447 words on Black and White
As I indicated on Sunday Claus had brought the last tool I needed to develop the black and white films I used in South Africa in spring. Somehow getting all the tools, advice and chemicals together took a long time – but eventually I managed.
As these were the first films I developed myself, I was a bit nervous about the whole process. Getting the film out of the capsules without damaging them, getting the chemicals right, not spilling them on myself or anything else, not ruining the photos by some other accident and so on. Luckily it turned out that being nervous was unnecessary. Using what I learned at the photo course in January and a little booklet I found on the web made things go smoothly.
The first step was to get the films out of their little cases of course. As I’ve started taking photos at quite a young age, and have known that films have to be carefully protected from light, I was always fascinated by those little metal tubes containing the film. So small yet so solid. I’ve never had a problem with one letting light in and destroying a film. With that background, I imagined that getting the film out of its case must require a lot of force or dexterity. But it doesn’t. A quick move with a bottle opener and the little sucker is opened. Disappointing in a way, but rather useful.
After removing the film from its case and putting it into the development box, I was off to the bathroom. Thinning the developer, pouring it into the development box, turning it every now and again and finally depositing the somewhat toxic chemicals so I can get rid of them at some stage. Next, the film had to be washed a few times and then the fixer had to be added with more moving things occasionally and some final washing of the film.
Then the big moment came and I could open the development box to take my first developed film out. The good thing: It wasn’t all black or all white or anything else which might have suggested that I made big mistakes along the way. So I hung it up to let it dry and started the next film.
With each film taking around twenty minutes to develop in this way, the whole process started to be a bit boring after the second film. As you have to turn things occasionally and shouldn’t deviate from the timings too much, you can’t really do anything (but listen to music) in the meanwhile.
Next up: arranging to get into the darkroom once more to make some prints.