Confessions of a first-time film developer

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by terri, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    So, I started my darkroom class last week. First assignment: go shoot a roll of Ilford HP5 (400) and come in on your own time and develop it. ALONE. :shock:

    I had my reservations about being flung to the wolves after only a 30-minute developing demonstration, but what to do? So I dutifully went out in 95 degree heat on my lunch hour and ran around Oakland Cemetery and fired off a quick roll.

    On Saturday I went to the darkroom and was happy no one was back there to witness my fumbling. :wink: Got everything lined up, spent a great deal of time on a 1:1 ratio of D76 and water at a perfect 68 degrees, just like my instructions indicated. Presoaked the film for a minute and dumped. Added my developer and was feeling smug - "This isn't so hard! Yeah! I got it!" which was right about the time of my first inversion of the tank, where I watched a huge slosh of developer go right into the sink. :shock: I'd forgotten to put the tank lid back on - NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! :puke-rig:

    I wasted a precious few seconds feeling humbled, stupid, and shocked. Then I collected what was left of my wits and grabbed a graduate and poured in 1/4 cup D76, which I already knew was at 72 degrees. I ran down the hall to the water cooler and added another 1/4 cup of cold water, and while I ran back I stirred it with the handle of the thermometer, which read 66 degrees. Close enough!! I dumped it into what was left, CAPPED MY TANK, and inverted several times, slowly and deliberately. I followed the remaining steps without incident, cursing my stupid move and believing I'd ruined the whole roll.

    Well, some of it was indeed plonk, and the reason is obvious:

    [​IMG]


    But in the middle of the roll it doesn't appear as obvious a screwup:



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    Nothing like the first time, eh???? :wink: I can't wait till tomorrow's lecture, when my stuff will doubtless be held up as a perfect example of what NOT to do! :LOL:
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I always keep an extra beaker/cup of plain water at temp available. You never know when you'll need it. I'd say that the uneven development comes from the run to the water cooler; the darker part of the image is the part of the neg left out of the developer for a min or so. If you have the extra water available you could pour it in quickly. Although the developer would be more dilute, it would still all develop evenly. Maybe add 20 or 30 sec of dev time. Of course, now that you've done it once, you'll probably never forget the cap again. :wink:
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    See, that's why I could have used an instructor by my side. I thought about just adding water right from the tap (it was around 70 degrees) but was too worried about the dilution factor, and in the end decided to let the time pass while I tried to make a "correct" ratio without too much temperature change. So, that's interesting to know. It was impossible to judge how much really sloshed out (seemed like a ton at the moment) :wink: and I could have used speedy advice.
     
  4. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    Yay, Terri! :cheer: It's your first roll, don't worry about it! Didn't you have fun anyway? :)
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Of course I had fun! It was a blast, really. :D

    But I'm this anal perfectionist freak, and I wanted to get it right the first time. It's sad, really. :wink:

    But thanks for the cheer. :p
     
  6. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    If it makes you feel any better, I opened up a canister today to find that it didn't actually have any film in it.
     
  7. Karalee

    Karalee hOtLiPs!

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    Thats a bummer..... funny, but a bummer :lol:

    If it makes you feel any better Terri, I wasted about 4 or 5 sheets of paper in the darkroom, exposing the wrong side of the paper. I put it in the developing tray and couldnt figure out why there was no image :oops:

    We all make our mistakes :roll:
     
  8. japmula

    japmula TPF Noob!

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    Yup! I would have to agree....we all have our first darkroom mishaps, but's it's all good....ya' learn from 'em...

    Hehe....I ruined a whole roll of film once b/c the lid I picked didn't have a back on it, so when I opened the little cap to develop, the whole roll got exposed. The really stupid part is I didn't even realize it until I was at the Fixing stage...Grrr....boy was I mad at myself!

    Mmm...what else?
    Even earlier on, I opened my box of paper when I first got it b/c I was so excited to see what photo paper looked like, luckily B&W is not as sensitive as color paper is and I didn't expose a whole not, but a vast majority had a black edges...hahaha. I still feel pretty stupid that I did that...but non one told me!! Hehe...
     
  9. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's always easy to feel stupid over mistakes, but when you're a newbie and no one's around to tell you - that helps ease the pain. :wink: I mean, there is no way to simply "intuit" some of this stuff.
     
  10. Karalee

    Karalee hOtLiPs!

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    Yeah but at least we get to learn from the mistakes, I doubt youll ever develop film without an extra beaker of water again. I know ill always print with the paper side up :lol:
     
  11. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    I can totally understand this tho. I recently got some new kinds of paper and I totally want to be able to see what they look like. It sucks having to wait until you use it first! They should include an already done test piece or something...
     
  12. japmula

    japmula TPF Noob!

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    lol.....yea! what a great idea! they should totally provide a sample! =P
     

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