I’m in my second semester of my second year of college now. I’m majoring in Photography at the Alberta College of Art & Design which is in Calgary, AB (Canada).
I’m taking a class this year that I really wasn’t so excited about (all classes are mandatory). It’s called Photographic Technology. Basically, film.
Most people in my class were super stoked about everything! Couldn’t wait to load film in their cameras and shoot! That’s not the thing I had a problem with. I love shooting with my Pentax Ashai K1000. It’s a beauty.
Me with my Pentax in 2009
The thing that concerned me was how I was going to do in the darkroom. I have an extraordinary amount of allergies. 835 allergies. Yes, you read that right, 835 allergies. Some of which include silver (in the chemicals for developing) and much more. I also have asthma and eczema, so it’s really not so great for me to be in the darkroom. Most of my classmates, when developing, wear their normal clothes, nothing special. Me, on the other hand, I have to go into that room fully decked out.
Apron, long gloves, face mask, and goggles. Yep.
I’m happy to say that with all of this stuff on I was fine, and was able to stay in the darkroom, and develop my own film.
I scanned my test strips, contact sheets, and enlargements in to show you guys 🙂
So, first thing we have to do is put our film on this thing
It’s hard to explain everything step by step, especially since I’ve only done this 2 times so far, but I’ll try my best.
We’re given special paper (special paper, I’m obviously really technical) that can not be in the light or it is basically useless. We cut a piece of paper into strips for test strips and exposures. Put the strip of paper on the enlarger, put the strip of film on top of the paper and then expose it. You expose each thumbnail for a different amount of time. It can be in increments of points of a second (0.1, 0.2, 0.3, etc..), seconds, or tenths of seconds.
What you see here is an exposure strip. Starting from the right is 2 seconds, 4 seconds, 6 seconds, 8 seconds and then 10 second exposure.
My favorite of the 5 was the 8 second exposure. So now that I know that, I can expose an entire sheet of paper for 8 seconds with all of my film to make a contact sheet.
my first contact sheet
my second contact sheet
From there we have to make enlargements, which is basically a print of our image. In order to determine how long to expose the paper we have to do test strips and then determine the best exposure from there.
From the right to the left it’s 3 seconds, 6 seconds, 9 seconds, etc… All of these images that I took were done in extremely low light. Lit my lamps, cell phones, laptops, etc.. So, I went with a darker exposure just because it made more sense. For most of the images I exposed them for 12 seconds.
Here is my enlargements from on 35mm film.
I only enlarged 4 photos, so that’s what you guys get! 😀
I am no professional, especially when it comes to film, but this was definitely a lot of fun. I’ll probably still shoot film once I’m finished school, but after these classes I definitely won’t be making my way into the darkroom anymore, just because of my allergies and asthma of course. Developing film is such a different experience, it’s cool, and it’s definitely something I’m happy we’re doing in class time…but with that said I’m of the digital age, I am in the internet era! I’m not used to things happening so slowly, and I like results fast. It’s difficult for me to take things like this slow and pace myself but it was totally worth it. Also just want to say that I have shot color film before- once. This is however the first time I’ve shot black and white.
Next Photographic Technology class we’ll be working with 120mm film and medium format cameras, should be fun!
Thanks for reading, and viewing my blog. Until next time! 🙂