Anita and the Post Box. Bronica SQ-A camera. Zenzanon PS/B 80 mm f/2.8 lens. Ilford HP5 Plus 120 film. Developed in ID11
I know I keep putting off the C-41 thing. I’ve got the chemistry, but right now, I can’t be bothered with colour. I guess that my excuse is that I’m still scavenging five litre drums, so that I can properly mix all of my processing solutions, and store them properly. So for now, I keep on loading those Ilfords into cameras. Not all Ilfords though – I loaded a Firstcall 400S in my Olympus XA2 35mm compact today. A very cheap, budget true black and white 135 film from Firstcall Photography. I’ll see how it performs. It’s the cheapest such film that I’ve seen on the markets, and 36 exposure. Prices like that could almost lure me away from using the C-41 Poundland film. Thing is you see, I’m really enjoying B/W film photography. I’m not sure now if I want to dirty the bleach waters of C-41 yet.
For anyone interested. For B/W processing, I use Ilford process chemicals, including Ilford ID-11, which I last bought in powder form, to make up five litres of developer solution. Far cheaper than buying smaller packs, and it packs nicely into a recycled five litre drum (that contained car windscreen wash previously – well washed out), that you can squeeze quite a lot of air out, as you use it up. The developer was muck cheap from an online dealer – but to make it even cheaper, I dilute my ID-11 down to 1:3 with tap water just prior to processing a film, at 20C. This of course greatly extends process time. For Ilford HP5 Plus film (my favourite) with no push, at ISO 400, it’s twenty minutes, with 10 seconds of gentle inversions in every minute. Prior to developing, I’ve also started to pre-soak with tap water at 20C for three minutes. Stop and fix solutions are re-used several times. I use an extended Ilford rinsing technique – progressive inversions, and four rinses – with a fifth rinse at the end, containing a wetting agent. I’ve stopped using a squeegee again (tram lines!). It’s a long process, but it’s very cheap, and it’s starting to give me the developed B/W film negatives that I want.
Reading the above, I realise that yet again, I’m posting on techie issues, rather more than creative issues. I recently read an opinion by someone, that photographers tend to divide into two different types – those that are very knowledgeable about photographic technologies, and those that are more artistic and creative. I’m afraid that I’m more of the former. I mean, why would anyone give a toss about how I process my films?
On a recent visit to the local refuse / recycling centre (what use to be tips), I spotted a load of old leather camera cases in the “Small Electrical” skip. Please forgive my tight-fistedness. I rummaged in the skip and found an old Kodak Box Brownie 620. Whenever I spot an old box camera, I quickly open it up, check for used film and for 620 spindles. This one had an empty 620 spindle. I’ve posted on this subject before, but briefly, you cannot buy 620 film anymore, except for grossly priced, grossly expired rolls. However, 120 roll film is widely available, and in a darkroom or film changing bag, can be rolled off it’s new 120 spindle, and with care, onto an old 620 spindle (lifting the taped end to release the slack), bringing any 620 camera back to Life.
I asked the refuse workers if they can sell cameras. The reply was no, as they are classed as “electrical” and could cause an issue with health & safety. I don’t know where that 620 spindle in my pocket came from.
620 spindle next to a 120 spindle, and one of my Box Brownie cameras.