View Full Version : Developing in Afghanistan

2-Jun-2008, 11:13
Howdy, I'm a contractor in Afghanistan. I plan to be here for another 2 years and have decided to move into LF Photography for the challenge and something to pass the next 2 years. I live in a tent and work in a tent, dust is everywhere, sometimes it's burning hot and sometimes it's cold as heck. I'll be using a new Tachihara, 150mm lens, Fuji Velvia 100 ISO. Building a darkroom, for now anyways, is not possible. I know I won't get the greatest results with my limited capabilities, but I'm hoping someone here can clue me in on a process for developing my slides. I don't need to actually have any prints, I just need to be able to get them to a point that I can put my slide in a protective case and file it away until I get back to the US for my vacations. I already have a "changing tent" on order for my darkroom and I assume I need to get a drum and some chemicals. Remember, I'm a beginner. The one advantage I have is that my experience working on aircraft has given me a rather adept ability to work with delicate and tiny parts in weird places simply by feeling what I'm doing. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give, and hopefully I don't come home with 50 sheets of 4x5 with nothing but splotches and blurs and streaks. Oh, I can be emailed at ray_duke_ii@hotmail.com

2-Jun-2008, 11:29
Ray, have you considered shooting Fuji Quickloads and just sending the film back to a friend in the US for temp-controlled storage until you can return and develop or have them developed?

David A. Goldfarb
2-Jun-2008, 11:40
If you're shooting the film at the standard speed, the easiest method would be to use Tetenal's 3-bath E-6 kit, which you could probably order from Europe. The full 6-bath E-6 will handle pushes and pulls better, and some have said that the results may be more archivally stable over the long term with the proper E-6 kit, but I haven't had any problem with the 3-bath kit for normal processing and pushes up to two stops.

Assuming your space is limited for the full Jobo setup, you could process film in a Jobo inversion tank with a reel that holds six sheets or an HP Combi-Plan tank and use a water jacket for temperature control--something like a picnic cooler, an immersion heater for boiling tea (unless your ambient temperature is over 100 F.), and a thermometer would do.

2-Jun-2008, 11:53
I have considered that, but as a last resort. I'm hoping as time goes on I can eventually get a projector or even improvise a light table but either way I'd like to keep away from the US mail, they aren't reliable. I'll keep that in mind though, thanks!

2-Jun-2008, 11:59
I was looking at Jobo, and I haven't heard of the HP combi plan. I've already messed around and improvised a dis-assembled coffee pot heater element with some tubing attached and I've managed to keep a coleman cooler full of water at a constant 105 degrees. All I have to do is turn it on and off as it heats or cools. Assuming that I buy a Jobo or Combi Plan, what chemicals should I use? I need something simple that won't degrade too much if it's not stored at a constant temperature. Also, is there a posting existing somewhere on this site that I haven't seen that would explain to me the whole process from releasing the shutter to removing the film properly to my "darkroom" taking the film from it's protective whatever to adding chemicals to washing, etc...????? YOU GUYS ARE GREAT

David A. Goldfarb
2-Jun-2008, 12:26
Go to the main page at lfphoto.info for articles on loading filmholders, handling exposed film, using a view camera, etc. You might also get an introductory book like Steve Simmons' _Using the View Camera_.

As for chemicals, as I say, I'd recommend the Tetenal 3-bath E-6 kit for ease of use, shipability and availability from Europe. Another option would be the Kodak 6-bath E-6 kit, but you may have more difficulty getting that through the mail, and it would be six solutions to deal with instead of three.

2-Jun-2008, 20:46
Developing reversal film is tricky, at best. While of course it can be done under bad conditions, with poor temperature control, you'll lose some of the quality which is why you shoot trannies in the first place.
I think that the Quickload idea is the best suggestion, otherwise think that you should forget developing sheet film Velvia.
Developing color negatives, on the other hand, is relatively easy and not so temperature critical.
I've always enjoyed the Tetenal systems.

2-Jun-2008, 22:03

Check with the US Military Command stationed at the airbase. The the 82d Airborne Division, for example, had a presence there as of last year and may still be there or will have been replaced by another unit. The military will have the facilities and probably the equipment you need and with the right 'attitude' they will grant you some access.

As far as the chemistry, the Kodak six step E-6 is the best. However B&H in New York can only ship the Tetenal product. However, you can be sure that you are not the only person in that part of the world that's shooting transparencies. Ask around for a supplier. Again, the military photography unit would be a good source of information. Ask around. Unlike some of the B&W chemistry, color chemistry doesn't last long once its been opened.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out. :)


John Kasaian
2-Jun-2008, 23:01
Also, is there a posting existing somewhere on this site that I haven't seen that would explain to me the whole process from releasing the shutter to removing the film properly to my "darkroom" taking the film from it's protective whatever to adding chemicals to washing, etc...????? YOU GUYS ARE GREAT

Click on the LF Homepage on the blue banner above for links to lots of very useful articles on all aspects of LF and get a copy of Steve Simmons Using The View Camera
Good Luck! :)

3-Jun-2008, 04:23
Thanks a lot for all of the info. I've done some research and come to the conclusion that it's all or nothing so I choose all. I'll be here a really long time, maybe even longer than I anticipated, so I'm going to build a small 8' x 8' darkroom. I'll go ahead and shoot the Fuji Velvia 100 ISO, and do my own processing. I'll use a Jobo Expert kit, the one that does 12 or 16 4x5's. For the chemicals, I'll use the Tetenal 3-bath E-6 kit. Finally, I may as well get a good scanner and printer and take it all the way. Thanks again for the usefull info.

3-Jun-2008, 06:26
I wish you the best of luck!