Friday, March 5, 2010

Photo Lab 2 (Or "Panic In The Darkroom")

Last night in photo lab we developed our first rolls of film. While it was nowhere close to MY first roll of film, it was still just as exciting as the first.

Unless you've experienced it, there really is no way it can be explained. I'm gonna try though.

You load a roll of film into a camera, (hopefully) take some pictures, rewind the roll and pop it out.

You walk into a COMPLETELY black room, pop the film can open, load the film into a reel, and cut the end of the negative off without cutting off your finger. Then you load the reel into a tank which will protect the film from light while its being developed, turn on the light and have a minor heart attack thinking that your tank wasn't completely closed. (It was.)

You pour a diluted chemical (developer) into the tank, let it work for a set number of minutes, rinse the tank with water (stop bath) then fill your tank with fixer.

After 10 minutes, you pour out your fixer and open up your tanks to see your film for the first time. Without touching the film, you try as hard as you can to see any image on the film, then panic when you can't.

So, you cross your fingers, pray under your breath, and drop your reel into a "wash" for 15 minutes. You nervously comment on how some of the film, including yours, look purple instead of gray like everyone else's.

Finally, you retrieve your reel (hopefully yours and not some stranger's) and drop it into the Photo Flo (a bubble bath for film) for a minute and a half, then RUN out to the other room, pop your film out of the reel and squeal when you see your images for the first time.

Seriously, no matter how many rolls of film I develop, I will ALWAYS squeal the first time I see pictures on my negatives. Always.

Unfortunately, you can't get a good look yet because wet negatives are very delicate and prone to scratching, so you carefully hang the long strip of negatives in the dryer, squeegee the excess Photo Flo off the film and tap your fingers anxiously on the counter waiting for them to dry.

After what seems like an eternity, your film is dry and you can gently pry it from the dryer, place it on the backlit counters and squeal again when you see how COOL some of your photos came out.

You cut your negatives into smaller strips and attempt to slide them into negative protectors, then sit down because you are absolutely exhausted from the anxiety, trauma, stress and panic you just endured developing that precious roll of film.

If you guys want to see what the reels loaded with the film look like, check out Choleesa's World. She was a good blogger and took a picture.

Next week we are actually printing photos from this roll of film. Hopefully I'll have time to scan some of the images in and share with you. I'm also working on getting my prints from last week scanned for you guys too. I want you all to share this journey with me!


  1. well, I would say that pretty much sums it up.... you didnt mention though, the minute (you know....pronounced MY NOOOT, not minut)streak of fear you get in the dark room, when the realization hits you that you could one day go blind and end up in this state for the rest of your life.....pretty slim chance but......

  2. Now that is just cool LOL! I'd be to scared to mess up!! Because I could definitely be the messer upper LOL!!! Can't wait to see them!

  3. OMG! If I had to go through that with each roll of film? I'd die...I know what I go through with each cake! So I feel your pain. I'll stick to my point and shoot, I'm too impatient. But your pics. are worth it! Go girl!

  4. You brought it all back!!! I havent thought about that process since grade 12 (some...10 years ago now!!) It was SOOOO exciting!!! I loved the dark room. Everything about it... there is something so romantic and magic about it all, dont you think? I cant wait for your next post.

  5. Hay Mama H! You won something over at my site, come check it out ok? And don't forget to email me your mailing address ok? And Congratulations!


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