Jono Shields

Let's Develop Film and hope it doesn't go terribly wrong

Lately photography (especially analog stuff) has taken a bit of a back seat.

This week I decided to take the next step in the process and have a crack at developing my own film.

What follows is possibly the worst first attempt in the history of photography.

I decided the best idea was to develop a roll that I had accidentally exposed by opening the back of the camera without knowing how much film had been exposed. I considered it basically ruined. So why not experiment with it.

So here I am developing a roll of Kodak Colorplus in my kitchen using Caffenol (a homebrewed b&w development agent made from ingredients you can get at the supermarket).

The recipe I used is straight out of the Caffenol Bible.

  1. The ingredients above are for 1 litre. So I used half the amount to make a batch of 500ml for my development tank.
  2. They also recommend to make the solution in two parts, one for the soda and another for the coffee. This is so that you can see when both are completely dissolved (the darkness of the coffee powder makes it really hard to see the soda).
  3. The bible recommends a 15 minute develop time, 10 inversions in the first minute, 3 every minute after.
  4. Then stop and fix normally. I just rinsed with water for my stop bath (I saw others do this). And I used Ilford Rapid Fixer at a ration of 1+4 to fix the film.
  5. Then lots of rinsing and hanging up in my shower to dry.

The results?

Well, it turns out that the film only had 3 frames on it. And there was very little transparency (they were very opaque), this made it very difficult to scan. Not that I have a scanner - I have an mirrorless camera with a 30 year old macro lens that is quite dirty.

Here are two of the three pictures…

Yeah. We hella cute.

Overall I am really happy with the results, especially considering how many mistakes I made. Very keen to have another try with some black & white film that has been exposed properly :D