Wednesday, 13 February 2013

All working well in the 'darkroom'. The kit I've bought is superb!
It has brought it all back to me. So many happy memories. Mixing D76, loading film on spirals, safelights, fumbling in the dark etc. But hey...the quality of the results!
I have spent virtually nothing on the darkroom, having scoured ebay for job lots and selling the surplus on. A lot of work but believe me, well worth the time and effort.
I was in the photographic trade for many years and this is a set up I could never had afforded in the past. I have even splashed out on a battered Mamiya 645 which must be over 30 years old but works perfectly on an equally old Manfrotto tripod. Add the Metz CT1 that came with it with old nicads that take an age to charge (but I have only 15 shots a roll) it is truly 'happy days'. 
Yes, film is expensive; so too is the paper and chemicals but it is teaching me to be more selective and careful. My first few results have gained me many compliments and raised eybrows.
I will put some examples on the blog soon, even if they have to be scanned and converted to digital!


  1. Great stuff LT! I have no room for a darkroom so put all the effort into exposing and developing the films as well as I can and then scanning the negatives to process the images in Photoshop. The results are of course only hybrids, whereas yours are genuine silver prints.

    Have you tried other developers besides D76?

    Two utter belters I've enjoyed recently are 510-PYRO, for grain so fine that with film like PAN F Plus you cannot actually see the grain, and OBSIDIAN AQUA that produces such sharp negatives there is no need to sharpen the images in Photoshop...

    If you would like to try either of these let me know.


    1. Hi RR.
      I have to confess and somewhat embarrased that I do not recognise the names of the chemicals you mention. I was brought up in the Perceptol, Id11, Microphen era. The only reason I am using D76(ID11) is that it is readily available. I would love to try Pan F developed in the brands you mention. Where can I buy it from? Your pictures over Xmas were simply stunning.

  2. Ah...

    You can't buy them. You mix them up yourself.

    Since 510-Pyro contains no sulphites or bromides, all of the chemicals will dissolve at about 150F. Just add the dry chemicals to the Triethanolamine (TEA) at room temp, heat in microwave, conventional oven, or on stovetop, with continuous stirring, until all of the chemicals have dissolved, then top up to final volume.
    TEA 75 ml
    Ascorbic acid 5 g
    Pyrogallol 10 g
    Phenidone 0.25 g
    TEA to make 100 ml
    Mixing instructions: Add chemicals in specified sequence.
    Dilution: 1+100
    Starting point development time: 5-7 mins.
    Notes: Can also be diluted up to 1:500 for EDRA (extended development/reduced agitation) techniques, with one minute initial agitation, followed by one inversion every 10-15 minutes for one hour, or so."

    I mix mine in a pyrex measuring jug heated in a saucepan of water and stirred constantly until all is dissolved then add any additional TEA to bring to the level, I make 200ml at a time and bottle the syrup up in two 100ml bottles. I use a 1ml syringe to measure out the syrup and add it to tap water just before I use it. Also I use tap water for a pre-soak to avoid any airbells and tap water to stop bath the development rather than acid stop bath. I get my chemicals from eBay sources but the TEA I had to buy from a distributor that would only deliver to commercial premises so I had the stuff delivered to work. Believe me this developer is worth the effort.

    The other developer OBSIDIAN AQUA here is a link to the inventor's blog, check out the comments for more of the practicals. It is amazing stuff...

    Have you come across coffee developers? I've used it a couple of times. Similar results to D76 I'd say but scope for using it as a compensating developer and the ingredients are not poisonous!

    Here are the details in an eBook:


    1. Thanks for the info, RR. You've got me thinking. I'll check this out!

  3. Loving them pictures Commo, they nothing like the real print....
    I saw a medium format pic the other week in the flesh and was gobsmacked at how much better they are than digital...
    I noticed in Islay last year that all the foreign photographers were using film!!!
    Maybe it coming back
    Would love a big grayling picture on the Dove...