Thursday, May 01, 2008

Archaic Processes

This is the system for processing the film. The film is developed in a Paterson daylight tray. The dish can be seen in the photo. It was originally bought to process colour prints back in the 80s but I've amended it for film. The tray has holes for pegs (long since lost) which allow you to process 4 5x4 prints or sheets of film. I have replaced them with bits of plastic carved out of golf tee pegs.

Originally the inside of the dish was very smooth and the film stuck to it and did not move. This is all well and good but it sticks so well that the chemicals do not get to the back and so the anti-halation layer wasn't cleared so I stuck waterproof tape on it to break the vacuum.

Loading the dish is easy in a dark bag because once film is in a slide its obvious which side is which and you just load it same side up as in the slide and clip on the lid.

I am hoping to use pyro because of its period feel and have chosen FP4 because it is the closest I can get to an old fashioned emulsion. I don't mix my own chemistry at present and the pyro is made up from a Retro Photographic kit.

The dish only takes 120mm solution so the developer is being used 3mm Stock A 3mm Stock B to 150mm water at 21 C. Standard time is 7mins but I have tended in the past to use 8mins to get more shadow detail. Those negs have printed about grade 3. I say about because I tend to split grade on multi-grade paper.

Its hard to measure small quantities so I use a syringe.

The plan this time is to see if I can match to grade 4 FB so I have over exposed 1/2 stop and pulled to 6 min.

The processing goes as follows.

Water bath to pre wet the film and remove so anti-halation. I started using this after I got developer streaks at first and have not tried omitting it since so I don't know if its needed but...

Pyro 6mins

Water 1 min

Alkaline Fixer 4min but I do this in the light and watch for it to clear

Repeat pyro for 1 min - with the used dev - I might try omitting this step because I am getting a bit of fog.

Wash in running water etc...


The deving is done with everything in a tray in case of spills. Pyro is toxic and I don't want the full Weston experience brown fingers and all so I wear gloves.

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