If you missed part one, catch up here.
This post is written in multiple parts, over multiple days. I hope to capture my thoughts and feelings through the whole process. -B
Truth be told I’m a little bit nervous about this process. Its been so long since I’ve been in a darkroom, or even shooting film for that matter. I’m afraid of wasting materials, afraid of messing up something during the development process. Afraid even of possibly restarting a new addiction and time killer.
I decided recently that I wanted my shoot with Nicolette Emanuelle to be in both digital and film. Why both? Mostly because since I haven’t shot film in so long I want something to be able to submit at the end of our time together. And honestly I am doing it to cheat a little bit. Being able to shoot digital will allow me to lock in exposure settings to my likings and be able to actually expose the image. Not that I don’t trust my skills as a photographer, I’m admittedly a little rusty when it comes to analog work.
By the time this post goes live, I should have gathered all of the needed supplies I need to make the development happen. I don’t remember off hand, but I will try to get all of the prices listed here in case you want to try this yourself.
Developing tanks and reels: $40.00 on Craigslist. I know they may be cheaper elsewhere, but it was a matter of shipping and not having them, or spending a little more.
(I ended up with 3, but only 2 are currently functional)
Misc darkroom supplies: $25.00. Thermometer, can opener, graduated cylinders, distilled water, etc.
Washing Soda: $?.??. Bought this a while ago, Next time I remember to look while I am grocery shopping I will be able to update the prices.
Instant Coffee: $?.??. See above.
Vitamin C: 8oz bottle $8.99: from Amazon.com
Photo Fixer: Photographers’ Formulary TF-5 $10.95: Also from Amazon.com
I have two practice rolls of 35mm that I can use as test rolls. I am not worried so much about messing things up too terribly. However, its just the idea of something I have spent time and effort doing being so fragile for a tense 30 minutes. That is what gets me. I think I am ready. I hope I am ready. I have been reading, re-reading, and watching every video I can about Caffenol. Each one gives a little different recipe, and a little different process. I just hope that I can get it done right.
I got up early this morning and made my way into Johns Creek to visit a photographer that was liquidating her entire dark room. Hoping to pick up a few last minute supplies at a steal. Then I headed into Buckhead to pick up my reels from a jaded former art student. Hopefully my contribution will help him eat tonight.
After these little field trips I suppose I am ready to begin. I’m not working on too much of a time crunch, however I do want to get at least one roll processed before I go out with my girlfriend tonight. At least to get a test baseline done before shooting tomorrow for something that matters.
Starting with a single roll of 100TX that I shot about 4 years ago, if not longer. There lies another problem. I know none of these rolls have been properly temperature controlled. So who even knows if the emulsion is any good, or if any images are going to be present.
As I enter the darkroom I feel strangely confident. I have done this before. Its just like riding a bike. After fighting with the reel a little bit I had everything on and ready to go. I mixed my chemicals according to yet another recipe I found and even though I was told that the mixture smelled foul, it really wasn’t that bad. I did find however that I ended up with way too much after it was all said and done.
After a tense 17 minutes of developing and fixing I unloaded the reel and at first my heart dropped. I saw a lot of purple and white where it looked like the roll didn’t develop or perhaps everything stuck together. But upon closer look I saw we had images! After hanging them to dry I was able to get a better look.
After a little drying, scanning, and a little work in Aperture I was able to come up with one workable image on the first batch of negatives. I think that this could be the beginning of another way for me to destroy what little free time I have anymore.
Not too bad for a first effort eh?
Edit 11/05/2012: I completely forgot to post the recipe I was using.
5 tsp - Instant Coffee
2 tsp - Vitamin C Powder
4 tsp - Washing Soda
500 ml - Distilled Water
Develop 100TX for 11 minutes agitating for the first 30 seconds, and then for 30 seconds of each minute.
Fix for 4 minutes, agitating for the first 30 seconds, and then for 30 seconds of each minute.
Makes enough for 2 rolls of 35mm film in a double tank.
FOR SCIENCE! -B