Photography Course - Lesson 3

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Andrew McCall, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. Hi Folks,

    I just got back from my photography course, and thought it was time for
    another installment of what when on :)

    During last weeks lesson, I loaded a Ilford HP5 400 into my camera, and
    the lecturer took away the exposed Fuji Velvia 50 to another lab to be
    developed for me.

    I picked this up tonight whilst waiting for the rest of the class to
    arrive - the lecturer was actually quite shocked with what I had taken
    (as was I!). I had told him that I would be quite embarrassed about the
    pictures on it because I was having difficulty finding the right light
    for the film, and had taken shots with 1/1 - 1/30 with no tripod. When
    looking thought the films on the light box, we both overlooked my film
    thinking it was one of the first year degree students! Most of the
    shots came out really well, some of the later ones on the film were
    blurred, but some sunsets behind clouds at the local beach were very

    I have a great submission for the "Dereliction" SI now anyway :)

    After I got back to class, the night started by us being given the
    portraits we had taken last week. The two I took, and the two of myself
    were OK.

    The rest of the night was really about how to process HP5 Ilford 500
    35mm film -

    o Load the film onto the spindle

    o 5 minutes in the developer with 30 seconds agitation
    to start with, then 5 seconds agitation every 30 seconds
    for the remainder, in the total dark.

    o 30 seconds in the stop bath, continuous agitation, again
    in the total dark.

    o 10 minutes in the fixer, same agitation as the developer,
    the lights can go on after 5-8 minutes in here.

    o 2 minutes in the first running wash bath

    o 20 minutes in the second running wash bath

    o Rinse in the "soapy water thing", I forget what this
    was called.

    o Hang up in the drier.

    After this we practiced with some dummy film loading the spindles. The
    lecturer told us the secret was to cut away the sharp edges of the film
    so it guides round the spindle easier. I found this bit quite easy. We
    all also realised the benefit of leaving the leader out - you can get
    the spindle ready in the light!

    We then had a trip to the developing room where, 3 people at a time, we
    had to develop the film we took during the week. We each took turns to
    agitate the film. It was a little awkward - being in a totally dark
    room with two people I hardly knew :)

    When we finished our films, the other groups went in and developed their

    The last half an hour was spent going over what exactly aperture is, we
    you would use different shutter speeds at different times and depth of

    Finally the night concluded with us looking at our negatives on the
    light box! Mine actually looked OK, and all the exposures were of equal
    density. A few of the students had over and under-exposed on a few
    shots, but overall they were all OK.

    I am a little worried about when we print the pictures though - when I
    was taking my pictures, I was that concerned about making sure the
    shutter speed was fast enough, and that the light meter was correct,
    some of the time I forgot to focus! I couldn't tell if the pictures
    were out of focus on the light table, but I think I will be able to see
    when we print them.

    For next week we have to shoot a roll of film, and get hold of some
    larger multigrade paper for our contact prints, and some ring-bound
    negative holders for our negatives.

    After the class I told my girlfriend I had developed pictures, and she
    immediately wanted to see them, she was pretty shocked when I explained
    developing means processing the film, not getting "photographs" like
    when you got to the chemist :)


    Andrew McCall
    Andrew McCall, Feb 12, 2004
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  2. Andrew McCall

    The Wogster Guest

    What most people do, is use the dark room to load the film onto a spool
    and then put it in a light tight developing tank. I often liked to do
    this using a Changing bag, which leaves hands, spindle, reel and tank in
    the dark, but the rest of me in the light. A developing tank is
    designed so that the chemicals can be poured in and out while the film
    remains firmly in the dark.

    The soapy water thing is called "wetting agent", it makes the water
    wetter so that it tends to run down the film and not dry in streaks and
    spots, which can be difficult to remove.

    The Wogster, Feb 13, 2004
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  3. Andy, I will second the comment about using a changing bag... No
    photographer should be wihout one... You can clear a film jam without
    fogging your film... You can change film in the middle of a roll and then
    put that roll back in without losing shots <if you are methodical>, you can
    load 3200 speed film, or IR film, in bright sunshine without fogging, and
    on, and on...

    "The Wogster" <> wrote in
    Dennis O'Connor, Feb 13, 2004
  4. Andrew McCall

    ian green Guest

    the trick is : 2-3 drops of shampoo / 0.5l water for the last bath == no

    ian green
    Xeto : photo & graphic project
    ian green, Feb 15, 2004
  5. Andrew McCall

    Edwin Petree Guest


    Can I quiz you, make sure you were paying attention :)

    What happens if you agitate too much? What would happen if you agitated

    What happens if you leave it in the developer for too long, or too short, a

    What happens if you don't wash it enough?
    Are film squeegees worth the money, or are they just a toy?
    Edwin Petree, Feb 15, 2004
  6. Andrew McCall

    The Wogster Guest

    Agitation is to remove stale developer from near the film, replacing it
    with fresh(er) developer. You can often agitate constantly, but then
    you should reduce development time, otherwise it's the same as over
    development. Not agitating enough can leave spots of unprocessed image,
    when in doubt agitate more, not less.
    This applies to Black and White ONLY!!!

    If it's a little too long, then you tend to denser negatives (less
    contrast), if you forget it in there, then eventually it will get so
    dense as to give you a white image when printed. Now if you know you
    underexposed, then you can overdevelop to compensate, this is called
    pushing the film. Some photographers will routinely push old technology
    400ASA film to 800 or 1600ASA and get away with it. By the same
    token, if you accidentily exposed a roll of 400ASA at 200ASA then you
    can under develop to compensate this is called pulling. Under
    development can increase contrast, but you may still lose some of the

    The time/temperature scales usually give the best result. Ilford used
    to publish technical guides for their films, they now call them fact
    sheets and they are available from the Ilford website, if you use Ilford
    films, then download the fact sheets for the film you want and print a
    copy. Although they call it a fact sheet the one for HP5 runs 7 pages......

    For colour all bets are off, process it for the recommended time at the
    recommended temperature, agitate as per the instructions, otherwise it
    can take forever and a week to get the colour shifts balanced correctly.

    Most fixer contains a chemical called Thiosulphate, this chemical is
    used to remove undeveloped silver from the image, if you don't wash
    enough then the remaining Thiosulphate will eventually attack the
    developed silver in the image, and you will get staining of the
    negative. When in doubt wash more, not less. There are chemicals that
    you can buy that will help neutrilize the Thiosulphate and reduce
    washing times.
    The squeegees will help remove water, however they have to be kept
    absolutely clean, wet film emulsions tend to be softer then dry ones,
    any dust or dirt that gets embedded in the squeegee will scratch the
    film. If it's a squeegee that your unsure whether it has been stored
    properly, then do not use it. I admit to using them, if I was in a
    hurry, but usually didn't bother. Your best to use a set of weighted
    film clips, or good old fashioned wooden clothes pegs, put a nail or
    tack through the end to grip the film better. Hang the wet film in as
    dust free a place as you can find, and leave it alone to dry. The
    wetting agent will cause the water to run down the film, and you will
    often find that the bottom end is a little damp, after 6 or 7 hours
    drying time, but the rest is dry, I used to give it nearly 24 hours
    hanging time. If your printing the film chemically, cut it into 4 - 6
    frame strips, and put the strips into one of those negative holders. I
    liked the ones that fit into 3 ring binders.

    One thing you can do with those, is put the whole plastic page on top of
    a 8x10 sheet of printing paper, and give it a moderate exposure, and
    process, this gives you a contact sheet. I would then 3 hole punch the
    contact sheet and put it with the negative page. I still have a bunch I
    did in the 1970's these little prints can be examined with a loupe to
    get an idea as to whether the negative worked or not. It's also easier
    to tell what the picture is of, even many years later.

    If your scanning it, and you have a scanner, where there is a bulk scan
    capability of scanning a whole roll at one sitting, you can scan the
    roll before cutting.


    The Wogster, Feb 16, 2004
  7. Andrew McCall

    MikeWhy Guest

    Follow up questions: What is gamma in context of characteristic curves? How
    does varying development time/temp affect gamma?
    Follow up question: How is film speed determined? Is there a single accepted
    precise definition?
    Actually, you can push and pull color film, both negatives and transparency,
    by varying the first developer, the same as you do with B&W. Color shifts
    can be manipulated by adjusting the pH of the color developer.
    MikeWhy, Feb 16, 2004
  8. Sure you can - although it was really just an introduction to the
    development process...
    That wasn't discussed, althought from a little reading around I have
    learned that if you agitate too much or all the time the negative will
    have a darker contrast.
    If you leave it in the developer too long a time the negative will
    eventually darken. I think this is because the alkaline keeps on
    reacting with the silver in the film - this is a similar effect too much
    agitation, correct?

    If you leave it in too short a time, there chemicals won't have all
    reacted, so when you get it out in the light again your negative will
    start to cloud.
    Mmmm well, you won't wash all the chemicals off, but I don't know what
    effect this will have on the film.
    Worth the money - otherwise you might get blotches on your negatives!

    I also hear that drying cabinets are woth the money, otherwise you would
    get dust on the film whilst its drying - something that a lot of home
    developers don't have.


    Andrew McCall
    Andrew McCall, Feb 16, 2004
  9. Andrew McCall

    Edwin Petree Guest

    I forgot to say: Thanks for posting this series. I'm finding it

    It sounds like you're enjoying the course too!
    Edwin Petree, Feb 16, 2004
  10. Andrew McCall

    Edwin Petree Guest

    [snip list of my questions and some nice explanations]

    blimey! Thanks for that.

    I'm ploughing through "basic photography" (mj langford) so any theory is
    Edwin Petree, Feb 16, 2004
  11. Andrew McCall

    The Wogster Guest

    See below....
    I don't recall exact specifications, refer to the technical data
    provided by the film manufacturer. In the case of Ilford their Fact
    Sheet should have this information.
    Do you mean the rated speed, or the exposure value, because they are
    different, in the case of rated speed, the film manufacturer is
    following a set of ISO specifications as to density of the negative,
    etc. You can get copies of the specifications from ISO, expect to pay
    big bucks for them though. Exposure values, often are provided by the
    Which is why I stated that the information was for Black and White only,
    colour is different. While it may be possible, it requires slightly
    different techniques...
    The Wogster, Feb 18, 2004
  12. Andrew McCall

    ericm1600 Guest

    You *can* overwash. For prints, it's actually more archival to have a
    little bit of residual thiosulphate left in the paper.
    ericm1600, Feb 18, 2004
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