Finally!

Between the COVID-19 lockdown, the hypercautious continuing reopening here in New Jersey and the dislocation of leaving our home of the last 47 years I have had a difficult time returning to photography. I finally located what I thought was all of the equipment and materials I used for developing and scanning my negatives. My Epson R2880 printer did not survive the move. It took a while to choose and source a replacement, but that is a topic for a future post. First, I need some new negatives to print.

Fairly early in the moving and unpacking process I negotiated for the use of the sink in the guest bathroom and two drawers in the bathroom vanity for my film developing setup. In the old house I had an overhead shelf where I kept my liquid materials – a 1 gallon jug of distilled water, a 1 liter bottle of fixer, and a 250ml bottle of Rodinal. There is no such shelf in the new bathroom, and no practical way of installing one. I decided that, to start anyway, I would keep the distilled water in the pantry immediately across the hall from the bathroom and use a squat 500ml plastic bottle that just fits upright in the drawer for the fixer. The bottle of Rodinal will fit in the drawer as is.

Believing that I had everything required, I decided I would develop a roll of film today, digging things out of various boxes scattered around the house and putting them in the bathroom setup as I needed them.

I started by taking a few quick pictures in the back yard to finish the 24-exposure roll of Tri-X in the IIIf. I rewound the film, removed the FILCA cassette from the camera and put it in the changing bag with the Hewes reel, the Kindermann tank and a pair of blunt-nosed scissors. I then loaded the film onto the reel – no mean trick considering it was in the camera since February and had a severe backwards curl. Thank you Mr. Hewes!

The next step was to mix a batch of fixer. Fetching the Ilford Rapid Fixer concentrate, a jug of distilled water, a 150ml graduate, a 1 liter graduate, a 500ml bottle and a stirring rod, I measured 100ml of concentrate into the 1 liter graduate, added 200ml of distilled water, gave it a vigorous stir, added the remaining 200ml of distilled water, gave it another vigorous stir, poured it into the 500ml bottle, screwed the cap down tight and put the fixer working solution in a vanity drawer. Mission accomplished.

I washed and dried the graduates and the stirring rod and put them in a vanity drawer. That left the jug of distilled water and the bottle of fixer concentrate needing homes. The fixer concentrate went back into the plastic file box in which it made the trip to our new home. It will probably reside permanently in that box in the closet of the spare bedroom immediately adjacent to the guest bathroom. In the old house, the working bottle of distilled water moved around the house with the seasons to keep it at a good working temperature. One way or another I will make that work in our new home too.

I may well have forgotten something but, hopefully, I am now ready to develop the roll of film. But first it’s time for lunch and a nap…

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