How I Developed Black & White 35mm Film in a Darkroom

Apologies for the sound quality, esp. when showing the film developing time charts. 

Processing B&W film takes at least an hour and I did an InstaStories of the process that I uploaded on my Youtube Channel.

I shot an Ilford FP4 125 B&W film some time back and the roll of film had been living in my handbag for God knows how long and since I have limited access to a darkroom (that shall not be named), I decided to make the most of it.

Apparently, you are supposed to process film as soon as you finish photographing, but I have seen images from film rolls that have been processed several years or decades after they were shot and they look great. So, on that note, I went ahead and processed my roll.

Here is how I went about my process:

What’s in the box?

1x Film Developing Tank (Canister)
2x Film Spirals/Reel
1x Film Squeegee
1x Safety Goggles
1x Scissors
1x ‘C’ Clamp

Dry Side

Film Opener

Wet Side

Film developing chemicals
Water Bath
Wetting Agent

What Each Chemical Does

Developer – the clue is in the name really. In this particular darkroom, I am not sure which brand of chemical is being used as there are different kinds. All I know is that for 35mm film, in my case the FP4, I used 200ml worth of developer and mix it with 200ml of water – 1:1 ratio. And the developer I used cannot be used again. For my film, I had to agitate the chemical for 10mins. Hitting the tank on the side helps in removing air bubbles when developing the film. Inside any box of Ilford film, there are technical instructions which come in handy to help with the processing.

IMG_9247

Stop Bath – This is used to stop the film from developing further and is agitated for only a minute and the chemical can be reused until it becomes dead.

Fixer – This chemical stabilises the images on the film and is the final stage in processing the film.  You agitate it for at least 6mins, not forgetting to remove the air bubbles. The fixer can be used again.

Water – Used to rinse all the chemicals from the film and this takes the longest time at 15mins.

Wetting Agent – this helps prevent watermarks on the film when drying it. Very helpful especially in hard water areas like London.

Things I noticed whilst I was doing this:

1. The black stem inside the developing tank was upside down 😂
2. I should have gently moved the film reel in the water rinse
3. Goggles, gloves and an apron were available, but I didn’t use them. They should be worn for health & safety reasons really.

As you can see towards the end of my video, the lab technician was kind enough to show how the film is rolled onto the reel as this part is done in the dark and the two options of holding it down in the tank when only processing one roll. Which I failed to do 😱. I realised that without doing this, I could have ended up with a film that was not fully developed had the reel moved up the stem when I was agitating it with the developer. Lesson learnt!

And there you have it, that is how I develop Black and White film in a darkroom.

I only know of one place where you can process your own Black and White film and that is the Camera Club in London. You can only do this if you join to become a member and no, I have not been asked to say this.

Otherwise, you are left to drop off your film to any one of the few labs left around London, like Metro Imaging, Photofusion, BayeuxSnappy Snaps or Boots with the last two being on the budget end of film developing. Or, buy the kit needed from stores like Calumet or SilverPrint and do it at home.

I can’t wait to show you the photographs from this film.

Do you think Black and White film developing is something you would like to do?

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#darkroomfilmprocessing

Starting a Youtube Channel

YouTube Artwork 260317

Well, I have actually started a Youtube Channel people.

I have been meaning to do this for a long time, but the truth is, I have either been busy or just plain lazy to do it. Now that I have a creative slot free seeing that I am technically just waiting to graduate from University, I decided to go for it.

HELLO

I would like to create photography related content that is aimed at mums who happen to be photographers aka ‘Mumtographer’. I have searched on Youtube and I haven’t come across such a channel. Unless I wasn’t looking hard enough.

According to the Urban Dictionary, the meaning of ‘Mumtographer’ is

Usually a stay-at-home mom who buys a camera from Amazon, teaches herself the basics of Photoshop and starts her own “photography company”. (side note, changed Best Buy to Amazon)

Well, I am a stay-at-home mum, I have several cameras and I am self-taught with an additional bonus of doing a degree in photography. So, I would say I qualify, no?

Anyway, the whole reason of creating my channel is that I just want to share my experiences on how I go about being a mum of two and still find time to be creative as a photographer. Hopefully, what I put out there will help other mums too.

I won’t lie to you and say it is going to be easy. I created the channel in September 2016 and it has taken me at least 6 months to upload my first video.  Hurdle number one done!

Now to conquer the next hurdle called CONSISTENCY. Wish me luck!

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” — Scott Belsky, Behance co-founder.

Confession Time

Well, to be honest, this is my third channel. The first one I started I cannot get access to as it was created well before YouTube & Google merged. My second channel was created, well, to kind of make up the fact I could not get access to the first one, but the content was just random videos I shot and decided to share with the world.

Now, I want to do this seriously (pause) 😁.

Ok…here goes….

Attempt #3

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#mumtographervlogs

Tips on How I Archive My Work

My Western Digital hard drives

As a digital photographer, you will always end up with loads of photographs and videos over the years and in my case, around 8+ years worth. Unfortunately, one of my computers, an iMac, decided to call it a day and I cannot retrieve a whole library of my work, most of which wasn’t backed up. Yes, I can feel you cringing from way over there. That is a blog post for another day.

In this post, I am going to share a few tips on how I archive my work. A system that works for me, but might be helpful to someone out there. My methods may not be perfect, but it works and I can find my folders/files easily.

Tip #1 – External Hard Drives

Now that I haven’t got a desktop anymore, I work mostly on my MacBook Pro. My laptop hasn’t got much storage at 250GB with only 26GB left at the time of writing this. I try very hard not to let it drop below 20GB as it tends to slow down my machine. It’s an old laptop as well.

I digress.

Anyway, I have invested in hard drives. My favourite brand being Western Digital ‘My Passport’ hard drives. The key is to have several small capacity hard drives than saving all of your work in one large capacity hard drive. I tend to save my work on the current one that I am using and have another one to backup my work in. I am still looking for that third option to store my work as we all know how expensive it can be to invest in hard drives, cloud and data loss. So far, the best one I have come across in BackBlaze, which is a Cloud type of storage.

Tip #2 – USB Sticks / iCloud

I always have a pair of USBs with me in case I forget my hard drive, it gets full or simply stops working. This way I have an option readily available to save my work when out and about.

Current pair of USB sticks

For my phone, as I take a lot of images using my iPhone, I have invested in iCloud especially for storage for my images and videos. The thought of losing photographs of my children is just too painful.

I am now looking to go much further and invest in Backblaze Cloud storage solution I mentioned above. The peace of mind that your data is safe in case your computer is lost or stolen just makes it a worthy investment. And in the case this happens, they send you an encrypted hard drive of your backed up computer to restore depending on where you are in the world. This is at a cost of course. You can read all about it here.

Tip #3 – Creating Folders

For as long as I can remember, I have been creating folders for all my assignments, projects, etc. and I have always put them in a Master Folder. I have one for images and another for video.

The more I photograph, I have come to a realisation that I now need to categorise my folders into years and then months that I have now started dating my folders so when I decide to ‘spring clean’ my computer, I know exactly which folder goes where.

Tip #4 – Naming the Folders

For anyone, this is no brainer. You name your folder according to what the images or videos are. As mentioned in Tip #3, I have now started putting dates on my folders, e.g. EK13 Filmscans 010317 – my brand, what is in the folder and the date (day month year). And in the folder, I have an original folder for the DNG files and then a Final folder for finished edits. Depending on the project/job, I will have additional folders for Photoshop, Web, Social Media all in the ‘master’ folder for the particular project/job.

Tip #5 – Online Platforms

My current choice is Flickr, but this has turned out to be my final thought when I want to archive my pictures. With it changing over the years and the threat of it being discontinued, makes me not make it my priority to store my images, but worth a mention as I have some photographs that I lost from my desktop saved on Flickr. There are others out there like Picasa, but I am yet to try them.

Well, there you have it. My tips or should I say, ‘insider’ information on how I archive my images.

Care to share other ways I might want to look at when it comes to archiving or backing up data.

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#DigitalBackups

5 Favourites from My Second Film Roll in 2017

My Canon AE-1

Well, what can I say, I am on a film roll.

Get it….film roll…on a roll…

Oh, forget it if you don’t get it. I am not one for telling jokes. 😂

Anyways, I took more pictures on my second Kodak ColorPlus 200 film soon after I finished the first one. Click here if you missed my post on the first roll of film.

It literally took me most of February to finish shooting with it. My kids and the weather played a big part in it, unlike the first film which took me two months.

I won’t bore you loads of words this time, as I am not feeling very well this week. I just wanted to keep the weekly post consistency in this blog going.

Photographs were taken between 01/02/2017 and 21/02/2017 with a Canon AE-1 using Kodak ColorPlus 200 film. The film was processed on 22/02/2017. Digitally scanned using the Epson Perfection V750 Pro on 01/03/2017. Editing in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Without much further ado…

Which is your favourite from this selection?

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#36Exposures