Preparing to Process my Own Film for the First Time

It has been about seven months since I started fooling around with film photography again, after a break of decades.  My daughter suggested we try and load up an old folder we had picked up years ago at a flea market in Belgium – I blogged about it back in February.  Today, laughing, she said she wishes she’d never suggested that, because ever since then I’ve been on an eBay buying spree, acquiring an additional 38 in the meantime, with 12 currently in transit.

I’m running up a tab on PayPal, but the real cost we’ve eliminated in the move to digital cameras has been the cost of film, film processing, and printing. I was getting my film scanned rather than printed, and realized I could quickly recoup the cost of scanning by investing in my own scanner. Plus some of the photo shops have been treating my negatives pretty shoddily. After some research, I’ve finally decided to take the next step and process my own film as well. I ordered all of the chemicals from our friends at B&H Photo, and then I paid all of 3 bucks for a Vintage FR developing tank on eBay (still in the original box, with a guarantee certificate and instruction booklet inside!)

Now the big decision – do I develop an existing roll of black and white film, or take a new “practice” roll?  I opted to take a new roll tomorrow – now I need to figure out which camera I’m going to use:



I’m going to try black and white first – everyone says that’s less challenging – so I’ll probably grab one of the box cameras because you can hold them waist high and snap photos on the street without people getting irritated – somehow they are more subtle than holding a camera up to your face.  So we’ll see how this goes. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is starting – this is one of the biggest festivals of the year, in which likenesses of the Hindu god Ganesha will be immersed in the sea and/or other bodies of water.  I saw some teenagers down the street today with a load of clay presumably working on making water-soluble versions of the elephant-headed deity.  Let’s see how that turns out in black and white, and then try and process it.

Although I hate to take away business from my local photo processing shop.  Especially when they offer innovative services like “digitalizing your memory”:


Of course, this costs extra.  I bought the scanner so I can “digitalize my memory” on my own – and now I will hopefully be able to handle the rest as well.

For what it’s worth, the swastika is a daily feature in India – it’s a symbol of luck, no connection to the folks who appropriated a modified version of the symbol in the 1930s/40s.

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