Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Learning something new

I'd always wondered why my fix times were so long. Two minutes according to the instructions. Two minutes? Really? Not for me. I always dunk the cut-off leader in the fixer and double the clearing time for my fix time. It usually takes around five minutes to clear, so I fix for ten. Two minutes? Fantasy. But then I read that you need to agitate the fixer constantly. Oh. I'd been giving it a bit of a swirl at the start, then again at five minutes... I've only been doing this 25 years...

So, lets try something new. PanF+ in Aculux 3 1+9, six minutes. I've never used a chemical stop bath with film before, I used plain water, but I have some Ilfostop over from my now defunct darkroom, so hey, it can't hurt. Thirty seconds in Ilfostop. Now to the fix. Four minutes in Fotospeed FX20, constant agitation. The poor dog was going spare. Four minutes of constant barking. Wash using Ilford's method and hey, a reel of really sparkly clear negs. I'll try three minute next time.

But then I learned something else. Not only have I somehow got dust all over the negs, but I'd scratched them with my film squeegee. Doh! Only lightly, but there's a fine scratch through most of the length of the film. Everyone says a squeegee scratches your negs, but I'd always got away with it. "When I scratch the negs", I'd say, "I'll stop using the squeegee". I'm not using the squeegee on the next film!

(pic - reedbed at Cotehele, Cornwall PanF+ / Aculux3)

1 comment:

toddono said...

A gorgeous shot...
I'd always dipped my negs in some Photoflow and then run the length of film between my index and middle finger... seem to work for me. I started doing that in college after scratching my negs with a squeegee...
I'm very interested in these experiments and your process... good reading!