A developing situation

So, a couple of days away have ended and we are back home. I travelled light (blog post to follow) but still got back with six exposed rolls of 35mm film. Time for a morning on my feet in the kitchen and the developing of six rolls of film. I find this a very relaxing process. That might not resonate with everyone but I’ve developed over 340 rolls of film and almost 100 sheets of film in the last twenty months so it’s done mainly on auto-pilot which makes for a reasonably stress-free morning. I’m a stickler for order and method too and this means that muscle memory is strong as my routine barely wavers.

Ready to start

I took two cameras this time. The KMZ FT-2 had the last roll of Rollei Blackbird and as you need a changing bag to load and unload this beast it was going to stay in the camera until I got home. The other camera though was a Nikon L35 and I used four rolls of Tri-X and a roll of Kentmere 400. I was asked by someone recently how I remember which film is which when I am away from home and therefore having to store film up for developing later, especially with more than one camera.

The answer is simple. I carry a permanent marker pen with me and use this to clearly number each roll, sometimes adding date and the ISO used. I then use the note taking facility on my phone to record all the relevant details. If I’m working with large format I have a notebook in my bag because I record full details for every single exposure but for a day out with a 35mm the phone app works well. If I’m using 120 I sometimes want exposure details etcetera for some frames and these are easy enough to jot down too.

Back home as I load each film into the tank I prepare a slip of paper with the relevant number on and keep this with the developing tank, noting where appropriate which film is on the bottom reel and which on the top (see picture above). This slip gets pegged up next to the corresponding film on the drying line (see below) once I’ve finished.

So, there we have it. My very simple method of keeping track when working with multiple rolls of film. Most days I only expose and develop one roll in a day so this level of organisation isn’t a daily routine but it works well at times such as these.

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