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charliekitchen
25-Sep-2014, 08:36
Hello!

I'm pretty new to this forum, so forgive me if this question has been answered before. I've shot 4x5 (mostly color) for a good 4 or so years now, and my new endeavor has lead me to experiment with exposing different parts of film with masks that are cut from plastic. This process requires testing because the masks are cut by hand and minor imperfections show much more in the final image than I can see while cutting them. So, right now I'm processing via the taco method, which I find do be a very unpredictable process that leaves corners unprocessed and scratches every once in awhile. Also if I want to conserve as much chemical as I can, I have to process 3-4 sheets at a time, which is a waste of film if they are all going to be test negatives.

I have been thinking about moving to tray processing, but I'm hesitant about the changing temperature, performing the whole process in the dark, and not knowing the length of time the film has been in the developer. Also, I am using PMK which poses another intimidating element.

I suppose my question is: what is your process for testing negatives/processing that is the cheapest, quickest, easiest, and most efficient? One sheet at a time would be preferable.

There's some examples of the mask process I'm talking about on my website:
http://charliekitchenphotography.com/blog/2014/9/12/preliminary

-Charlie

koraks
25-Sep-2014, 09:29
I never do, to be honest. I just shoot a few sheets (a minimum of 4, usually) and develop them in one go in a MOD54. If I'm in the mood for cheap and it's black and white, I'll just mix up some Rodinal 1:50 or even 1:100 , which is cheap enough to my taste. In color, I would have no qualms running only one or two sheets through C41 chemistry as it can be reused quite a few times.

I suppose someone will suggest tray development for single sheet processing. I never did this simply because I'd need a darkroom for that.

Jim Noel
25-Sep-2014, 11:00
I have 3 old dark slides each of which has a 1" hole drilled in it. ONe is near the handel, one is drilled in the midle an the third is drilled near the bare end. With these I am able to make 6 exposures on a single sheet of film. I am looking for Zone I so with the camera focused at infinity, and 6 feet or less from a smooth evenly lit surface, I make exposures at box speed, 1/3 stop less than box , 2/3 less than box, 1 stop less and so on to 2 stops more exposure than box speed. The north side of my house is my usual target.
Example: 320,250, 200, 160, 125, 100. Once processed I look for the least exposure which shows density. This is my EI.
For development tests I expose 3 or 4 sheets of film at a generally lit scene and develop them at recommended time, rec. time + 20%, rec +40%. These are then printed together on a single sheet of of paper and the one most pleasing to me becomes my standard development time.
I use every method of film development known EXCEPT THE TACO METHOD! I have found it to be clumsy and prone to development errors.

charliekitchen
25-Sep-2014, 11:15
That is an interesting way of testing exposure. I guess I should have been a little more specific though. I'm not concerned with exposure as much as the mask itself interfering with the film. The mask has thin strips cut out of it, and if it is pushed in too far, the mask bends. There are also extremely small bits of plastic that interfere with the film. This is apparent in this photo:

http://static.squarespace.com/static/52587e9ee4b00d699d0a4ed3/541efd7fe4b025793876e67f/541efdbee4b09b4760c2c3ec/1411317184657/Red%20and%20Green%20strip%20Exposure%20BW.jpg?format=750w

So, I'm trying to eliminate these variables by testing the masks on one sheet of film at a time until the exposure is straight, even, and debris-free. But I can't afford to use 4 negatives per test.

Greg Davis
25-Sep-2014, 15:07
What are your masks made of and how are you making them?

ic-racer
25-Sep-2014, 15:29
I the Jobo 2820 'test drum' to process one or two 4x5 negatives.

charliekitchen
25-Sep-2014, 16:39
What are your masks made of and how are you making them?

They're made from heavy duty binders I got from Office Depot, haha. I'm cutting out pieces of the binder that are the same length and width as a dark slide, then cutting designs out of the middle of the piece of plastic, where the film would be exposed.


I the Jobo 2820 'test drum' to process one or two 4x5 negatives.

Dang, can't really afford a Jobo at the moment.

adelorenzo
25-Sep-2014, 16:50
A small Cibachrome/Ilfochrome print drum is perfect for this when I need to do a single sheet of 4x5. All it takes is 75-100 ml of chemicals. They go for peanuts if you can find 'em, mine were free.

charliekitchen
25-Sep-2014, 19:00
A small Cibachrome/Ilfochrome print drum is perfect for this when I need to do a single sheet of 4x5. All it takes is 75-100 ml of chemicals. They go for peanuts if you can find 'em, mine were free.

Those look perfect!!! Definitely will look into it. Or man up and use trays.

Greg Davis
26-Sep-2014, 08:47
What are you doing with the negatives? Are you scanning, or printing in the darkroom?

DannL
26-Sep-2014, 09:26
I process most sheet film in a color processing drum on a roller base. In the smallest drums I can process (4) 4x5's, (2) 5x7's, or (1) 8x10 sheet. You can also process a single sheet at a time (for testing).

charliekitchen
26-Sep-2014, 09:28
I process most sheet film in a color processing drum on a roller base. In the smallest drums I can process (4) 4x5's, (2) 5x7's, or (1) 8x10 sheet. You can also process a single sheet at a time (for testing).

Nice. I just purchase an 8x10 (I think) cibachrome drum from ebay. I think that's the key.


What are you doing with the negatives? Are you scanning, or printing in the darkroom?

I'm scanning them.

Greg Davis
26-Sep-2014, 09:50
Perhaps it would be easier to make the collage in Photoshop rather than on a single piece of film. If you are so inclined to print in a darkroom, it would be easier to make masks for printing rather than in the camera as you are now. I understand your desire to get what you want in a single shot, but logistically, it would be far less time and money consuming to simply take two straight shots and combine them in the computer. I understand, I have been there myself and had to make that decision.

Willie
26-Sep-2014, 10:07
Tray processing in the dark is easy to do and if you use a brush for development, very even and clean. Learned by 'brush method' from a friend and have not gone back.
For timing I made a music CD with voice over at specific times during the playback. Then did a couple more so I'm not listening to the same music every time. Works well.
Single use developer and dump it. Makes for easy repeatability in development and no tired solution.

charliekitchen
26-Sep-2014, 14:08
Perhaps it would be easier to make the collage in Photoshop rather than on a single piece of film. If you are so inclined to print in a darkroom, it would be easier to make masks for printing rather than in the camera as you are now. I understand your desire to get what you want in a single shot, but logistically, it would be far less time and money consuming to simply take two straight shots and combine them in the computer. I understand, I have been there myself and had to make that decision.

No way!!! That would ruin the fun for me. The point of this project is to have multiple photographs on the same sheet of film, and experiment with (not completely) analog processes.