Processing Nicely

Something that I really wanted to do getting into film photography, was to start developing my own films. A few videos on YouTube later, I bit the bullet and ordered myself a Paterson tank and some B&W Ilford chemicals (processing C41 sounds a bit too tricky right now).

Much to my surprise, with the Christmas holiday right in the middle, it all arrived pretty quickly – thanks to a certain online retailer’s speedy delivery service. The only problem was, I didn’t have anything to develop – all my films had gone to the lab already.

So, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. I took my inherited and, as yet, untested, Zenit for a walk, and burned through a whole 24 frames of Kodak ColorPlus 200. Having become used to being slow and measured when shooting film, this felt very decadent.

The Zenit seemed OK. I lost a few frames because I forgot it has a funny aperture ring on it (you set the aperture but it stays wide open so you can see through the viewfinder. You then have to manually close it). I lost another few frames half way through my walk when the shutter decided to go into B mode for no discernable reason. Still, I finished the roll and hurried home and waited for it to get dark.

Loading the film in complete darkness was easier than I thought. As the Kodak is a C41 film, I had to guess the processing times, but after an hour of pouring stinky chemicals around, I had my roll of film.

I learned a few lessons. Namely that I might have been being a tad ambitious, considering I:

1. Shot the roll on an untested camera.

2. Was using a cheap film.

3. Was cross-processing on my first ever attempt.

Which means I will never know which one of those contributed to some of the more … exotic … results.

I did, however, get a few salvageable shots and, all things considered, enjoyed the experience and was pleased with the results – even if they do look like they were shot 60 years ago.

High Street

The local High Street, c.1945


The Road out of Town


Village Green (reminds me of a Victorian postcard…)

And then, there was this…


The Learning Experience

Happy new year, everybody. Keep on shooting.


6 thoughts on “Processing Nicely

  1. There are so many aspects of film to love that even in its imperfections there is a fondness that makes every single photo a good one. I truly do like the ones that turned out! You’re way more adventurous than me, I haven’t tried developing at all! 🙂 Happy new year!


    1. Thank you, Katie. You’re absolutely right; that’s part of what I love about working with film – it’s like bringing something to life each time. Taking the film out of the tank for the first time and seeing that it actually had images on it was an amazing experience. Have a wonderful 2015 🙂


  2. This is a path I am about to set off on. I have not processed film for 30 years, so have to relearn everything. Should be fun, and shooting a roll of film for this purpose only means I won’t be too disappointed if it all goes wrong.


    1. That’s exactly what I did – shot a roll that I wouldn’t mind losing! I found the whole process very rewarding, and I think mistakes are part of art too. Good luck on your film journey 🙂


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