Processing B/W film at home

Processing B/W film at home

Years ago, when I was first getting heavily into photography, I'd spend more hours than perhaps I needed to at used camera shops, talking to people who knew more than I did — typically these were people who pursued the craft in their spare time, and who loved looking at a pretty stack of lenses as much as I did. It was right before digital photography took off. DSLR's were not something you saw every day, and I was quite excited at that point to get rid of film if I could ever afford a digital camera.

One of the gentlemen I spoke with said, "Digital has made photography fun for me again." Oh, how times have changed.

Today, of course, it's all digital, all the time. So what to do to make photography fun again? For my personal work, I've started processing film at home. Old school, lo-fi, analog. It took a little while to get my chemistry right, and I ruined a few rolls in the process, despite the fact that this is high school level stuff which I used to be able to do with ease.

Finally, I made some progress back down the analog road, digging out old cameras that haven't seen action in over a decade and doing what every photographer who has more than zero children does: capturing my kids in whatever way they'll let me. Slowing down, knowing that every click of the shutter now costs me a quarter or so. But I love the look I'm getting. Here are some frames from a few rolls over the last week, around the house and out and about. Sure, they're imperfect, and that's part of the appeal.

I'll also say that one of the best parts about shooting film is the element of anticipation and surprise. No more instant feedback — we have to wait, and somehow that makes it even better.

The first few frames are Kodak Tri-X 400, pushed to 1600. Nikon F100, 35/1.4, processed in HC-110.

And these last few images, Kodak Tri-X, shot and processed normally in HC-110.

I'm sure there will be lots more like this in weeks to come...