Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
1. I'd like to know what chemicals, film and paper people started out with - the first stuff you used. Chemicals include film and print developers, fixer etc.
Agfa APX 100 / 25 and Agfa Rodinal in 35mm.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
2. In reference to the above, how did you come to start out with them? eg: Were you taught by somebody? Did you read about them in a book? Were they the materials your favourite photographer used? Were they simply the materials available to you? Etc.
They were the most practical and economical materials available to me at the time.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
3. If you are not still using the materials you began with, why? Did you read more and want to try stuff? Were you disatisfied with what you were using? Did certain materials become unavailable? Did you get caught in the search for magic formulas, films etc? Did your style change?
Agfa went out of business, as you know. I went on a frenzy and tried tons and tons of different films and developers, thinking it would take me to some place of higher knowledge. It ended up in a huge mess with terribly inconsistent results. A couple of years of difficult to print negatives. Then I ran across Tri-X and Pyrocat. Fine fine combination that I used together with FP4+ for a few years, until I started having developing problems. Enter Edwal 12 and Xtol, which is where I'm at today, still with Tri-X, but sometimes TMax 400 and FP4+ if I shoot landscape or something needing more resolution.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
4. Have you come full circle with anything? For example in the case of film developers, did you start out with D-76, then explore everything from D-1 to FX-whatever, and ultimately end up back with D-76? Same question applies to films, paper, paper developers.
Today I feel as though I have a balance. I have learned to use my tools well enough that there are very few surprises for me come printing time. My process is reverse engineered based on the paper, and my waste pile in the darkroom is much smaller, making the printing more enjoyable, less wasteful, and less frustrating. The paper I circle everything around is the MGIV fiber, not the warmtone, although I do use it sometimes. With Ethol LPD replenished as developer, which is soft working, I need pretty bold negs to print well, so that's what I do. It's a lot of fun.