I very much enjoy processing my own BW flim, especially when it is my ultimate favourite, Fuji Neopan. Although when I first started I was developing 1-2 rolls/week, however lately I’ve dropped to closer to 1 roll/month. This gets dangerous as you get out of practice and start making little mistakes. I’ve been very fortunate to have never had a major screw-up, all my rolls have always worked out, even the first one. This has always worried me as I was sure this streak could not last.
Then about a month ago I went to a friends wedding. I was NOT told that they needed a photographer, and so for fun I thought I would try something new (and this is where it all started to go wrong). I bought some Ilford Delta 3200, put it in my Bessa R, and headed off to the wedding. Got there and it seemed like everyone had a camera and was snapping away. I took a few shots, not really sure if the meter was reading accurately in the very dark restaurant. I got home and decided to process the film. I really didn’t have enough time to do it properly, and so I rushed. Took me 3 tries to get it on the reels, didn’t quite seal the door correctly, etc. etc. When I checked the film, most of the shots were underexposed and the light leakage from the door had wrecked about half the film. I wasn’t too choked until the bride called me up in a panic because all of the other pictures people had taken were terrible, and no one had got a good one of her and her husband, THE WHOLE NIGHT! After much work scanning and in photoshop, I managed to save one photo, it was the shot of them cutting the cake. I didn’t think it was all that great as it had tons of grain, but they were thrilled.
Fast forward a month and I am developing a roll of 120 Neopan 400. Things were going smoothly but I couldn’t help but notice the developer was awfully dark. Then each time the chemicals came out of the tank, the colours seemed off. When I pulled the film out at the end of the developing, I was staring at a completely blank film. My developer had expired.
Two in a row was a bit much for me to handle, and I had a roll from a recent trip to Norway which I absolutely could not screw up! Bought some new developer (Ilford Microphen DD-X), and set to work. Was I ever relieved when it worked out perfectly, well except that I used enough chemicals for 120 when it was a roll of 35mm, but I am definitely back on the horse…. The lesson to be learned here is take your time, and take A LOT MORE PICTURES!!!!!