Thursday, 27 August 2015

More birdy shots

A couple more bird-related shots from Rathlin for you today.  All a bit shaky due to the boat we were rocking and rolling about on...

Not much real estate left for those late to the party...
Our most excellent host Mr Alan Curry informed us that in summer (or what passes for summer round these parts) the rocks turn white, due to the amount of guano deposited by the birds.  If one was to return in the winter apparently one would see that the basalt rocks would have reverted to their natural blackish colour.

I quite like the way the FP4+ has captured the old rocks in this next one - in DD-X if you are interested.  As I'm sure you all know (Ed: oh yes, we all do), my current go-to products are from Ilford.  As yet I haven't deviated too far from what I used a teenager back in the 70s - well OK, so it was FP4 then and usually something like Microphen instead of FP4+ and DD-X, but you know what I mean.  Someday soon I might get all adventurous and try something else, but I like the results I'm getting at the minute.  OK DD-X is not the cheapest on the market, but I've found a cunning way to economise...

Precarious nesting
You see I found an old Unicolor motorised base and a couple of Unicolor drums which had been lying about in Mother's Loft for the last 35+ years.   Actually I think there were The Brother's, but that's OK - it's long enough ago and he's far enough away not to know or care.  The base and drums all work fine, which means I have been able to set aside my little Patterson tank - which uses 290ml for one 35mm film (or 300ml to be on the safe side) - in favour of the Unicolor gear, which is very economical by comparison.  Now I can get away with 150ml for the first reel and 90ml for each subsequent reel, up to 6 in total.  So...that means instead of say 900ml for 3 reels in Patterson-land I'm now using 330ml (360ml to be safe) in Unicolor-land.  So less than half the cost - not bad, eh?  It's continuous agitation on the motorised base of course, so I'm reducing my times by about 15% which so far seems about right.  We'll see what happens when I get back in the darkroom and actually try to print some of these properly - things might need a little tweaking here or there but for now the negs look OK.

I think I could well be printing this last one once the enlarger gets its new lights, which is, apparently, imminent.  Honestly.  Two weeks I'm told.  Everything else has (almost) been done...I've made a sink-like contraption and fitted taps to the wall, which need to be plumbed in, although that's not absolutely essential to get printing again.  Mrs North East Liberties has agreed a one-week turnaround to get my thick curtain-inside-the-door trimmed to a decent length, which will stop me tripping over it.  The Nova processor has been re-glued and hopefully is now chemical-tight as we speak (although yet to be tested).  I think that's it finally getting long last.  Funny how these projects take a lot, lot longer than anticipated.


  1. Great way to economize on the chemicals! Don't know if there's something similar on the market today, but then again I'm only using the cheap stuff for my developments. Rodinal, ID-11, D-76 and that kind of things. Ah, and HC-110 and what have you else.
    Great thing about this, and exactly as you say, we are able to use the same kind of stuff that we did in the 70's. The names of the different things are even matching well, like Tri-X, HP5, FP4 and all of the lot. Only a + sign has been added, and that's nothing much to worry about actualy.
    Great snaps by the way, and great to see what other people do with film. I'll follow this one for sure :)

    1. Thank you Roy, appreciate you taking the time to comment. It's great being able to dust off all those 70's bits&pieces and just generally have a lot of fun with film&darkroom work. And cheap is good - I'm heading the way of ID-11 myself, just for something different.