As promised, here’s a sample of all the things that have gone wrong since I started to develop my own B+W film at home.
In an attempt to do this in an orderly fashion, I’ll start from the first times I tried to load the film into the reel. Although I practised several times in the light and then in the dark with a scrap film – one I had ruined pressing the button to open the camera instead of the one to rewind the film, but that’s another story for another time – things didn’t always go as smoothly as I’d hoped.
Do you see the crescent shaped mark on the right-hand upper corner of the photograph below? It was caused by my bending or twisting the film while loading it.
Then I had to go through the ordeal of learning how to open a 35mm film canister with a bottle opener. I might not be the most coordinated person in the world, but I didn’t expect the process to be so complicated and slow. Once I got so frustrated that I turn to the wine bottle opener (well, the notches not the corkscrew). It worked, but I ended up damaging the film… in an emotional outburst.
I must not have tightly closed the tank the time I had light leaks on the image and marks on the rebate of the film.
The times I run into uneven development problems, film resulted fairly lighter or with undeveloped patches along one side. I have three possible explanations for this: I didn’t pour enough developer to cover the film in the tank, I incorrectly loaded the film into the reel or I didn’t tap the tank after each agitation to get rid of possible bubbles. If you have any other possible explanation, please let me know leaving a comment.
Far too often I managed to damage the surface of the film, learning the hard way that the emulsion side of the film is very delicate when it’s wet.
I had drying marks (that circular mark is the residue left on the film by a tiny droplet of water)
and dust settling on film while it was hanging up to dry.
Because of my not very accurate handling of the film, I ended up with all sort of scratches.
The straight(ish) scratch in the image below is called tram-line and is caused by dirt or grit on the squeegee.
So far I believe I’ve made every single mistake you would expect from a beginner. Nevertheless, I still think few things are more rewarding than film development so… here’s to making mistakes and learning from them!