New Roll Failures, Grapevine, TX Sunday, Oct 7 2012 

I spent this Sunday afternoon finally developing a roll of Ilford FP5 Plus film. It’s a roll I started in Rome, and finished at the Italian Car Festival in Grapevine. I was a little hesitant, because the last time I tried to develop my own film, I wasn’t very successful.

These two photos are my only major failures on this roll. The culprit again was the spiral spool, and there was a spot where the chemicals didn’t quite flow freely to the film surface.

Lamborghini Murcielago

Lamborghini Murcielago

The first photo above is of a wheel of a Lamborghini Murcielago. You can see that the right side of the photo is a smear, where the chemicals got all haywire. The bottom right corner of the photo is somehow preserved.



The next photo on the roll was this shot of a DeLorean grille. The smear is on the left this time, and you can see how it angles away at the bottom – that line continues and saves that little corner of the previous photo.

The good news is that the rest of the photos came out just fine, and I’ll be happy to post a few more of them next week.

You’re welcome to share your experience and advice about developing film in the comments.

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?

Missed Sunrise, Mount Rainier Tuesday, Sep 11 2012 

Almost exactly a year ago, I traveled to Seattle to visit my friend Tyler, and visiting Mount Rainier was on top of our to-do list. And, sure enough, we drove up there one afternoon, scoped out some spots to shoot the following sunrise, drove around for a bit, and then retreated to our campsite. I was excited to finally get to use my new Mamiya 7 camera – it’s the one I wanted for a while.

Missed Sunrise

Missed Sunrise

So, the following morning, I loaded it with Fuji Velvia film, expecting the sunrise to fire up the massive mountain in warm tones of orange and pink. Just as expected, the sunrise was spectacular. I used my Canon 7D digital camera mainly to meter the scene, and I kept firing the Mamiya every few minutes, as the light was changing.

When the magic light was gone and it was time to go, with no small amount of horror did I realize that I had my lens cap on the camera the whole time. You see, Mamiya 7 is a rangefinder, which means that you look through the viewfinder, but not through the lens (like with SLR cameras).

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

A classic rookie mistake, and now I was left only with those digital shots. I barely found a few that sort of worked; the one on top is during the magic light, but the second one is less than 20 minutes later – the magic was definitely gone.

Let it be said here that Mount Rainier is one of the most impressive sights I ever saw. It’s an enormous volcano, covered in glaciers, rugged and foreboding. It is the center of the eponymous National Park that is definitely up there with the most beautiful places on Earth and you should definitely go there if you get the chance.

What’s your favorite National Park? Leave a comment below.

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