Dark smudges on skies in negatives and other marks
This may seem like a silly question, so apologies in advance. I've been getting all sorts of different markings on my B&W since I've began home processing...considering switching back to lab processing for consistency. One marking I notice that occurs from time to time are dark blobs on the skies in photos. I can't tell if it is just a gradient of the normal sky, or if it is a marking of some sort. It appears on the negs and scans. The rest of the sky is usually a flat overcast, which is why the darker pigment throws me off.
Another thing (this one happening more often) are random lines and markings. I'm assuming these are scratches, but would like to confirm so I can pinpoint the issue and prevent it. Here's a somewhat obvious example of it.
The odd thing is, I always read how liberating home processing can be and how much better your photos end up after you've gotten the hang of things. It's been the exact opposite for me; my photos technically aren't worse, but they're more annoying to edit and there seem to be endless frustrations. The benefit of getting the processed negatives back is negated by the fact that I tend to put off processing as I hate getting into the groove and setting everything up. I want to enjoy home processing and be happy with my negatives, but nearly 6 months in and nay. I've got some important stuff coming up this summer and am wondering if it's worth the hassle anymore. But, if you've read my previous threads, you will probably already be familiar with this thought of mine (although I did take a bit of a hiatus from apug).