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January 2nd, 2024

The Kodak Doesn’t Live Here Anymore Blues…part the last.

I put my troubles to the folks on a film photography forum I follow. I figured many of them would have been working with raw chemistry longer than I’ve been working an SLR camera. Got a lot of advice to raise the temperature of my mix water, but one user said I should check my mix again to see if it was still cloudy. He said he usually lets a mix rest overnight before using it.

That was the right answer. I drew a flask out of the brown bottle I keep my film fixer in and it’s crystal clear now. So now I know. Mix and let rest for a bit.

Also, maybe tweak the temperature up a bit regardless of what the instructions say. I thought it was odd they specified 68 degrees. The recipes for H&W Control developer all want pretty hot water (one says 130 degrees, another 140) to start. Lots of advice on that forum to use a bit hotter water.

Also: Kodak Is Making Chemistry Again After All! They’re restarting their process here in the states and most of it is again available on the B&H website. I can buy Kodak HC-110 again! I’m going to ask Service Photo tomorrow if they’ll start stocking it again soon.

And now…

When posting a question to a social media group for their expertise, always expect an answer to a question you didn’t ask.

Many years ago, when I was but a young man, I attended a talk by Ansel Adams at Georgetown University. That Ansel Adams. He gave a wonderful talk about his approach to photography and how he came to develop the zone system, and I ate up every word because he is a grand master of monochrome photography. After he gave his talk he opened it up for questions from the audience. Bunch of good questions from the students, but sure enough someone stands up with a complex question about which developer was better than another. Adams replied that he knew many photographers had their particular holy waters (his words, and the audience laughed) but (and I’m drawing from memory here) the tools are only a means to an end so don’t focus so much on the tools you lose focus on the end.

Remember when I said the other day that there is religion about hardening fixers? When I posted my question to the darkroom group I said that I was looking for a replacement for Kodak Rapid Fix and that Ilford rapid fix didn’t cut it because it wasn’t a hardening fixer and that is why I eventually went with the product from Photographer’s Formulary. I Knew as I typed that I was going to get a bunch of Why Do You Want A Hardening Fixer responses, despite my question not being about the pros and cons of hardening fixers.

Sure enough.

Bonus points for one commenter saying hardening fixers are only for paper and another saying they are certainly not for paper.

Never mind why. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenage boy, I have a workflow that works for me, and I am not changing it. I’m 70 years old now, and every shot I take is a little more experience under my belt doing the thing I do. I love my tools, my cameras, my workflow. It’s my comfort zone. I’m happy there. Whole. But it’s the photograph that matters. Is it what I meant? Yes? No? Keep working it then.

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