Monday, December 17, 2012

Film Development Part 2: Making the Chemicals

A few months ago, I started a series talking about the development process. I'm going to continue on with it today with Part 2 of my guide. Better late then never, or so I was told.

This week I'm going to show some pictures from when I was mixing my chemicals to be used. This was my first time mixing chemicals for black and white film so I've since learned what I like, what I want next time and how to mix it easier/better next time.

Here is a quick shot of what you need to begin

A thermometer. These are really cheap at your local photography store
A funnel for pouring the finished product into the bottles
A stirring device

1.25 Gallon jug Prefferably brown times 2
Developer. I use Kodak XTOL
A Graduated Cylindar and a measuring cup. This patterson grad cyl is a workhorse

Thats the big ol list of what you need to make it happen. The only items not pictured are the fixing agent (fixer) and the 5 gallon mixing bucket. Home Depot sells a generic 5 gallon bucket. I'll use one of these next time because the pitcher I used REALLY wasn't big enough. It was about 2/3s the space I needed. And its easier to mix when you dump the powder packets in the water.

First you start off with the developer. The package of XTOL has the directions on the label and they should be followed as closely as possible. Mix Packet A Into the water and then dump in packet B. You'll want to stir the solution with a a wooden spoon or mixing paddle until each one dissolves. It might take a little while so be patient. The bigger bucket should help out with it because you'll have more room to dissolve

The other chemical I got for developing was a fixing agent, but I highly reccomend you pick up some stop bath because it will speed up developing times and in my opinion it makes everything work smoother and you probably get a better result in the end. If you smell the stop bath, it almost smells vinegarish because it is pretty much the same. Its called Acetic Acid, but it stops the actual development process of the silver crystals. I just substituted water for this chemical which is cool too.

For the fixing agent, I just picked up the generic store version. From Freestyle Photo, the brand is called Legacy Pro, but its supposed to be a direct copy of the Kodak Hardening Fixer. That comes in one mondo powder packet. It takes a bit longer to dissolve into the water than the developer did and it kind of has a sulfuric smell to it. If your nose is sensitive, I would suggest mixing this in a well ventilated area while wearing a face mask and gloves.

The fourth chemical in the process is called Hypo Clear. Its used to really reduce the washing time of the film. I didn't get it this time either, but I did mix some before that I used on my darkroom prints. You use it when you're washing pictures made with Fiber based paper. I also used water in lieu of this chemical, but it takes about 10 minutes longer if you don't use this chemical.

The last chemical you have to make is called Photo Flo. Its what is called a wetting agent. Its used to keep water spots from developing on your film when its the dryer or on the line. This needs to be measured correctly or else you'll get spots from too much of the chemical. The bottle I got will last me forever because there is way more water then the chemical itself. I also bought the generic version of this one as well.

The last on the checklist is to have a line you can pin your finished roll of negatives on so they can drip dry. I went and bought a camping clothesline because it was 2 bucks and I bought a bag of clothes pins for hanging them on the line.

On the next in this series, I'll go through the actual process. Here are a list of links for the chemicals I used from Freestyle Photo.

XTOL Develpoer
Stop Bath
Fixing Agent/fixer
Hypo Clear
Photo Flo