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Thank Heavens For Small Mercies....

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by , 07-02-2010 at 03:10 PM (1435 Views)
So, this is my first blog post in a while and it begins with a warning as well as an introductory story. So here we go...

The warning is that I am an idiot, and I am occasionally a bit forgetful in ways of darkroom procedure. It comes with the ADHD. So, for those of you who are hyper anal about darkroom perfection, look away NOW!

The story is this: I recently finished high school (praise JESUS, even if I am a Jew), but with crunch time approaching, there was little time to myself to do anything enjoyable, like take photos or develop my ever increasing backlog of B&W film. Promptly after the end of school, it was off to New York to relax for a little. Now I am back and finally starting to clear out the film backlog, starting yesterday. I set everything up. I got my changing bag and spooled up a roll of Ilford SFX 120, I cooled down my water to 68 degrees (20C for those of you in the civilized world), I mixed up a batch of Rodinal, poured a beaker of 500mL of Rapid Fix. I did my pre-wash and developer, and everything was going rather splendidly. But then, in the final minutes, the shit hit the fan. Having realized I forgot to check my fixer, I dropped in a small piece of 35mm film and panicked while pouring out the dev and pouring in the stop bath. Of course, Murphy's Law being in play, the damn Rapid Fix was dead. There's my panic story. I told you hyper-anal darkroom people to look away!

The part where small mercies come into play is that, because I use pyro developers a lot and believe that using an alkali fix is genuinely better for pyro, I had a jug of TF-4 in my closet. I checked it while doing my stop and it was fine, and while I didn't have time to cool it down to 68 degrees, at least my film got fixed and therefore saved. But, I have learned several lessons from this.

1) TF-4 keeps longer than Ilford Rapid Fix, as both were mixed on the same day and used on a more or less 50/50 basis. So, while it may or may not be needed for pyro devs, it certainly saved my ass.
2) Never develop film five minutes after waking up from a nap, while jet-lagged. There simply aren't enough concentration juices in your brain to work with chemicals and do processes that are time and temperature based.

Lessons learned, sorry film.


  1. bsdunek's Avatar
    Heck, some of us can make those kind of mistakes when we're not jet-lagged. It's just that I hate to lose a roll of film, as you do also.



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