My Medium Format Journey Part 4

As the more observant readers will remember, this isn’t the first time I’ve been in the land of medium format. In fact about 40 years ago I was regularly developing my own black and white film. Now when I was thinking of ‘going back’ to medium format it did briefly occur to me that I would be able to do that all over again. And that’s where it stayed, until shortly after getting the camera I say an advert on Facebook for a one day black and white photography course at the Photo Parlour in Nottingham. This included tuition in developing film and making prints. Well other than £100 what was there to loose. So on a cold foggy January morning I travelled over to Nottingham with my trusty 645 to re-acquaint myself with the dark arts. It was amazing how much of it came back after 40 years. After all, it’s probably the only bit of photography which hasn’t changed in all those years. Dan, the owner, took us through the entire process and I cam away with a developed film and two nice 10x8 prints.

Now we haven’t got room for a darkroom, but it occurred to me that with my newly acquired scanner, I could develop the film and the scan the negatives. It’s called a hybrid workflow I believe. So I started looking at the prices of the bits of kit I needed to get started. Now being just after Christmas the budget was a bit tight and I was on the point of parking the idea when a friend on Facebook offered to give me a developing tank and changing bag (yes that was you Ed if you’re, thanks very much) That reduced the cost by 50% so why not?

So a couple of weekends later I assembled all the bits and a roll of freshly exposed Ilford FP4 in the kitchen while the wife was out, and commenced the operation. The bit I’d been dreading most was loading the film into the tank in the changing bag, as at this point you’re past the point of no return but that was surprisingly easy. The developing went OK, but I was a bit disappointed to discover on close inspection that one side if the film wasn’t as well developed as the other. Some internet research suggested that either insufficient liquid had been used, or a longer time was required. For my second film I’ve done both and it’s much better.

Scanning Black and White is much easier than scanning colour, and the resultant prints, whilst nothing special compositionally proved the concept, which was largely the point of the exercise.

Now, back to the main journey.....