Developing Disasters · film photography · Film Processing · How To · Photo essay

Developing Disasters – Getting Agitated

I don’t consider this a complete disaster, but it was an experiment gone wrong so I thought I’d share.

I brought along my Yashica Electro on a long distance doctors appointment as my “emotional support camera” loaded with Kentmere Pan 400 film. I have used and developed this film before with no issues. Here’s a sample:

Kentmere Pan 400
Kentmere Pan 400

This time as I was developing the film I was a little bit tired and I thought I was developing a roll of HP5 400 and I thought, well HP5 tends to be a little flat. Maybe I’ll experiment with the agitation and see if that adds any contrast.

It didn’t. What it did add was a ton of noise. It may be hard to see on here.

Kentmere Pan 400
Kentmere Pan 400

I developed it with Kodak D-76 for 9:30 minutes and fixed it with rapid fixer for 4 min. I agitated for the length that I usually do, 10 seconds every minute, but instead of twisting the center column gently, I did it aggressively the way I would for Tri-X.

Kentmere Pan 400

It resulted in a gritty and dirty look. I’m not sure of the technical reasons for this. I don’t know what exactly happens to the film. As I’ve said before, I am only learning to develop my own film.

Kentmere Pan 400
Kentmere Pan 400

I don’t consider it a total disaster. I do like the shots I got. Luckily the roll was not anything special. I do like them as everyday snapshots though.

Kentmere Pan 400
Kentmere Pan 400

What kinds of disasters have you had in developing? How do you achieve more contrast with black and white films? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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12 thoughts on “Developing Disasters – Getting Agitated

  1. So, I had a recent “disaster” with Kentmere 400 in MY Yashica Electro. I have a (forthcoming) blog post about using Cinestill monobath, and my kit came cracked open. I was nervous it might have been expired, but said “whatever” and used it anyway even though Cinestill sent me a replacement. Bad idea…

    It was amber, which meant ultra-expired and gave me very thin negatives. That, combined with my lack of a decent scanner gave me photos that look like they’re from the 1920’s. Cool as an art experiment but that’s about it.

    I know Kentmere is a bit of low-contrast film but seeing your shots just proves to me I need toix up fresh chemicals.

    Always an exciting process though!

  2. When I started developing I had real problems loading 120. The film would jam in the reel and I’d have to pull it out and try again, often several times (all in a changing bag). Result: crescent-shaped stress marks all over the negs! But with a bit of practice I got the knack and now I never have problems. So: practice makes perfect. My most recent dumb mistake: I unloaded my Hasselblad last week forgetting to wind the film through and off the roll. Ouch!
    For contrast: years ago I took courses with a pro and we did basic zone system .
    He had us photograph peeling paint on a wall in a back alley on a dull Monday morning. I thought he was mad. But we established the scene contrast with spot readings ( it was LOW) then followed his instructions to increase the development time, this to increase the negative contrast. For a high-contrast subject you would reduce it. The prints were amazing! This exercise opened my eyes to how black and white can reveal things as they really are , showing you things the eye doesn’t see. We were using the old APX100 , in Rodinal 1+50. A knockout combination. So that’s how we controlled contrast, by varying the development time.
    Love all your posts, always brightens my day to see there’s a new one:-)

  3. My worst, after nearly 15yrs of no serious issues, was accidentally fixing instead of developing. I lost 2 full rolls, completely blank, and I have no idea what was on them! The issue was using different chemistry. The Agfa pouches look nearly identical across the range so it was an accident waiting to happen.
    Last week, I had a minor issue when my fixer was exhausted. The negs came out looking almost like prints with a milky white background. Luckily, fresh fixer saved the day with no harm done, despite being exposed to light for a while!

  4. One I have done more than once…not put enough chemicals in. Thought it was 35mm but I was doing 120. The resulting negs have bubble marks on half the film…cool for skies, but quite random.

  5. Well, the images don’t look bad to me, but I’m no expert. If you want more contrast, use a film with more intrinsic contrast. I always just followed the manufacturer’s recommendations for development of black and white film.

  6. I got one for you Alyssa, and like you I was a wee bit tired. I was processing some film, black and white, can I remember what it was, nope. I forgot to fix the film, yes did the develop and stop process but didn’t fix. I fixed it (metaphorically and literally).

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