For a while now I have been meaning to process my own film again. Over the period of a few months I started collecting the various bits and pieces of equipment necessary; developing tank, changing bag, thermometer, black and white film, chemistry etc.
Recently I purchased a beautiful looking 1953 Voigtlander Vito B camera from an Op Shop. I had it serviced in Lima, Peru whilst on holidays there recently. It has been an enjoyable challenge shooting without the aid of any light meters, focusing screen or rangefinder. I have been guessing the aperture, exposure and focal distance resulting in some blurry and/or under exposed shots. Whilst picking up my digital SLR is much more convenient, I occasionally going back to the fundamentals and appreciating the art and science that is photography.
At about 1am the other morning I finally realised that I had a full roll of film and everything necessary to develop it in my bathroom, so I quickly got to work. About half way through I realised it was not as easy as my university days when I had access to a large darkroom, pre-diluted chemistry and temperature controlled taps. About three-quarters of the way through I was convinced that I had probably stuffed it up and would not yield any results from the film. The first few frames unraveled from the reel were absent of images, but then to my surprise images started appearing us I unraveled it further. When I tell people I still shoot film sometimes they look puzzled. They do not understand how much more satisfying it is to unravel a roll from a tank and see developed images as opposed to downloading photos off of a memory card. The physical actions involved in loading the tank, mixing the chemicals, the smell of the chemicals, agitation and hanging the negatives in the shower are a world away from clicking a mouse.
This weekend, I look forward to shooting a few more rolls of Black and White film and processing them in my bathroom. Stay tuned for some more pics.