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O woe, poured in fixer before developer!

Christian Capito , Nov 10, 2008; 07:43 p.m.

I've developed around 30 rolls of film up to now, with varying results, and I still consider myself a beginner. But today was the first time I've done something really stupid. (BTW - no question in this post - I just want to relate my misfortune)

We spent a weekend in Switzerland, and I set about developing 2 of the 5 rolls I shot. I did a clip test of the fixer, made an idle note that it was almost spent and, thinking about nothing in particular, happily poured it back into the developing tank! It was one of those moments when you really notice how long it takes the signal to go from your brain down to your hand to yank it away... Once you notice it, that is!

It was just a 100 or so milliliters of fixer, and I washed the film right away, hoping I reacted fast enough and the film hadn't noticed yet that there wasn't anything left to develop.

All in all I was lucky - several frames are untouched, and in the others, the contrast changed slightly where the fixer dripped through. Although I could kick myself in the rear, I think it happened to me at just the right time. Lately, I've become pretty careless when developing - and this experience should change things!

- Chris

Responses

Norman Valentine , Nov 10, 2008; 07:49 p.m.

Oh F**K. I bet you won't do it again!

Josh Root , Nov 10, 2008; 07:57 p.m.

It's just a fact of life for film photographers. If you shoot film long enough, you'll have it happen. We've all done dumb stuff like that in the darkroom. For that matter, lots of us have had pro labs mess up our stuff. It's just life. We're all human. You just have to hope that it doesn't happen on something really important.

Bruce Cahn , Nov 10, 2008; 08:40 p.m.

I have done more thoughtless things in the dkrm. than I can list. Even took a mouthful of acid stop bath once, thinking it was water. Not recommended, but it gets rid of the old mouth taste right away.

Larry Dressler , Nov 10, 2008; 09:32 p.m.

Bruce

It is a good thing I use White Vinegar for my stop ... Well these days I only use a water stop but 1 day I took a great gulp of Vinegar water... I understand but the gut full of Fixer did make me have to get out a mop.

I think the best stupid Darkroom trick I ever did though was using D-76 for fixer after a roll was developed in Diafine.. I figured it out after 5 minutes without opening it but I do think there was some added contrast.

Larry

Michael Axel , Nov 10, 2008; 09:57 p.m.

After 30 years in the darkroom, just 2 weeks ago I developed 4 rolls of 120 and 4 rolls of 35mm in a batch of Rodinal that was mixed about 1/3 the strength it should have been. Never even made it to wash, It went right to the trash. In 20 minutes I blew a couple of days worth of personal shooting. I had a few choice words myself. In my case, it's old age setting in... or maybe I've got Mad Cow disease as Denny Crane would say.

John O'Keefe-Odom , Nov 11, 2008; 08:35 p.m.

Good job on washing right away, though. Any time you think you're messing up, it's a good idea to dump the tank and fill rapidly with cold water. It helps to have an empty container on hand for just this reason.

If you pour something in, have no idea what you just did, then dump and rinse; you can usually figure out what's in the dump with a strip of pH paper. The cold rinse should buy you a minute or two.

A prevention trick includes: if you're using opaque storage containers, transfer the baths into three containers you can see into; small tanks, just using the graduated cylinder works out great. If you stage the cylinders right there, in front of the labeled storage jugs, sometimes that helps to keep your head in the process.

Mark Tate , Nov 17, 2008; 03:58 a.m.

its allways a bugga when this happends but if it makes you feel any better almost every one no matter how experianced or there level of education makes a boo boo like this every now and then .

Try and set your self up a dark room procedure ,a way you have every thing laid out in the corect order ,even talking your self through the process could help (well it helps me ) and if I am developing film that I realy dont want to stuff up I have my wife help me and get her to double check every thing ,its amazing how that she dont realy know much about film processing yet she has still stoped me making a few realy big boo boo's.

The one real sad thing about this is that there is no way to predict or stop a BLOND MOMENT

csab' józsa , Dec 20, 2008; 02:25 p.m.

I only take the fixer bottle out of the closet when the developer is in the tank already. Somehow i developed this habit.
Did a different kind of stupid thing recently, though. There was a roll of iso 100 film in my leica m2 (no film speed peeping window thus). The film speed reminder was set to iso 100. After half a roll was shot i left it at home for some weeks. When i picked it up i was SURE it was iso 400, so i changed the speed reminder thing to 400 and exposed as such.
When i took the canister out of the camera, i realized there was only one way out of this, diafine. It came out half-okay.
Another time, a roll finished and i opened the camera bottom in full daylight without rewinding. A 1-second long stupid look on my face, then i closed it quickly. Four frames totally burned, a few had funky streaks, but the rest was fine except around sprocket holes...

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