Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arctic Pyro

I've made photos here in Alaska before, with digital cameras, polaroids, and B&W film, but I've never processed my film here, until now. I recently found a very cool No 1 Kodak Jr. 6x9 folding camera, and I packed it into my carry-on, along with several rolls of film, archival sleeves, Paterson developing tank, a pkg of Kodak powder fixer, and two, 50ml bottles of 510-Pyro. After exposing my first roll, it was time to process the film in my tiny bathroom. I didn't pack a light meter, I forgot to bring a thermometer, or a timer, and I wanted to stretch my 510-Pyro, so I decided on a very forgiving development regime; 510-Pyro 1:500, 30 minutes @ tepid, one minute initial agitation followed by ten seconds/ ten minutes of development. My first roll looked great, but since I didn't have a wetting agent, it dried with water spots. For my second roll I added a few squirts of hand sanitizer (ethol alcohol) to the rinse water, and my negatives have been pristine since.

Sir Ernest Shackleton used a very similar camera to document his expedition to Antarctica, after he had to abandon all of his larger, heavier plate cameras when the ship was crushed by ice. The environment here is very demanding and even hostile, but this little camera is so simple, there's almost nothing to go wrong! And I've been very impressed with its performance. I haven't had a chance to scan or print any of my negatives yet, but when I do, I'll post a few examples. In the meantime, I have one scan from this camera, made just before I left home for Alaska. I can't seem to upload the photo, so here's the link:

The linked example is Ultrafine Plus ISO100, developed in 510-Pyro 1:100, 7:30, 70F agitation 10sec/min.