When I packed for Vancouver I decided to bring my newly reinvigorated love for film photography with me. Today my enthusiasm took a hit. Here are the broad strokes-
I left my trusty Canon FTB at home since I knew I could grab one of my dad’s old cameras. I settled on the lower end FT and a 35mm f3.5 lens. I was going to be heading to the beach so I wanted the lowest end equipment he had. I dug out a roll of Ilford B&W film that we had lying around and found that it expired a few years back. This did not daunt me in the least.
A quick check of the meter revealed a dead battery. Not to worry though, it was sunny, I was going to be outside and Sunny 16 is better than a meter. However, the film was rated at ISO 400 which means that with my FT’s max shutter speed of 1/1000 sec I had very little wiggle room. So I shot it at ISO 100 and would pull it back down when I processed.
I burned off the roll of film during the day and into the evening before the fireworks started at English Bay. As the sun dropped I was forced to guess at every exposure as the meter was still not working. (NOTE- when I guess at an exposure, I guess OVER. I prefer to have a little more info than less).
With the film in the can I hit my first real snag. Turns out the change bag I bought last year is WAY too small. It’s functional but there is no real estate to work with once you throw in the tank, the scissors, etc. The bag you-know-who advised me to buy in Germany is far better. Always listen to him.
But the real issue had yet to reveal itself. This was a new tank and reel that I was using. Rather than test it outside the bag I got cocky and dove in head first. And it jammed while I was loading it onto the reel. Over and over. Every time it jammed I would unload it and try again. No matter what I did I couldn’t get the whole roll to load.
The frustration mounted and the sweat started to pour as I battled the film for about 30 minutes. Finally I knew I had to have a look at the reel to see what the issue was. The problem was that I had the film unraveled in the bag and light would spoil it. I figured I would pop the loose film into the light tight tank and unzip the change the bag to inspect the reel. Good plan until I realized that the tank is only light tight if you use the centre post. I did not. And so, at this point I fogged the film but wasn’t sure to what extent. Awesome.
I got the reel out and gave it the once over. All looked fine so I tried again. Before I could load it again I had to unroll the mess of celluloid that was now all stuck together. Once I pulled it all apart it jammed again. And again. And again.
With approx 1/2 the roll loaded I decided to cut my losses and snip the remaining film. It would be lost but my sanity was perhaps salvageable. With a half roll loaded into the tank it was time to process.
I checked the Mass Dev Chart online for my particular combination and found that there was no data available. (Remember, I overexposed the film by 2 stops and now had to compensate for that by underprocessing it 2 stops). I would have to make a reasonable guess at the development time. By that point I didn’t really care all that much which is why everything went smoothly. After all those variables I still got an image. 18 of them in fact. Of course they are a mess of scratches and some are slightly fogged but hey, artistic choice. Or something.