Behind the shot…Black and White Film Photography


Every once in a while it’s good to shoot a roll of film and develop it yourself. Being constrained to the number of exposures you have forces you to think about the image you are capturing. Successfully processing the film yourself and seeing your pictures is probably the best satisfaction you can have in photography.

I’ve been processing film for several years. The best thing about B&W film is that it’s very forgiving. I use Kodak chemistry; D-76, Fixer, Stop Bath, and Photoflo. This produces nice contrast and has repeatable results. I use tap water to develop, fix, stop, and Photoflo with distilled water.

The following are the times I use for each stop of the process:

Develop: 6:45
Fix: 10:00
Stop: 5:00
Rinse: 2:00

I use a change bag to remove the film from it’s canister, load the reel, and insert into the tank. You can do this in a dark room but I find having everything you need in the bag makes things easier. Inside my bag are the Paterson Canister, the reel, a bottle opener, and a pair of scissors.

Film canister ready to be loaded
Film in canister and ready for D-76 developer
Developing done and film is drying

The last step is to scan the negatives and import them into Adobe Lightroom. I use a Epson V200 Photo scanner.

Here is the final product.

Light post processing in Lightroom to adjust levels
West street at dusk in Annapolis, Maryland
West street at dusk in Annapolis, Maryland

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