Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Washing your negatives

This is just as important as the developing, stop bath and fixer. The temperature of the water needs to be close to that of the previous process of 20 degree C.

The purpose of washing is to remove the last of the fixer from the emulsion and needs to be done thoroughly to ensure the longevity of the negatives.

Which method to use? One way is to empty the tank and refill with fresh water and agitate for a few seconds, this should be repeated several times. Another way is to use a wash hose that is specially made to fit into the top of the developing tank and attached to the tap. I personally favor this approach with my own refinements: after fitting the hose in place I open the tap till it is nearly fully open and leave for thirty seconds, this vigorusly removes the last of the fix that remains. Then slow the flow right down for the next ten to fifteen minutes. It is a simple straight forward procedure that has served me well over the years.

Fixing negatives and papers

It is important to fix your negatives fully, this will ensure their longevity.

Fixing removes the last of any light-sensitive material from the negatives stabilising and securing the images so they can be viewed in day light. The temperature of the fix should be the same as the developer and stop bath, 20 degrees C.
Most fixers nowadays are rapid fixers supplied in liquid concentrate form and will complete the fixing process in about two to five minutes. (always check the instructions on the bottle) over fixing will start to bleach the negative. These fixers are usually suitable for film and paper. There is a chance in the case of warm tone papers that they may suffer from bleaching of their warmth with rapid fixers, it would therefore be better to use a more traditional fixer made up from a powder to ensure no loss of tone.