The agony, all for LF. Oh yeah, my first sheet film too
Well that was pretty simple. I was expecting scratches galore, uneven development, etc. But it looks like the only things lacking in the 2 sheets of film I developed is the subject matter, composition, focus, etc. First though, I have to explain my LF situation at the moment. I am currently borrowing an old Burke & James monorail 5x7. This is one of the most beat up things I have seen, but it is functional. The ground glass holder is broken, so the glass is taped in there. I literally tore my hands up when I was trying to turn the knobs to get this thing to focus. The movements don't really work, the camera just wobbles all over the place. I didn't have a true focusing cloth, so I used a towel, that didn't really work very well. Then the next lovely feature of this beauty is the lens. The lens is a fabulously wonderful uncoated Kodak Anastigmat f/6.3 (by the way I'm being extremely sarcastic). The shutter is broken on the lens, it is only firing at about 1/100sec, no bulb either. But since it is an old lens the shutter release is a lever, so I can manually keep the shutter open. So when I'm focusing I have to have one hand on the lever and one hand on the knobs, this means my towel keeps falling off. Then after I think the image is in focus I stop down to f/45, cock the shutter, put a lens cap on, insert the holder, and pull out the darkslide. I then go ahead and release the shutter, catching the lever half way open, I wait for the second hand on my watch to get to 56 sec. I then take off the lens cap and make my 4 sec exposure. I then repeat the whole process with an 8 sec exposure. I was tired of all the hastle, so I pack up and head home.
At home, I set up my trays; water, Rodinal 1:50, water, and TF-4. I turn out the lights, turn on the music, and go ahead and develop the sheets (Arista.EDU 200 in Rodinal 1:50 for 10:30). After 3 min of fixing I turn on the lights... and wow there's an image, or wait... both sheets have images! I haven't been this excited since I developed my first roll of 35mm (and I still get pretty excited each time, but there was something more exciting about seeing the giant 5x7 negs in the tray). So after staring at the sheets for the entire 5-8 min wash, I put them into another tray of photo-flo, and then hang them up to dry. The negs are tad thin, but I didn't see any scratches or uneven development, so they are printable.
Once the negs are dry I'm going to go ahead and scan one of them. And then I plan to make a couple work prints on Monday, which will also be the first time I have ever done contact printing (excluding making proof sheets).
So that's my story, my first time ever developing sheets in trays. And just think, I still have 23 sheets left until I have to give back this "lovely" camera. I do have to say, though, this really makes me want to make the jump to 4x5 or 8x10. I can already imagine using a camera/ lens that actually works the way it was designed to... oh wow I can hardly wait. My next paycheck starts the beginning of Grant's LF savings fund. -Grant