A Roll Developed Wednesday, Sep 12 2012 

As you guys read before, I shoot film.

The reasons why are a story for another day, but this is the story about when I wanted to actually learn to develop my own black and white film. I usually do my processing through BWC, a local lab in Dallas, but I thought I’d see if I could do it myself. I went down to Arlington Camera and picked up all the chemicals I needed, I ordered a few things online, and I was pretty much ready to go.

Urban Decay

A Roll Developed – Urban Decay

When you look into it, developing black and white really isn’t too difficult. It just take some patience, a lot of care, and a little math. Oh, and you also need a very, very dark room. A windowless room, like a bathroom or a closet is the best. The easy thing about developing is that you only need that dark room for a few minutes while you’re spooling the film onto the spool.

A Roll Developed

A Roll Developed – Cemetary

Well, that’s where I wasn’t careful. Instead of using the grooves on the outside of the spool, I tried to jam the roll in. What I didn’t realize is that the pieces of film stuck to each other will not get exposed to the chemicals and would not get developed. Combine that with a few frames lost to my issue with leaving the lens cap on (I talked about that yesterday), and I only have a few frames to show you.

The encouraging thing is that these shots seem to be just fine. The math worked, the dark room worked… I just need to be more patient and take more care. I’ll try that with my next roll.

What do you think? Is film too much trouble?

Traditional Sunset, Eagle Crags, Utah Tuesday, May 17 2011 

I’ve been traveling with Tyler and John for four years now, for purposes of enhancing our friendship as well as our photography skills. And if there’s one thing that we bonded over more than over lens caps and ISO settings, it’s botched sunset shoots.

First, there was not one, but two sunsets in Monument Valley, a year apart, that left something to be desired. Then there was one when we didn’t get to Lake Powell in time on our way from The Wave, even though I hit 100 miles an hour to get there. There was one at Yosemite’s Tunnel View (although, the Sierras paid us back a few days later with a magnificent sunset from Sentinel Dome). And then the one when the skies finally cleared only when we were already many miles on our road out of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park…

If there’s one thing we can count on, that’s a less-than-perfect sunset.

Traditional Sunset

Eagle Crags, UT

And here we were, three hours before sunset, after a morning hike to Angels Landing, after driving up a bad dirt road, getting perilously off the hiking trail, setting up our tripods in between the bushes and trees, wondering if we will get rained on before the skies clear and allow some sunlight onto the peaks in front of us.

The peaks are called Eagle Crags, and they’re located just outside Zion National Park, near Rockville, UT. We saw them a few sunsets earlier, as they were the peaks getting the very last light, due to the fact that they’re outside the main canyon of the park, so the light lingers on them just a little longer. Tyler found a road on the map, and the road led us to a BLM hiking trail, which eventually goes all the way to the foot of the Eagle Crags hill.

Eagle Crags, UT

Velvia film shot, not as good as the digital

Skies were dark and foreboding, which made for a dramatic background. We were cheering for the sun to break through the cloud bank to the west and light up the red sandstone. We had reason to hope: it happened a little earlier, but it was not the magical “golden hour light”. I captured it on Fuji Velvia 50 film, shown here, and it looks nice, but it’s not quite the same as the main digital photo, taken just that much later. Light was changing fast, and I never snapped another film shot. I didn’t even time to change my lens – it was gone in a flash.

Still, we’ve seen some photos in the local galleries, and this formation, somewhat off the beaten path, offers great potential for some wonderful sunsets. On this evening, however, our tradition continued.

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