Holi in Bangladesh Part 2: the Ruined Roll

A bit of clicking around this site will reveal I’m a film photographer. And when I went to photograph the Holi celebration for my previous post, I took with me three rolls of film. Only two turned out as intended.

I had two small developer tanks that hold two spools each – two in one, one in the other. And no sooner had I added the developer and started agitating them (I turned them upside down, as I normally do) when the lid popped off one and the film spilled out. As Murphy would have it, the one with two rolls in it. Of course, I quickly shoved the spools back in the tank and got the cover back on, but I instantly knew it was all ruined. Because a shutter exposes film for the tiniest fraction of a second, and this film had spilled into the kitchen sink for a good 3/4 to full second. Ever hopeful, however, I continued the process to its conclusion.

When I went to hang the film to dry, I was surprised to see images on the “ruined” rolls. They gradually became dimmer as I reached the end of the strip – the part that had been closest to the outside of the spool – but the “inner” parts seemed to be okay. I suspected the photos wouldn’t be perfect, but at worst, I was hoping for some “happy accidents.”

In film development, a “happy accident” is when something goes wrong – film is doubly exposed, or there’s a light leak, you leave your film in a hot car, or it’s just old film – and you end up with something kind of cool and different. Like what a lot of those lomo folks are aiming for with pre-treated or tinted films.

So, long story short, most of the photos were completely ruined. But a handful actually turned out interesting. Still disappointed they weren’t as intended, but fun nevertheless. I’ll share a few of the best below. Happy shooting! And make sure that lid’s on tight next time you’re processing film!

The ruined rolls were one each “lomo purple” – one of those aforementioned “tinted” films that is intended to give you somewhat funky results. This one was mostly just overexposed along the edge, so I applied a mask in Lightroom to darken the edge – not perfect, but at this point I’m just going with it:

The second roll was something I hadn’t tried previously – a roll of Amber D400. It’s apparently re-formatted movie stock that has been prepared or use in still cameras and gives distinct colors and looks when used in different lighting conditions. I suppose dumping the developing film into your kitchen sink would qualify as a “different lighting condition.

I like how these turned out the best. Somehow the dyes in the film all reacted differently to my mistake. A happy accident.

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