Sunday, October 28, 2012

Film! Black and white! 120mm! New Mexico!

So as the title might imply, this post comes with a lot of joy and exclamation points. A while ago, I was given a medium format Yashica Mat 124g by someone (I think my aunt). Obtaining 120mm film isn't the easiest task anymore, but I decided that the New Mexico trip was definitely a time to break out this camera.

I checked out the camera, cleaned it up a little, but I took a gamble and didn't shoot a test roll. I knew I wouldn't be able to get it developed before I left on my trip, so it wasn't really going to help much anyway. I was also unable to get the battery compartment open, so I was going to have use my DSLR, charts and intuition for exposure. Since the trip, the exposed rolls have been sitting in a bag, waiting to be developed.

This weekend I finally managed to get all the needed pieces together to develop the black and white 120mm film at home! It's been about 8 years since I developed black and white film, but it was something that came back pretty easily. In college I would regularly spend time in the dark room on saturday night while others were partying - it was more fun most of the time, holed up in the little room with music and the chemicals and lack of other distractions making interesting pictures appear on paper.

I hadn't used 120mm film before or the stainless steel film reels, so I did end up with a few half-moon kinks in my film. I was having some problems keeping the paper backing away from the reel while feeding the film until I finally peeled the paper off completely- of course I practiced on a roll 10 times and had it down pat, but it's always different when you can't turn on the lights at all. Overall though, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out and I had a good time developing the film and listening to some somafm. I only developed one roll so far, but plan on doing more this week hopefully. This first roll is completely from the 700+ year old Gila Cliff Dwellings in Gila National Park in New Mexico. My scanner is limited, so I ended up building a little light box substitute thing and taking photos of the negatives with my DSLR and then inverting them to get the positive images (that's why some of the images aren't the best with weird edges and sometimes a little blurry). Hopefully I can make some prints at some point (I still need some enlarger pieces.)

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