Phoebe's Misadventures Developing Film

1

When my oldest daughter decided to help me develop some film, things didn't go quite as we planned.

Earlier this week I decided to tackle a pile of black and white film that’s been waiting to be developed for months. As I was setting up the chemicals my oldest daughter, Phoebe asked if she could help. Since I had four canisters to develop, each at different times, I readily accepted. I’ve been hesitant to let the kids help me with the developing process but at twelve-going-on-fourty-five-years-old, Phoebe is plenty mature enough to concentrate on the task at hand. Plus, I was excited to introduce her to this side of analogue photography.

With chemicals at the right temperature and the right kind of tunes on the iPod (funk and soul, of course!) we started dancing to the music as we agitated the film in the wetting stage.

Having Phoebe was really helpful. Our first two tanks had developing times that were 30 seconds apart, so I was able to start her developing process ahead of mine. With good timing and preparation we were able to finish the process together. Since I had four tanks to get through, it was a huge time saver.

I suppose the first clue that something was amiss would have been the dark, cola-like color of my developer, Ilfosol 3. I opened it about six months ago and it lives in my garage, which has seen a few temperature changes in that time. I’ve always stored my chemicals in the same place and I’ve used Ilfosol 3 when it was brown before, so I didn’t anticipate any problems, until I saw pink liquid drain out of the tank after the developing step. Undeterred, it was on to the washing stage for both of our films.

I noticed our film looked kind of pinkish but stranger things have happened. It was when the Permawash turned bubble-gum pink that I knew something was wrong.

Yeah, that’s never happened. Still we plugged on, but when it was time for the final, magic step—the reveal of the pictures on the negatives—this is what we saw.

As the father in “A Christmas Story” says..“He looks like a big, pink nightmare”. I was frustrated. Not only were two rolls of film ruined, but Phoebe didn’t get to experience the fun of seeing the pictures on the film. I was sure she’d be my darkroom buddy forever after seeing pictures appear on the film because it’s such a great reward after all the mixing of chemicals, timing of steps and shaking of canisters.

I quickly went back over the process in my head. Maybe I didn’t dilute the developer properly? This time I made extra sure to be very, very careful when measuring and calculating. Here’s what the next two rolls looked like and where they ended up.

GRRR!!! Six rolls of film turned out to be really, pretty garbage. My fixer was fine, even after the process. Here’s a shot of Phoebe testing it when we were finished.

The stop bath, too, appeared normal. It was still the same lovely shade of yellow at the end of our session. I can only infer that the developer went bad in the garage. Fortunately, there was none left after our disastrous session.

I didn’t get upset, although I did express my disappointment to Phoebe. I told her how fun that moment is when you unwind the film and see your pictures. I told her I was bummed that she didn’t get the same experience. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just the way it goes with film” is what I told her. She was really great and told me the next time I had film to develop, she’d love to help.

written by ipdegirl on 2012-02-09 in #lifestyle #kids #developing #chemicals #mistake #children #life #lessons #helping #white #film #misadventure #black #home

One Comment

  1. stratski
    stratski ·

    Great story. Sorry about your pictures, but at least you got some new ones of Phoebe developing... (Also, I'm sort of glad I'm not the only one who ruined a couple of films through bad chemicals these past few weeks...)

More Interesting Articles

  • Fresh from the Lab: 1990

    written by adi_totp on 2014-08-08 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: 1990

    A weekend without a lomowalk seems bad, at least for me. One Saturday morning, I decided to join my friends in their lomowalk. It was all cloudy at first but it didn't stop me from going out and walking. I brought my new Nikon FM2 and some expired rolls, just to test my camera. Was it just me being sleepy, or was my Nikon FM2 acting up? My photos turned out grainy, pale, and, in my opinion, looking so 1990s?

    1
  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    written by dermanu on 2014-08-31 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand located at the Danish west coast with my brothers and my parents. However, I didn't anymore when I grew up. But in 2012, we hit the road again. It was my first visit there in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In this article, I'm going to present to you the photos I took with my Nikon F-501 SLR.

  • Spinner 360: Pull the Cord and Let the Magic Happen!

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-09 in #reviews
    Spinner 360: Pull the Cord and Let the Magic Happen!

    The story between the Spinner 360 and I goes way back to the year 2010, when Lomography decided to send me a beta model of the Spinner 360 to test. It was a complete surprise! I thought, "What the hell is that?" as I first took this camera out of the package. Then, when my little brother grabbed it from me and pulled the cord, it buzzed and turned 360°! We all had the same expression: "Whoa..."

    4
  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • Falling In Love With The LC-A 120

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-06 in #gear #reviews
    Falling In Love With The LC-A 120

    There are quite a few perks that come with working for a film photography company, and the best perk of all is testing out the latest cameras. I can remember buying my LC-A back in 2009 and being really inspired to shoot film again. When the LC-A 120 came along, I couldn't wait to try it out around London. Join me as I test out this super medium format beauty.

  • Experiencing the Rainforest Adventure Experience

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-05-17 in #world #locations
    Experiencing the Rainforest Adventure Experience

    When I was a kid, one of my greatest joys was to go to the park. I especially loved playgrounds. It didn't matter how may other children there were, as long as I could have my turn to go on the slide and and sit on the swing. These days, enjoying one's childhood has become so different. Technology has stolen the interest of children in more physically demanding yet fun activities.

    1
  • Tinker on the fly: A color filter made from spoiled film

    written by dopa on 2014-05-25 in #gear #tipster
    Tinker on the fly: A color filter made from spoiled film

    Probably each one of you has been annoyed with failed film. This is particularly annoying when you get the developed film back from the lab, but you get blanks because the film was not exposed. It's either the film transport didn't work, or you have not taken the lens cap off, etc. Read on and I'll show you an alternative to just throwing away the film: Simply use it as a color filter for your camera, with the La Sardina for example.

    3
  • Shop News

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Done shooting and want your films to be processed? We can process your colour and black & white 35mm, 120 or 110 films! Development, prints and scans are also included. (Service availability depends on your markets)

  • My Year in Analogue: Something New, Something Old

    written by murdoc_niccals on 2014-12-15 in #lifestyle
    My Year in Analogue: Something New, Something Old

    Hi, everyone! I'd like to share with you my 2014 summary on analogue photography. Some things I did were completely new, while some were my good old habits. This year I learned how to develop black and white film, which I consider my greatest milestone. But the most important thing is that in 2014, I remain in love with Lomography! And the rest? Well, let's see...

    3
  • LomoScanner 2.0 Is Live And Kicking On Google Play!

    written by hembot on 2014-08-26 in #news
    LomoScanner 2.0 Is Live And Kicking On Google Play!

    With the help of you our great users, we have been working on the exciting development of the LomoScanner 2.0 app for Android! And now it's ready to go - have a little download.

    1
  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    written by dermanu on 2014-09-22 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand, located at the Danish west coast, with my brothers and parents. I stopped going there as I grew up. In 2012 however, we hit the road again. It was my first return visit in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In part two of my journey log, I'm going to show you the pictures I took with my Lomography cameras.

  • Shop News

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Want to be more creative and level up your bokeh shots? A wide selection of special apertures for Petzval are here to blend with your artistic side and give your Petzval images some analog twists!

  • The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-06 in #gear #lifestyle
    The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    What exactly do I feel while waiting for my Lomo'Instant photos to be developed? I have to say I get a mix of "Surprise me, dear Lomo!" but also some "Did I capture it as I wanted?" kind of thought. No matter the school of thought, with the Splitzer you can add so many cool effects to your photos you'll definitely embrace it!

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 5

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-06 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 5

    Last week, I received the strangest thing through my letterbox. It was a postcard with this photograph on 1 side. The photo is of me sitting by the sea whilst I was on vacation last year. But I have literally no idea who took this shot – That’s why I came here, to ask for your help on my search for my mysterious photographer and to try and get to bottom of the riddle they wrote me. Please help me if you can!

    10
  • Art Hunter Sardinas x Marc Scheff

    written by mindofmyra on 2014-10-03 in #people #lomoamigos
    Art Hunter Sardinas x Marc Scheff

    We asked some of New York’s hottest designers to lend their talent in designing some of our La Sardina DIY cameras, and we are very excited to introduce Marc Scheff. He is a man of many talents--ranging from illustrations to web programming to computer science! He enjoy making things, helping people, and collaborating with other artists.