Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home
Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home

For the series of Film Photography Darkroom, let’s talk of how to develop black and white film rolls in daylight. No need to get in the dark because there is a faster way to avoid all this. Let me tell you how!

Let’s go back a little and tell you how the situation with Coronavirus is in Italy: it’s the beginning of April and it has been decided that the isolation terms have been postponed, so we are still at home.

You should know that I am so happy to have time to recharge, study, go back to reading (I wasn’t reading any book last year) and enjoy my passions.

One of which is – as you well know – film photography.

I also wish to add my experience in order to show you that film photography darkroom it is not only for professional photographers but also for amateurs and passionate people. Developing in daylight or with a proper darkroom is very easy.

In a lot of countries, professors teach it at school and I have always been jealous of those countries because art activities should be welcomed at any age. In Italy, although we have a past of amazing artists, art it is still viewed as a side-hustle, as a hobby.

Does this ring a bell to you?

ALSO READ: The Blogging Books You MUST Read

It is exactly what most people think of blogging. How insane! The reason why last week I wrote about the top inspiring blogging books for bloggers and biz owners is this one. These books help you see the importance and big work on these new creative jobs (bloggers, social media managers and many more). If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you to do it as soon as you finish this!

Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home

Film Photography Darkroom: How to Develop Black and White Film Rolls in Daylight

On the first week of lockdown, I remembered I had some chemicals to use to develop film rolls in daylight. I also had finished 2 black and white film rolls. I was ready to develop. In fact, I had all the ingredients I need to start my own film roll recipe.

After having attended a 2-days workshop on darkroom printing, I started to love to develop film rolls by myself at home without the need to go to the photography shop and leave the film rolls to them. Still, I am only able to develop black and white because it is simpler to maintain the same temperature of the water and chemicals. Anyway, in my projects, there is the will to learn to develop colour film rolls as well.

READ ALSO: Behind the scenes of darkroom photography

What I used to develop black and white film roll

The secret of being able to develop without a proper darkroom is a little tank specifically for 35mm film rolls called Rondinax 35. Built-in the 30s, it is something you may find at a local flea market otherwise you can look for the copycat version Ars Imago did. Frankly, it is too expensive and made of plastic so I really suggest you find a vintage Rondinax on eBay or at your local photography store.

I have already show my first attempt to develop in daylight with film photography in black and white, so all the materials can be seen there. Everything is photographed there, so if you are interested, I will link it here below.

Related: HOW TO DEVELOP 35MM BLACK & WHITE FILM ROLL AT HOME IN DAYLIGHT 

Let’s get back to us. To sum it up the main ingredients are:

  • 2 black and white film rolls
  • 1 daylight tank (Rondinax 35)
  • IlFord Essential Kit
Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home

Everything I need is currently on the table and it took me less than 20 minutes to end. This time I had shot the film roll (an IlFOLD HP4) with a Pentax ME. I didn’t use the Lomography Mini Diana I used last time in order to have better quality photos.

In the Pentax ME I have a 50mm lens and I can choose where to focus, the shutter speed and the aperture. In my entire camera collection, the Pentax is definitely my favourite, a vintage old school camera of the 70s. All mechanic, nothing electronic in it!

Basically I did the same processes of the last time but there have been a few issues. The main one was: one of the little chemicals was lacking from the bottle!

How to beat the issues of developing black and white film rolls

Panic at the beginning! One chemical was almost empty and even though the percentage of it that I actually needed wasn’t a lot (9 ml) it was almost empty. So I hoped for the best and kept going.

Luckily I still got the result: the images were good! But something else happened in the preparation just like the other time.

Water temperature should be at 20°C but my tap water at home is a lot warmer (around 24°C-26°C). Not to waste too much time, I grabbed some ice from the freezer and put it in my jar of water. After a few minutes the water cooled off and I was ready to start.

After 20 minutes, check how to develop black and white film rolls step-by-step here, I had my film roll! Beginning with 5 to 10 washes to clean the film roll, I then took it out of the tank. Finally, I left it hanging near the shower for one night. The day after I was able to cut the film roll and scan every little image to have them in digital.

The Final Results: the Photographs

As you can see from a fast scroll of the post I have shot this film roll in different locations so let me give a short context of where I was.

In most of the photographs, I am in Modena for a day trip with my friends. One of them was home from Belgium for a few days so we decided to take our days off of work to spend some quality time together after a few months of distance.

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Click on the images to see them full-size.

Modena is a little jewel here in Italy because it is small and the food is just spectacular: we went to the city market which is amazing. The number 1 chef in the world Massimo Bottura has its own restaurant in Modena, l’Osteria Francescana, and he goes there to do the food shopping because the quality is high.

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Click on the images to see them full-size.

The rest of the images are from my home-town, like some candids of what happened during the winter months: a little bit of shopping, some flowers, a candy shop, my friend window shopping and the moon because I always very drown to it.

Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home

Moreover, I have another block of images taken with a little Ferrania camera this time in 120mm, so that you can notice the square shape of the photographs. The quality of these is highly superior because 120mm photos are bigger than 35mm, but on the other hand, the Ferrania camera only allows you to focus. You can’t choose any other measure, so it gets quite difficult to control it.

Check the overall photos I took mostly in January 2020, there are a few train stations images because I was going to Milan, some architecture from the big city, my best friend and his dog and then some plants. It is just a very random mix.

What’s next?

Honestly I really wish to be able to move soon, even just being able to go back to the countryside to take some more images. During this lockdown I have been shooting one color 35mm film roll especially dedicated to quarantine routine! So expect pictures of my cat and lifestyle images of my house.

We shall see how they turn out. For now, let me know if you started a new passion (or an old one) during this quarantine time in the comments below!

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Film Photography Darkroom, how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight
Film Photography Darkroom, how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight
Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home
Film Photography Darkroom: how to develop black & white film rolls in daylight at home

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