Smoky Mountains and a tale of woe

I took my family on a long weekend trip to the Great Smokey Mountains. We stayed in a modern cabin near Pigeon Forge and did all the usual touristy things like visit Dollywood and shop in the towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We took some scenic drives and the family even allowed me to stop and photograph some of them. It was a wonderful trip except that it rained most of the time we were there so there was not much hiking or getting out into the wild.

A couple of weeks after returning home I set out to develop the images I had taken. I had a new 4×5 tank that could process up to 12 images so I put them all in the tank.  I mixed up the chemistry and began the processing. After developing and fixing I washed the negatives well before removing them from the tank. Some of the images were almost clear and the rest were very thin. On No, what have I done.  I was fairly confident I had exposed most of the film accurately so started retracing my development steps.

In mixing my HC-110 I used a syringe instead of my usual graduated tube. And what I thought was 1 ounce was only 1CC so my developer was too weak for the time that I processed. Fixer was likely ok. The images were barely visible after drying so I knew I had something on the film. So I set out to the internet to determine if there was a way to salvage the images.

This is what an under processed and reprocessed negative looks like.

It turns out there is a reprocessing method. First you bleach the image with a reducing bleach until the image is clear. Then you redevelop using a staining developer like Pyro HD. This can all be done in subdued room light in trays and repeated until density is built up. I did see some improvement in the images that were not too thin but the contrast was now too much and print time still too fast to really work with the images.

I now am much more careful in mixing chemistry to make sure I am aware of the units of measure. I have to chalk it up to a learning experience, and I still know where those spots are if I ever get up that way again. Since I only print sporadically I now also have become aware of shelf life of mixed chemistry. I liked the Pyro effect on the negatives and will try it for future projects.


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