Super Embarrassing Newbie Question
First, the set-up.
In a couple of other threads I've been asking for help re: my first processing attempts. I was able, after some futzing around, to load 4 sheets of 2.75x3.75 into two of my Graflex film holders. I shot some quick shots in my front yard, overexposing by 1 & 2 stops due to the half-century age of the film. Next, I got the chemistry ready (HC110 dilution B, Kodak Pro Indicator Stop Bath, Kodafix) and down to 68F. Went into the laundry room with my film backs and Combi-plan and tried to load it. I finally gave up and sacrificed the first sheet, turned the lights on and realized the sheet fits in horizontally, not vertically.
Here comes the embarrassing newb part.
Is the emulsion side of the film the shiny side or the matte side? If it's the shiny side then I didn't really expose any of the sheets except the one I exposed to the laundry room light. I thought when you held the sheet with the notches in the upper right corner, you were looking at the emulsion side!!?? If I did load the film backwards in the holders, should I be able to flip them (in the dark of course) and re-shoot? I understand that I probably scratched the emulsion if they were loaded backwards, but this is just for practice anyway.
As far as I know the dull side of film is the emulsion. If you loaded the holders with the base side of the film towards the lens, you still exposed the film as the base will not block all of the light. You likely underexposed the film be about 2 stops compared to loading the film properly. Develop a sheet (I would recommend increasing the development by about 30-50%). You can adjust for the other sheets based on the 1st sheet.
With notches in the upper right corner the emulsion side of the film is facing you and this faces up as you load the holder. I have never worried about shiny side or not as loading etc is done in total darkness.
If you loaded them backwards then exposed them you will not be able to use them again as they have already been exposed to the light given during the shot.
Most films have an anti-halation backing that prevents much light getting through if you did load them backwards, but it would have got some therefore making them unusable.
Try again with some new sheets of films. Use the ones you just used as prcatice sheets for loading the holders and the combi tank.
Here is a link to an excellent site showing you how to load teh sheet film.
Let's clarify about the notches. Imagine you are at a table, facing directly at the table, and the film is flat on the table. To get the emulsion facing up (so that the base side touches the table) make sure that the short sides of the film are parallel to your sholders, and the notches are in the upper right. If the long sides of the film are parallel to your sholders, it will turn out wrong.
That's it Upper right. The shiny side is the back the flat dull side is the emulsion.
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As mwdake pointed out, the shiny side thing is a red herring. You can't turn on the lights to see it. Notches are what we all use to get it right.
By the way, don't be embarrassed. There is not a photographer here, especially those using sheet film, who has not done what you did, or a lot worse. Sheet film invites newbie disaster. And sometimes, we all still do stupid things with sheet film. Trust me on that!
"The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"
Depends on how you turn the film.
Horizontal - notch(es) are bottom right.
Vertical - Notch(es) are top right.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
And you are aware that the CombiPlan's rack is adjustable...
As they say, a picture (or in this case, diagram) is worth at least a 1,000 words.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
P.S. - Darn, the pictures don't show in the copied post
There's also an inherent curl to most sheet films, and if it's gently squeezed from both sides it will tend to fold with the emulsion side to the inside.
Also, if you're REALLY stuck you could lick your finger and touch the corner - the emulsion side will probably be a little more tacky than the back once the moisture has had a few seconds to penetrate.