SOLVED: No exposure whatsoever
Okay, I hate to have to post this, but I'm at the end of the line here...
Friday night into Saturday morning, 6 inches of heavy snow fell that stuck to everything. The old painter, Bob Ross, would've loved to paint the scenes this created. What should've been a great weekend for an amateur photographer like myself has turned into a nightmare.
I spent several hours Saturday hiking around a lake/forest looking for scenes that I just couldn't do without. I "thought" I made 6 photos - which is a record for me since I'm so stinkin' slow at LF photography.
I could barely wait to get home and develop even one of my negs.
Once I got thru the dev process, I pulled the neg out of the tube, expecting to see the image I had made earlier in the day... and there's NOTHING. Not even a hint of an image. It's as if the neg had never even been exposed.
Darn it... I KNEW I should've made a backup neg. Oh well... at least this wasn't my favorite image. The next one however, turned out the same. And the next one, and so on. I'm 0 for 6 on this trip!
I decided I'd go out the next day and try to seek those scenes out again. I was fortunate enough to find one of the six. I made 3 exposures of the same scene... took 'em home... and the same thing - they're COMPLETELY blank.
I develop each negative separately using the same process I've used for a little over a hundred previous negs. I've tried two different 4x5 cameras (same lens though!). I've never had this problem before.
At first I thought maybe I had forgetten to pull the dark slide... but on 9 negs? No way. Then I thought it was my lens... but I always make practice shots just to test the shutter before I make the exposure, and always it sounds and looks good.
I'm at a loss here. Please make any suggestions you might have - maybe it's something simple that I'm doing in my typical absent-minded behavior.
Thanks for your time!
Last edited by bpm32; 01-11-2005 at 08:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: changed title
Could of course be several causes. Are you sure the developer you used was OK? What camera exposure did you use? Was it very cold at the time? Are you satisfied that the shutter was opening? Was the shutter making a normal kind of sound?
Sorry to hear of your mystery...after all that effort...I feel your pain!
If everything had remained the same (dev, film, shutter, dark slide), could you have loaded the film backwards in the film holder? Were the notches in the top right or bottom left? Maybe there's an Apugger out there who knows what happens when you try to expose through the anti-halation layer.
It will one day snow again and those lakes are going nowhere.
Are you using a film like Tri-x that has labeling on it? If so, did it appear on the blank sheets?
If not, pull a sheet out from the pack and snip off a strip and put it into some developer in a cup to see if it turns black.
Man alive - thanks everyone for your posts so far. This is indeed a great place.
I should've given a little bit more info in the first post - sorry 'bout that.
I'm using Ilford Delta Pro 100 (4x5). I developed it in ilfosol s at 68. I haven't used this developer a lot, but had for the last 30 or so negs. They always came out fine! (at least the development did.... the composition is another story. ) I mixed up a new batch of developer for this round of negs - I did discover the lid to the bottle of dev was not tight. As I turned the bottle on its side to read the label, the lid did leak just a very small amount out. The bottle had been sitting like that for app. 45 days. Could that have killed the developer?
I'm trying to recall what exposure my spotmeter called for metering on a gray card... something in the line of 1/2 @ f/32. (I might be off a bit on that - I don't have my notes with me.)
The temperature was around 30 degrees - nothing too cold I wouldn't think.
As for the shutter, I always look and listen carefully as to whether it's opening and if it sounds okay. I was happy with what I saw and heard during the dry fires... but I did not physically watch the shutter open while I was actually "exposing" the neg. It did sound okay though.
I kinda wondered about exposing the film if it was in backwards. The only thing that I'm scratching my head on is that I had preloaded a batch of about 20 holders at one time... 10 or so of which I had previously exposed and successfully developed. I was using the remaining 10 on this trip. I wouldn't have thought I'd messed up in the middle of a batch, but who knows.
Unfortunately, delta pro doesn't have labeling... or at least I don't think it does. I checked for that on other processed negs and didn't see any.
Again, I really appreciate your time in reading thru this, and am very open to any and all suggestions!
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You said your dev bottle was not tightly capped for 45 days. How full was the bottle? 3/4, 1/2, 1/4? Can make a difference. If the bottle was 1/2-1/4 and the air wasn't squeezed out, it could be toast.
Sjixxxy's suggestion of putting a strip of the film in a cup of developer is a good one. That will let you know for sure.
When I worked for Ilford (1974 to 1976), Ilfosol was known internally as "Ilfoslop". It used to be supplied in bottles which were full to the absolute brim, the reason being that it was acutely susceptible to oxidization. I tried Ilfosol at the time (I think Ilfosol S is a later formulation) and found it good if you cracked open a fresh bottle, but any developer left in a part-used bottle "died" within a day or two. I have not tried it since, so cannot say if it is still as susceptible to oxidization, but it could well be.
Another test for your own piece of mind might be to expose your lens/shutter to cold for the same length of time as you did the day the shots didn't come out. This could be achieved by leaving your camera bag in the car trunk. It is conceivable that the shutter is making, for example, a "1 second" noise in terms of whirring gears but without actually opening!
Exposure through the back of film generally produces a faint image rather than nothing at all.
I usually don't like to speculate before testing, but let's pretend it is the developer. I know a lot of people will say choice of developer is simply a matter of taste. I don't think I'm to the point of being able to differentiate the two devs I've used so far: kodak d76 for about 8 years (35mm film), then recently I recently switched to ilfosol s for 4x5. I liked the ilfosol b/c it was easy to mix... but if its shelf life isn't very good unless it's in a compressed bottle... what dev would you folks recommend?
Am I hijacking my own thread here?
I won't be able to test the film until tonight... maybe tomorrow... but I will definitely leave feedback as to what I find out.
I am sure you will get lots of different recommendations. Personally, I use Ilford ID-11. Kodak D76 is virtually the same but can be fierce if you mix it and use it straight away - good idea to leave it overnight. ID-11 and D76 become more active if stored correctly for long periods unused. There are many many exotic developers which I do not use but others swear by. Agfa Rodinal has the supreme virtue that it keeps even in part-used bottles seemingly forever, some people like the tight grain pattern it produces, like other developers it gives a compensating effect at high dilutions but may not give full ISO speed with certain films. If I could not buy any ready-mixed developer and had to mix one from raw chemicals, I would probably make some Ilford ID-2, which is great for sheet film but has not been available ready-made for a long time.
Lots of APUG threads on the subject of developers. There is also a lot of information in the APUG Chemical Recipes section.
Originally Posted by bpm32
A Vitamin C home brew that a lot of APUG people like is Pat Gainer's PC TEA. There are no shelf life problems with PC TEA!
Everything is analog - even digital :D