Saturday, August 02, 2008

Film question

Someday I'll have money again, and I'll be able to develop pictures. And then I'll be able to show off my chickens. Simple pleasures, simple pleasures. In the meantime, though, I'm postponing said simple pleasure for the much bigger pleasure of GOING TO ROME!! Which is the reason I don't plan to have any money until after January, because that's when the trip is. And hopefully I can have enough money to go to Joey's and Theresa's wedding, but they're being perverse and getting married in SC (right? the save-the-date is at the house and I don't feel like walking up there and getting it). Come on, guys.

So, here's the question: what does one do for long-term film storage so as to keep one's film from rotting or turning yellow or sprouting or whatever film does? Anyone know? Leokadia?


Rosie X said...

I know someone who would love to answer this!

Rosie X said...

PS, I told him to reply (did you know he has a darkroom in the backyard and masses of film he keeps in the freezer?)

In the mean time, I've seen him keep it in the refrigerator door to keep it out of extremes of heat and cold. For moisture, you may put it in a ziplock bag.

agoodlife said...

Above poster is talking about undeveloped film.

What does "long-term" mean to you?

Keep it in a cool dry place without much variance in temperature. This is tough. Refrigeration is best, but not practical in most circumstances (Yeah, grab me a beer behind the negatives from 2 Christmases ago). You basically want to avoid any remaining chemicals from catalyzing in the heat.

Without getting too crazy about toning them in selenium (highly toxic) or using polyester based films (insanely expensive), you might want to consider grabbing some archival quality negative sleeves ($20 for 100 fits 100 36 exp rolls) and transferring them at some point.

The film you can develop at CVS (C-41) will experience some fading, color shifts, and changes in contrast after the 10 year mark (sometimes before). Beyond that there are too many variables to be sure. Whether there is color and detail left by year 50 will be dependent upon your storage. The same kind of B&W (C-41) will fade at a similar rate and the contrast will shift. Not so much color loss, of course.

Rosie X said...

you can count on the x's for film questions, then, 24 hours a day~

Mary Catherine said...

Yeah, I'm talking about undeveloped film. I don't have money to develop it at present. I'll do the plastic baggie-refrigerator thing. The film might already be ruined because one day I taught school in the Yurt and it was over 100 degrees, and the film was in my purse. School is no longer in the Yurt, but the damage to the film might still be there.

agoodlife said...

Undeveloped film is resilient, don't worry about temps. Will not affect it too much.

If it is some of the CVS type B&W (says C-41), I can develop it for you. I will even scan it. Save your 5 dollars.

I just sent you three rolls of traditional B&W film. It can't be developed by the drugstore, though...

When you are done with them (or if you shoot slower, send me one a time so it's easier on me) just mail them back. I will develop them for you, scan them, e-mail you the scans, and sometime afterward mail back the negatives in an archival type sleeve.

One is Plus-X 123, best for outdoors, can be used inside with flash. Can handle high contrast situations well (sunsets, etc). This film has gone relatively unchanged since the 1960s. It's sharp, and when developed right, it glows. Almost no grain. Lots of details. In Rome, I can imagine it's good for taking picture of things you can get close up to (so your flash is effective) like a mural... chapel ceilings may be a far reach with a typical point and shoot camera's flash. Give it a try though... as long as there is some light.

Tri-X 400, famous among mony. General purpose. Sharp, handles contrast well. Has a certain texture to it I can't described. Has gone relatively unchanged since the 70s. This film will take care of itself for scenes. A good "don't worry bout it" film.

Neopan 1600. I don't know what kind of camera you are using.. but turn off the flash outdoors. It will not handle high contrast scenes the way you like (sunsets will come out, but will not be very sharp or awe inspiring). Will capture everything and anything in the dark. Grain is noticeable, but not distracting. This is good for when you want detailed shots of dark museums, get togethers, the catacombs, etc,

If you have questions, I can show you pictures.
-Eckstein aka A Good Life

Mary Catherine said...

Really? It's 2 rolls of Ilford and 1 roll of some sort of color film that they had at the store. I only paid attention to the speed, because I've been stuck with flash-only film before and felt like I wasted my money. Except I don't know where the other roll of Ilford is, so I'll have to rummage around and find it. You sure you won't take any money for developing it? It's got to cost you something to do it, right?

I will make notes of what to use the different films for, so I don't shoot the outdoor one in low-contrast areas or something. I'm using a Canon something or other? it was made in the 90s, and it has options for auto or manual focus, and it as the really fancy camera my mom got before she got her really fancy digital camera. I'd love to see pictures, if you have examples of the different films.

Thank you so much! I'm so excited!

agoodlife said...

I will be preparing samples for you... as I'm in the process of working through a scanning backlog.

Flash shots are not wasted. I used a special kind of compensating developer they used in the 1930s (think Ansel Adams and some other obscure photographers). Basically, if you fudge the exposure or the flash is too bright, the developer works to preserve details in the shadows and highlights, keeping contrast under control.

I prefer older films because even with flash they retain a great deal of texture. These films in particular in this developer will be graceful, even when flash is used.

Tell your camera's model and your flash's model and I can give you a few pointers on using "fill flash". That way it doesn't look like everyone is blinded under stadium lights.

As for payment? The one thing I can't buy in bulk is distilled water. It's about $.70 for 2 gallons. 2 gallons is good for 2 rolls. So $.35 a roll would be nice. Send me that with the roll (in change or whatever) when you mail it.