Negativity

Four rolls of Tri-X, two rolls of Pan-F

The Canon is returned and good as new but not before I got a bit comfy wearing my older hat, pushing Tri-X and even Pan-F through the Contaxes. I was worried something was wrong with them, but discovered it was one of my strobes — an otherwise nice little Metz no longer fires. Back to my ancient Sunpak 322.

Somewhat as I suspected, the film cameras are still funner to use, and the big viewfinder of the RTS makes the little DSLR finder seem toylike. I seem to have gotten my development process down smoothly enough that there's essentially no spotting required, but it's still a chore to soup and scan and print. Ah well.

After a while spent with smooth digital pics the grain of Rodinal-processed Tri-X is a big switch. For the first time I'm starting to think consciously about how there's a sort of motion in grain, that it can scatter like light moving in the air, lending immediacy and depth to an image.

October 22, 2004

 

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Comments on "Negativity"

Dirk
October 27, 2004 06:44 AM

Would you mind briefly describing your processing as far as spotlessness is concerned, esp. drying. Cheers.

Bjorke
October 27, 2004 11:46 AM

I'm not sure if any single one of my steps is the key to clean negs, but I seem to have reached a point that works for me.

My film dryer is terribly high-tech. I bought it for $1 at a Daiei store some years ago. It has a clothes-hanger-like hook on top, a large horizontal ring, and eight film clips hanging radially from the ring. Some friends have mistakenly thought this film dryer was made to dry women's panty hose, but we know better.

I hook the dryer to the head of my bathroom shower, holding it rigidly in place with a rubber band. The film strips are connected to the clips on the dryer and weighted at the bottom with wooden clothes pins. I try to remember to clip at opposing corners of the long rectangle, so that any potential drips will run to one side of the film. I sometimes forget this step, and it doesn't seem to make a difference very often. I use a Photoflo AND a Jobo squeegee, which I clean before every use.

I filter ALL the water through a Brita, including every drop of wash water (so when I'm in mid-process I have several containers of freshly-filtered water ready before I start the first developer bath). I regularly re-filter (with just a screen) my fixer and stop-bath working solutions.

I usually let the film dry overnight. The bathroom, despite the presence of towels and powdery cosmetics, is pretty dust-free. It gets steamy and humid once or twice a day, so airborne dust gets pinned down as condensation, or cleaned away. It doesn't hang in the air there, nor is it easily dislodged from surfaces.

 

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