Sunday, 8 January 2012

Idiot list!

I've been clearing out the closet that I use as a darkroom. Whilst I was moving out some old photographic paper the bottom of one packet opened and on to the floor dropped a clear plastic folder. To my surprise it's my original film processing list; a step by step reminder for the developing process, showing what quantities to mix and how long to develop each of the makes of film. At the time it was Ilford PanF, FP4 and HP5. The developer is the recently reintroduced Paterson Aculux. The only film from the list to stand the test of time is FP4; the only film I use from Ilford regularly and remains my all time favorite.
When starting on your journey to develop your own film it is a good idea to make up an idiot list. It is there in writing to prompt you on what to do next; it is a way of ensuring that the process goes smoothly and that the negatives are properly developed. As you become more proficient you should update your list with the changes you make - ie: film development times, solution quantities etc. I still use one but now it's divided into two. One page shows the developing method needed for each of the developers I use and page two is a prompt for the stop, fix and wash procedure. I know it backwards but old habits die-hard.
So what has changed over the years? The developer for a start. The stop time has increased to two minutes. I no longer check to see if the film has cleared and the milkiness has gone after two and a half minutes when fixing. I had forgotten that I even did this! The wash time is down to fifteen minutes and I do not add fourteen drops of wetting agent - thats way to much!