egg timer.
    Once again: congratulations. Have fun.
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

    Dec 30, 2005
    Two inches to the left
    Multi Format
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/ Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/

    Way to go, sangetsu. There'll be no turning back for you. You made your D300 right jealous. Now, get around to contact printing.