This website hasn't been updated in quite some time and that's entirely my fault. Although the new job has been keeping me quite busy, it's sometimes hard to find the motivation after a long day to also blog. Hence the reason I'm also completely absent from pretty much every social network.
I have finally gotten around to doing black & white developing at home, though! I had originally planned to buy everything and get started in September but then I had to buy my NAS (Synology DiskStations are so good) after my HDDs started acting funny and then there was physical therapy for my neck. These two unplanned expenses cut deep and forced me to push things back. That was OK, though, because it gave me more time to photograph.
I had already purchased most of what I needed back in the summer after someone decided to stop home developing and then a few weeks before Christmas ordered the last odds and ends that I needed. Since Jenny, my wife, and I were going to be at her parents' place over Christmas a few days and knew we'd have one uninterrupted afternoon, we decided to develop then. Jenny was also really excited about the idea of developing film at home, something which neither of us had obviously ever done. Before going to bed the night before the experiment we watched Matt Day's video on developing at home.
I knew that this was going to be fun but I hadn't quite realized how much fun and also how exciting it was. Just as Matt and numerous guides showed us we collected our implements and sat down with the changing bag and a bottle opener to get the 35mm canisters open. I had four rolls to develop and my tank can hold two 35mm rolls, so we started with the two rolls of Lucky 100 SHD. These were cheap rolls that I just shot whatever on, I was more interested in exposing the film and using these rolls as my guinea pig rolls before moving on to developing my two rolls of Tri-X.
Once I got my arms into the changing bag I took a deep breath and went to work on the first Lucky roll. That feeling when I opened that first roll and knowing there was no turning back was one of a kind. I didn't even have any problems getting the roll onto the spindle and into the tank, which was what I was most afraid of. I figured if I could do that, everything else was just like following a simple recipe (which it is).
Once I got the rolls into the tank, I grabbed my laptop and looked up developing information for the Lucky rolls and Rodinal and grabbed my dive watch to time the whole affair. That's when I realized that there was probably someone that already programmed a dev chart of some kind and sure enough there was an app for that. I went ahead and downloaded the Massive Dev Chart Timer app to my phone, selected my film, developer and dilution and that was it - I was ready to go.
Luckily getting the water to come out of the tap at the right temperature wasn't an issue, so from there on it was just a matter of mixing the developer and then dumping it into the tank. The app itself has an audible timer with different tones to let you know when the next step is coming or when to agitate and it walks you through each step (although it does the wetting agent before the final rinse, which I didn't find anywhere else online).
How did it turn out? Well as you can see from the scans that I made the same evening it could have been better. I used too much wetting agent and agitated it too much, causing bubbles to form, which then resulted in water spots on my film. I also did a poor job of squeegeeing one roll with a clean rag that I decided to try and ended up scratching a few negatives.
I've got a few more rolls now that I'll be developing next and hopefully I'll be able to learn from my previous mistakes. Instead of hanging the negatives immediately after taking them off the spindle I'm going to leave them curled up and rest them on a towel and let most of the water drip off that way. I also need to properly mix the wetting agent (less is more!) and not agitate so much that I get bubbles in the mixture.
Scanning is an absolute pain in the ass, though. Silverfast 8, the software that came bundled with my Plustek 8200i scanner, has quite the steep learning curve. I actually want to go back and rescan a lot of the images here in this post but I want to show how I did on my first run and not what I've learned since Christmas.