So, I’ve finally started to get a feel for this film now, after working my way through 5 packs of it (!!!!!) and the trick seems to be to set the camera to overexpose slightly (I had previously hacked it so that it would underexpose the 600 film so now i need to un-compensate for that with the new 125 stuff), then when I’ve taken a picture i need to whip it out of the camera and tuck it under my arm as quickly as possible. I believe the chemicals behave in such a way that the warmer it is, the more contrast i get. It also brings out the brown colour more, but that’s something i just have to live with. I’ve started to get a bit more of an eye for subject with inherent contrast of their own, to help things along a bit too.
The biggest issue remaining with this batch are those little white flecks. At a guess, I’d say it’s tiny air bubbles in the chemicals that are spread under the film rollers and stop the film from developing in those areas. I do hope they’ve sorted that in the new version of the film – in this shot, i did clean up quite a few of them after scanning and you can see there’s still a lot left.
As the stash of film diminishes further i’m back to thinking about the contrary nature of this stuff – i hear people talking about how they limit themselves by using medium or large format so that they are forced to make the most of each shot. If only that were the case with how i work – it seems that if i do attempt to really make an effort to get ten decent shots out of ten frames, i get ten mediocre ones. But if i pretend i have endless supplies, i may get eight complete washouts and one or two little gems. Or i may get no gems at all!
You may be reading that and think “gems?! it’s barely a picture!” and i do wonder sometimes if the emperor is, in fact, naked. But i can’t help but see a bit of magic, possibly even because of the stuff that’s ‘wrong’ with it. Will it ever feel certain or will i always question my own instinct?