Playing with Chemicals

Posted 2009.09.06 17.51 in Hobbies, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I remember back in high school, I think it was grade 10, when the science teacher banned me from doing experiments. Whomever I was partnered with, got to play with the chemicals and I had to take the notes. It seemed terribly unfair, although it probably saved the school some money and agravation.

Though I maintain to this day that it wasn’t my fault — the textbooks simply should not ask “What do you think will happen if you…?” unless it’s something they realize you might try. After all, it’s science! Empirical data beats speculation hands-down. Why wonder what might happen, when you have the vial in your hand and the beaker on the desk? Just find out!

But I digress.

Having recently got my hands on some chemicals for developing black and white film, and having some colour film laying around, I decided I wanted to find out just how ‘well’ the two would mix. I’ve read that you can process colour negs with b&w chemicals, but I’ve also read that it’s tricky and takes a lot of trial and error to make it go.

Calling upon my vast pool of knowledge gained from reading about it on teh interwebz, I decided that colour film would probably need at least double the processing time as black and white film, on the grounds that colour has 3 layers (red, green, blue?) and I vaguely remember that more developing makes more contrast, and if I was going to err, I wanted to err on the side of more contrast. So I mixed up some developer and fixer and went to work on a roll of Fuji Superia ISO 200.

As you can see, the results are stunningly underwhelming. But it was fun, and that’s the main thing.

The pictures all came out super-grainy, and the negatives themselves are very dark – almost too dark to get the scanner to see them. Also, contrast was so low that in some cases I can’t tell if the image is negative or positive. A curious experiment and an excuse to play with chemicals, but not a process I’d repeat if I wanted actual photos…

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