When I visited Paris in September I decided to bring four rolls of Kodak Tri-x with me – one roll for each day. I am not sure what made me decide to bring black and white film of all things, but I am really glad I did.
I knew I was going to take my darkroom class eventually and in the back of my mind I decided that I wanted to develop this film myself. So I stuck it my desk drawer until this past March. It was a delight to develop this film after having visited several months ago. It was fun to relive the memories of being there! I’ve also been printing many of the prints which has also been fun. The last time I was in the darkroom the other person in there was also printing something from when he visited Paris. It was really cool to compare stories.
Last night we made contact sheets and our first print. The photo above is what I came away with when all was said and done. I made 4 prints to get that. It was quite the process. I learned a lot though. My focus is terrible, for one. I am not sure if this is from the camera or from the enlarger. I was wearing my new glasses last night and getting used to them so it is probably user error on the enlarger. Also, I am not thrilled with the composition. It leads me to think that getting the composition right while taking the shot is very important. I am used to cropping digitally after the fact and so I can get a little sloppy while taking the photo.
For the contact sheets we used the traditional trays to develop the prints. This is what I remember from the first time I took a darkroom class in college many years ago. But for the prints we developed using a machine. It is this old machine from the 70s that works very much like a photo-booth, sans the picture-taking part of it. We fed the paper through and in 90 seconds it went through the whole development process, including drying the print. I actually liked it. There were others in the class who did not. They wanted the the experience of watching the print appear on the paper (and watching the clock).
So anyway. Fun times! We will be doing more printing next week using filters. I am going to go back this week on my own to develop more film and try my hand and printing some more. I think I will try printing some of my Yashica Mat negatives. The camera’s lens has a sharper focus than my Pentax lens so it might be easier for me to get the focus right on the enlarger.