Last weekend I was on a roll with photo processing, so for a while my Thursday posts will feature a different kind of throwback. I know I mentioned some time ago that I got myself some chemicals and glassware and started shooting film again. I had developed film before, but then I had more than a bit of help. So for my first time flying solo I wanted to try things out in a safe environment first. The tricky bit is getting the roll of film onto the spool and into the developing tank in complete darkness. So the usual practice is to sacrifice a roll of film and do the whole thing in daylight, as often as necessary until you can trust yourself to do it in the dark. But why bother doing this if there is nothing to develop, I thought?
So instead I chose my sacrificial film and shot it through. Since there was a high chance it would get ruined I didn’t want to put too much effort into this, and simply used my film camera in a very documentary style over the course of a week or so. The film in question was an expired (by some 13 years) cheap colour film. To compensate for the age I set the exposure index down by a stop (so everything would get a stop more light). The roll was then cross-processed in B&W chemicals, taking 15 minutes in 1+50 Adonal with the usual agitation. This follows the rule of thumb that C-41 film gets the same development time as Kodak Tri-X would get in the same developer. The rest was rather conventional: stop with five rinses in water, fix in Adofix 1+9, and a final wash using the Ilford method.
Getting the roll onto the spool proved to be as challenging as I expected – with the film having spent so long tightly wound it was fighting too hard against the wider spacing on the spool. In the end I simply took everything apart in the changing bag and redid the whole process from the beginning, navigating by touch. Thankfully I’m patient. After letting the film dry overnight I examined and cut the negatives. They came out thinner than I hoped, so the next expired roll will get one or two more stops of exposure. Otherwise I was rather surprised. Things were grainy of course, as expected with cross-processed film, but I had anticipated that and chose subject matter accordingly.
So here’s the first frame I’m sharing from this roll. This was actually the last one I shot, as I walked back to the car after a morning’s climbing in Wied Babu.