Monthly Archives: April 2009

Thwarted by lack of raw chemical!

First posted 28 April 2009

This weekend I put aside a few hours to processing some of the remaining Scotland 10×8 negatives. I discarded the old two bath developer from February and as I poured it out it occurred to me that perhaps I should check to see if I had enough raw chemical to mix up some fresh.

Sure enough, when I got out the scales and the chemicals I was almost out of Sodium Sulphite!

I spent some considerable time racking my brains to think who I knew who still mixed their own dev.

The next day I had arranged to meet a young photographer who had recently moved into our town and as we sat talking cameras and film in a local cafe, he revealed that he was still shooting on Polaroid Type 55. This was an instant print material which also gave a High quality negative. after shooting and processing the neg is separated from the print and dipped in a clearing solution of.. Sodium Sulphite!

He very kindly offered to donate some, so later that day I managed to mix up and process the other negatives and the negs look great.

So thank you Johnathan.

Back from Scotland

First posted 20 April 2009

I’ve just returned from a two week break in the West of Scotland shooting mainly 10×8 landscapes. I shot almost every day and now have a lot of sheets of film which need processing separately. I intend to use the two bath process as this gives me the most even development where there are large areas of even tone, such as skies.

When I first began processing 10×8 film in IDII, I was occasionally getting blotchy, uneven marks in the sky. The two bath process though longer, is superb for smooth tones and I have not found a high contrast situation yet where it couldn’t cope. When I need punchier images I either print on a hard grade from a two bath neg or, – (I hope you are sitting down) I occasionally process in Multigrade paper developer!

I know that many people are going to be horrified by that statement, but with such large negs, the grain increase is not noticable and the quality is actually really good. I will show some Images illustrating the differences in a later post.

When processing for salt printing or other alternative processes, the paper developer method is ideal. You get a bit more contrast and the slight grain increase is of no consequence with these processes. The only time I definitely wouldn’t use paper developer is in high contrast situations, as it tends to be quite vigorous.

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I also took a 35mm kit with a few lenses and a digital compact with me on my trip. The 35mm didn’t get much use, but I did quite a bit on the compact. I used it for comparison shots to use in forthcoming magazine and blog articles and also to take pictures of what I could see on the focusing screen, as a sort of polaroid.