Sunday night I had the amazing idea to develop some b&w 35mm film. Yes, so excited. I head out to my little darkroom/work shed/chill room and it suddenly dawned on my. Damn it i’ve got to cover my windows with the crappy black plastic bags I use. Those big 55 gallon bags. 2 layers. Those big guys aren’t easy to tape up.
I’m tapin away. 2 windows worth. One bag. Pull of the blue painters tape. It sticks to it self after you rip it off. Gotta get a new piece. One window done. On to the next. 30 minutes and much unexpected and unwanted annoyance later. I guess I get annoyed easily, something I’ve really got to work on but that’s another post I wont bore you with.
The windows are up and taped. The table is set, everything in it’s nice neat little spot. Makes it easier when you’re fumbling around in the dark. I’m set lets rock and roll.
It started all good. Both are rolls of Ilford HP5+, one a freshfrom a month or so ago, the other, and old ass roll from 2011/2012ish with who knows what on it. The new Matin film lead puller was a dream (after I watched a fantastic video on how it works). Push. Click. There’s the film. Push. Click. There’s the film lead. Sweet. Super stoked. I’m feelin good. This is great.
The first roll of film actually goes on pretty easily. No major problems and from the way it feels there’s no touching parts and should come out all right. I’m psyched. Put that reel in the tank ready for it’s friend to show up so they could party.
Ha. Or so I thought. After I pulled out the film from the canister I could feel right away the film wanting to curl up and funky, pulling the canister with it. It wants to curl that bad. I cut the film at the end with the canister and like a whip it snapped right up. I blindly walk to my calendar to find this clip I can put on the end of the film to weight it down. Find it. It does nothing. The film still curls up in any way possible, better than with out it, I leave it on and just try to load the film on the reel anyway.
When I was loading the previous reel I’d looked and it and planned it out before I turned out the lights, but in an unclear state of thought I’d not looked at this second reel and had no clear vision of how the clip was sitting and the direction I need the film to go to get on the rails right. I try to cram the film into the 2 reel canister I’ve got somewhere in the dark. It’s a no go. the 36 exposure film I’ve got in hand wont fit. I have to fumble around in the dark again for a 4 reel canister I’ve got somewhere the room. After a few seconds of searching and groping I find the tank. Open the lid. slam the film in. Flip on the light and check out the reel.
As I’m looking at the empty reel to see what’s up and my eyes just happen to gaze past my hands, and like in a movie they slowly come into focus on the 2 reel tank that is sitting there with it’s lid off and the now exposed film is staring up and me and all the light in the room. Unexposed. Crisp and destroyed.
YUPO!!!! I turned on the light in my tail end of annoyance and unclear thinking and ruined this perfectly loaded film. It was nothing spectacular I’m sure or of real importance. It’s just the fact that I was rushing and because of that I’d messed up this tank. I let out a word of profanity and shook my fists in the air.
I take a breath and say okay. Theres still the second roll you can develop. I check out the reel and get set up. My frustration is still there, looming in the back of my mind and it clouds my thoughts. This roll becomes more frustrating when I can feel the film isn’t going on the tracks evenly. Unroll. Re-roll. It keeps doing it. I can’t seem to get it.
Realizing I’m frustrated and getting nothing done. I’ve been in this room about an hour now, between taping and the in the dark and I’m just kind of over it. I drop the film into the large canister and plan to tackle it tomorrow with a clear head.
I flip on the light and right there in my face is the second roll, in the developing tank, with no lid on.
Another piece of profanity comes out of my mouth and I’m done. I throw my hands up and walk out of the shed.
Yep. Everyone in the house asks how the developing went and I say
“I fucked up 2 rolls of film”. Everyone leaves it at that.
Now, a day later, I look at the bright side. I’ve got two rolls of film I can use for practicing on the Patterson tank and the Hewes 35mm reels. An awesome guy, PanAm Style, gave me some tips that have brought him luck that