This morning I felt miserable from the short period of sleep. My nightly adventure in Haddington, the day before, had been rewarding. At least, that's what I hope for. Since I wasn't completely sure if my pictures would turn out well. I comforted my mind by repeating that these are indeed the first pictures ever taken manually - with attention to all these settings - by me. If anything black or white would come out in the dark room today I should be happy...
Anything black or white.
In the Darkroom it can be very dark. Well, I guess that's what one would expect. To ponder on I had brought my camera with the film still inside, so had everybody else. Iain, our lecturer on photography, wanted us to rewind the film by turning the rewind spindle just until you could hear the film slip off the other spindle inside the camera. Not any firther because then your film is hiding within the film roll, from which it is diffulcult to retrieve. Although there is a special piece of equipment to fetch it...
The film from film roll fetcher thingy...
A patent rests on this Film retriever, United States (Patent 4047653).
Device for retrieving the free end of a roll of film from a film cartridge; curved inner and outer jaws are movable with respect to one another. The operation involves inserting the jaw ends into the cartridge, rotating the film within the cartridge until the free end is between the jaw ends, and grasping the film with the jaw ends.
Which is not to be confused with any other retriever, that is...
Stage 1 - Binning the Black and White Film
So after having our film rolls in bright room light with the exposed photo's still in the rolls, our film bit sticking out of the roll was supposed to be rolled up on a special film reel.
Film reel with the start of the film rolled onto it in a lit room.
Black and white film is generally panchromatic and therefore must be handled in total darkness, no safelights are available. And thus it became dark.... totally dark !!!
We rolled the whole fil onto the reel, by twisting the left and rigth reel parts in turn.
The centre spindle needed to be inserted into the reel, this stops the reel slopping about in the development tank, it also allows rotational agitation device (twizzler) to be used.
The reel on the spindle into the development tank.
Once the top is on, it is now light tight and can be handled in daylight.
Stage 2 - Processing the Film
The black and white film is now ready for development.
The black and white film developer should be mixed up according to the manufacturers direction, which are included with the developer. To mix the black and white developer, some measuring equipment is required along with a thermometer to ensure the correct development temperature.
For a 400 film in the Kodak System, 300 ml of fluid is required. Most roll developing tanks use a similar design and therefore similar quantities.
During the development time the black and white film or liquid will need to be agitated according to the manufacturer's directions. This can be completed by inversion or by use of the twizzler. We did it manually by turning the development tank upside down, five times every minute, and bounching it gently onto the table to let the air bubbles out.
In order of insertion into the development tank goes; Developer (300 ml fluid per reel + 300 ml water per reel) for 12 minutes and 30 seconds, Stop (300 ml fluid per reel) for 2 minutes, Fix (300 ml fluid per reel) for five minutes.
Selection of measuring devices for the black and white darkroom. Funnel, Measureglass, Pitcher, and Thermometer.
When the black and white film development time is complete, either throw away the developing fluid or save for further use, this requires careful monitoring. Some manufacturers provide data about how many films each quantity of developer can process, and the number of cycles may affect the development time. We did away with it in a waste reservoir for environmental friendly disposal.
When the black and white developer has been removed from the tank, the development process is abruptly stopped by use of a stop solution. The stop solution is mildly acidic and neutralises the effect of the alkaline developer.
Once the solution has been stopped, the film needs to be fixed. Fix prevents the black and white film from being reactive to light and any more development process taking place. It also fixes the black and white film emulsion into transparent material leaving only the black silver oxide.
And there we have it... a film developed to be dried in the dry oven!