Final Project: A Complete Unit of Instruction

Photo 101: Introduction to Photography;
Lesson #1

Learner Group: College students of any major with an interest in photography for whom this class is an elective; or college freshman majoring in Art or Photography, for whom this is a required course.

Entry Behaviors: No class-specific entry behaviors are expected. This class is designed for students with no photography experience. 

Goals:

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Load film onto a stainless steel processing reel.
  2. Place the reels of undeveloped film in a light tight canister.
  3. Add chemistry in the proper sequence to produce well developed negatives.
  4. Wash, rinse, dry, cut, & sleeve film.

Objectives:

  1. Given a roll of undeveloped film, in a light proof room, remove the film from the canister, cut the film from the spindle, load it into a stainless steel developing reel, and place it in a light-tight processing container.
  2. Given the properly loaded film canister from step #1, and photographic developer, stop bath, and fixer; add the chemistry in the proper sequence, in the proper amounts, at the proper temperature, for the correct times to produce well developed, professional quality negatives suitable for printing assignments for subsequent class assignments.
  3. Given reels of film previously processed in step #2, rinse film to remove all traces of chemistry, dry the film, cut it without damaging the images, then place it in archival sleeves for editing and storage.

Conditions of Instruction

The class period will be approximately 2.5 hours, which is typical of a laboratory class at many Universities.

The class will be taught in the photo lab of a university art department. The conditions during instruction will be identical to the conditions of the assessments. The class will consist of approximately twenty students.

Activity Sequence

1. Pre-instructional Activities
(15 minutes)
Introduction of the instructor, a short discussion of the objectives and goals, for the class and for the semester followed by a ten minute slide presentation of student work from previous classes. The idea behind the show is to demonstrate what skills students will gain over the course of the semester and give them motivation to attend (mentally and phyically) during the less creative portions of the instruction.

2. Discussion of Methods and Materials
(20 minutes)
The slide show of student work will be followed by a discussion of the materials. Prior to the beginning of the class, the instructor placed at each work station, two steel film reels, a single reel tank, top for the same, two rolls of exposed ‘dummy’ film in a reusable cassette, two rolls of unexposed film in a reusable cassette, scissors, a Sharpie felt pen, and a can opener. Also included are two laminated sheets of directions, one for the developing process and one the grading rubric. The instructor will have students select partners, so the they are in two person teams.

3. Instructor demonstration
(10 minutes)
The instructor will then  demonstrate the process of  opening the film canisters, feeding the film onto the reels by touch, checking to see it on properly, snipping the film spindle off the film,  and then placing the two reels into the tank. This will be done with the lights on. The instructor will then add ‘chemistry’ to the tank. He/ she will demonstrate how to use the developing timer, and explain that the film must be put on the reels and into the tank in total darkness.

4. Student Practice
(30 minutes)
The students will be given ten to fifteen minutes to practice with the lights on, with each student checking his/her partner’s work. After this time is elapsed, the students will then have the same period to practice with the lights off. During this time, the instructor will randomly check students as they work to see how they are progressing, offering assistance when needed or asked.

Instructor Demonstration
(10 minutes)
After the student practice is complete, the instructor will discuss the basics of chemical development of black and white film emulsions. He will walk the class through the process, beginning with bringing the chemistry to the correct temperature, adding it to the canister without spilling it, emptying the developer, adding stop bath, again without making a mess, rinsing with water at the proper temperature, adding fixer, then emptying the tank, removing the developed film from the canisters, and placing it in the film washer. After the proper time, the film will be removed, put in the drier, and when dry, unreeled, cut into strips, and placed in archival sleeves for storage and editing.

Student Practice.
(10 minutes)
Students will then walk through the process, practicing adding chemistry, and removing it. Each student will practice these steps. The two person teams will again check one another’s work as proof against mistakes, and offer advice and assistance to one another.

Student Self Test
(5 minutes)
Students will take the twenty question self-test from their instructional materials kit, and test themselves. The answers are on the back of the test. This assessment is designed so the students will better understand how much of the instructio they have absorbed, and will not be ‘graded’ per se. The recorded assessment for this lesson will be the performance on the in class loading of film,  development of film, , washing and archiving of their film.

Assessment: Objective #1
(20 minutes)
Once the practice period is over, students will be told the testing period will begin. They will organize their equipment and prepare to load their unexposed film onto the reels. They will work in two person teams. Each student will check  his/her partner’s work. Students will be given fifteen minutes to load their film, the lights will be turned off, and they will be allowed to begin. When the time is up, the lights will be turned on. Any students not finished,  will have their film exposed, and have the appropriate number of points deducted.

Assessment: Objective #2
(20 minutes)
Students will develop their film, following the instruction sheets handed out at the beginning of class, and the walk through by the instructor. They will add and remove the chemistry, producing well developed photographic black and white negatives. Film should contain clear, clean, negatives of the instructor’s dog, Mindy. Students will indicate when  they are ready to have their negatives examined.

Assessment: Objective #3
(10 minutes)
Students, after being given permission, will: wash, rinse, and dry their film, then cut it and sleeve it according to the directions. The instructor will observe the process, and make notes as to the neatness of the student pairs work, and make appropriate deductions for sloppiness. They will turn in their finished film, with their names on the sleeves written with a Sharpie felt pen.

Conclusion

Photography 101: Reference Sheet #2/ Film Developing Procedures

Students will use this sheet during the assessment to insure they are following the proper procedures as they develop their film.

  1. Add developer: Choose chemistry bottle labeled Developer D76. Using a water bath, bring the developer to a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Pouring carefully, add developer until the solution covers the baffle at the top of the tank, then stop. Do not overfill.
  2. Agitating the canister every thirty seconds, as demonstrated previously, process film in developer solution for 6 minutes and thirty seconds. Pour developer back into chemistry bottle.
  3. Add stop bath from bottle labeled Stop. Agitating the tank continuously for thirty seconds then pour the stop bath back into the bottle it came from.
  4. From the bottle labeled ‘Fixer’ add Fixer to the container. Agitating gently for three minutes, then pour the fixer back into the bottle it came from.
  5. Take the developing tank to the sink, and rinse the film in the tank twice. Then open the tank, remove the film, and wash it in  one of the film washers for three minutes.
  6. Remove the film from the washer, submerge the film reel in Photoflo solution for thirty seconds. Remove, and place film, still on the reel, in the film dryer.
  7. When your film is dry, carefully remove your film from the reel. Check to insure it is thoroughly dry.
  8. Examine the film to see if it appears to be properly developed. Note any problems. Cut your film into strips six frames each, and slide the strips into the provided polypropylene sleeves.
  9. Clearly label the sleeve with your name, date, class, and assignment.
  10. Turn in your film to the instructor.

Photography 101 Class #1:
Film Development

Introduction:

Photography is a photochemical process by which reflected light is transferred onto one type or another of a silver salt emulsion. These emulsions, and there are a myriad of formulation that will render images, are photo sensitive. That is, they are sensitive, and undergo chemical change when exposed to light. In order to see these images these photo transfers the images recorded must be ‘developed’. That is, they must be treated with chemistry so they can be rendered into forms that the human eye and brain can ‘see’ as images. This treatment is what we call ‘developing’. To put it simply, developing film is the process of  taking the photosensitive emulsion and treating it with a series of chemical compounds that first coax the recorded image from the silver salts, then stop the developing actions, then fix it in pace, so it does not deteriorate or disappear in time. Developing film is basically a three step process involving three chemicals.

1. Developer
2. Stop Bath
 3. Fixer

Through the course of this semester we will explore a number of photographic techniques and processes. By the end of Photography 101, you will be able to develop your own black & white film, print your own black and white photographs,  and use a variety of artistic processes to render your own individual vision into photographs that will reveal not only your subjects, but your inner vision. In order to give each of you a preview of what your capabilities will be on completion of this course, I would like to share with you some examples of photographs taken by student who have completed Photography 101.

Insert Powerpoint show here.......

Beginning: Teacher Guide (objective #1)

At this time, have students choose a partner. Students can be organized into pairs for the semester or for the class. The students will work as a team, assisting one another as they master the tasks introduced today.

Organize student materials for this class. From here on, students will put these items in their cabinets, and reuse them, but for today, materials should be out and ready to use to make the most use of the time on this first lab class. At each place organize the following materials on a stainless steel tray (or other easily cleaned surface)

 

  1. A roll of exposed, ‘dummy’ film.
  2. A roll of exposed film.
  3. Three bottles of chemistry, labeled developer, stop, and fix.
  4. A pair of stainless steel reels.
  5. A single reel developing tank.
  6. A can opener.
  7. Scissors.
  8. A pair of  protective gloves.
  9. A laminated card printed with the grading rubric for this lesson on it.
  10. A laminated card with the step by step instructions on how to process black & white film printed on it.
  11. A an archival negative sleeve with room for 36  exposures of film.
  12. A dial thermometer.
  13. Wall clock or timer with seconds indicator
  14. Film washer.
  15. Hypoclear tank.

 

Give the students a few minutes to look these items over and get familiar with them.

 

At this point, demonstrate the procedure for putting film on the reel. Make sure to do it several times, slowly, so they can see how its done. Emphasize that it is not a race, and slow and steady will give the most optimal results. A mistake at this point will result in an unsuccessful performance on the assessment. Remember to explain to gently squeeze the film creating a shallow ‘U’ shape, so the film with fit between the wire sides of the reel. Remind them to  always wear protective gloved when handling chemistry, and that it is not safe to put fingers in or near their mouths or eyes after touching the chemicals.

Instructor Demonstration takes place here....

For the next fifteen minutes, have the students practice loading the stainless steel reel with film with the lights on.  Have them take turns, so that one students rolls while the other watches, and vice-versa. As they practice, take questions. If anyone is having a difficult time, stop by and do a more one on one demonstration.

Once the students have this down, proceed to having them practice in the dark. It might be a good idea to have them try it once with their eyes closed, or in dim light, then go to total darkness. If a lot of students have difficulty, go this route. Explain that film is sensitive to all wavelengths of light, including infra-red and ultraviolet. That’s why X-ray machines can ruin film at airports, and leaving film in hot cars can spoil it as well. This is why film is rolled in the dark, rather than under the red lights that printing is done under.

Turn Lights off

As they practice, you can issue gentle reminders of good reeling technique, or answer spoken questions. When everyone has their film on the reel, and it has been checked by their partner, turn on the lights.

Lights On

Discuss problems, and offer advice. Maybe do another quick demo. Then have them practice in the dark once more.

Lights off

When students can all put the film on the reel successfully, and get the canister top on correctly, it is time to move on to the processing part of the lesson. (objective #2)

Lights on

Example of Student Text (Objective #1)

At this time, please choose a partner. This partner will be your lab partner for the remainder of the class/semester. You will work together, helping one another master the tasks I introduce today.

Now that you all have some idea of the power and art a creative photographer has at his or her disposal, It is time to take our first step on the  creative journey of exploration. At your places, you will find there is a tray of items with your names on them..

 

  1. A roll of exposed, ‘dummy’ film.
  2. A roll of exposed film.
  3. Three bottles of chemistry, labeled developer, stop, and fix.
  4. A pair of stainless steel reels.
  5. A single reel developing tank.
  6. A can opener.
  7. Scissors.
  8. A pair of  protective gloves.
  9. A laminated card printed with the grading rubric for this course on it.
  10. A laminated card with the step by step instructions on how to process black & white film printed on it.
  11. A an archival negative sleeve with room for 36  exposures of film.
  12. Wall clock or timer with seconds indicator
  13. Film washer.
  14. Hypoclear tank

Please take a moment to familiarize yourselves with these items.

Now, please watch as I demonstrate how film is loaded on the reel. This is the single most important thing you will learn, because until you master this step, you can not proceed any further in this class. Its simple. To make photographs, you have to develop your film. To develop your film, you must successfully put the film on the processing reels without bending, kinking, or tearing it.

For the next fifteen minutes, practice loading the stainless steel reel with film with the lights on. Take turns, so that you check your partner’s film. When you think you have it on correctly, unroll it slowly and see. Properly loaded film will unroll smoothly. If you have difficulty or questions, raise your hand and I will assist you.

Once you are able to put the film on the reel smoothly and correctly with the lights on, it is time to practice in the dark.

Lights go off.

The reason we load film onto reels in the dark is simple. Film, unlike photographic paper, is sensitive to all wavelengths of light and radiation. How sensitive depends on the rating, or ASA/ISO of the film. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive to light the film. 25 ISO film is far less sensitive to light than ISO 3200 film.  Because film is sensitive of infra-red light (heat) film can be spoiled by leaving it in a hot car. Because it is sensitive to the ultraviolet end of the spectrum as well, x-rays and other radiation can ruin it as well. However, just because your film goes through an airport scanner, doesn’t mean it is ruined. It will depend on how powerful the scanner is and the ISO of the film. This is why that while we can print our pictures in an environment where we use  red or amber photographic lamps, film would be ruined by the same level of exposure.

Now, in the dark, by feel, load the dummy film. Take your time. It is not a race. When you get it on right, you’ll know. When the film is feeding properly, it goes on easily, and smoothly. When it is kinked or bent, it won’t.

Lights On

Okay.... Anyone need help? Good. So, One more time. Organize your desktops sop things are easily found, and.... Go!”

When students can all put the film on the reel successfully, and get the canister top on correctly, it is time to move on to the processing part of the lesson. (objective #2)

 

Beginning: Teacher Guide
(objective #2)

At this point, students will have a light-tight film tank with their film properly (we hope) loaded on the stainless steel reel inside. Have the students set aside materials they will not need for the next portion of the lesson, as these items will be in the way and students will run the risk of spilling chemistry on them. The items they will need going forward for this objective are:

 

  1. A steel developing tank with their film loaded into it.
  2. Three bottles of chemistry, labeled developer, stop, and fix.
  3. A dial thermometer, marked in quarter degree increments.
  4. A pair of  protective gloves.
  5. A laminated card with the step by step instructions on how to process black & white film printed on it.

Explain the steps they will be performing in sequence for this portion of the class.
Explain the function of the chemicals and the reasons they are used. Explain why the order in which they used is critical to success. A mistake with the chemistry will result in ruined negatives, so it is imperative that the students understand the concepts of chemical development and the actions occurring on the emulsion out of sight in their tanks.

 

Give the students a few minutes to organize these items and have them run through what they will be doing.

 

At this point, demonstrate the adding of chemistry. As you work, remind students to don their protective gloves. Photographic chemistry is toxic. Used safely, there is no significant danger in its use. Used sloppily, these chemicals can cause damage to eyes and skin. Fixer, in particular, is a known carcinogen, so adding and removing the chemistry without spilling is important, since one students mess can be another students problem. Wearing gloves to prevent casual contact with skin is also important. Emphasize these concerns without terrifying the students. Since this class is meant for first-timers, we are trying to encourage them, not scare the bejeesus out of them.

Explain the importance of precise timing of adding chemistry, removing chemistry, and why how long and at what temperature the film is processed is important. Students will be using the laboratory clock, located at the front of the room, to keep track of the time their film has been exposed to the various chemistry.

Demonstrate how to bring chemistry to the proper temperatures using a water bath and the dial thermometer provided. Students have sinks at their work stations. They will be using these sinks to get the chemistry to temperature.

Instructor Demonstration takes place here....

At this point, take questions. Remind them that only stupid question is the one they didn’t ask. This is a graded exercise. If they ruin their film, it will have a negative impact on their grade. This is why this portion of the instruction is graded.  So the students have added incentive to make sure they understand the process. 

Example of Student Text (Objective #2)

At this time, organize your work space so that only the items necessary for the next portion of the class are in front of you. Unneeded items can be stored in the cupboards beneath your work stations.

 

  1. A steel developing tank with their film loaded into it.
  2. Three bottles of chemistry, labeled developer, stop, and fix.
  3. A dial thermometer, marked in half degree increments.
  4. A pair of  protective gloves.
  5. A laminated card with the step by step instructions on how to process black & white film printed on it.

 

Please take a moment to organize these items so you can access them as we discuss their use and importance. 

Now, pay attention while I run through the development process. What is going on in your tanks is a chemical reaction.

The first chemical we use is called developer. The developer chemically converts the silver salts in the film that have been exposed to light to metallic silver. Developer can consist of Metol, Sodium Sulphite, Hydroquinone, Borax and Water. The developer we will be using today is XTOL, a Kodak product that is popular for its versatility and viability at a variety of temperatures. XTOL has vitamin C in it, of all things! This is a new developer, recently added to their product line by Kodak, which tells you that although many people are using digital techniques to produce images, innovation continues for those people who prefer traditional darkroom photography.

Instructor shows the packet to the class

D-76 powder is dissolved in warm water to make a solution that  is made to a strength that will allow the users, that’s you, to exercise a wide latitude of control over the developing process once you understand it. By the end of this course, you will be able to decide in advance, and manipulate the solution be temperature, concentration, agitation, and other techniques to create the images you are currently imagining. As you develop your film, you have to agitate it. What that means is every thirty seconds, you tap the bottom of the tank against a hard surface to get bubbles off the film, then turn the tank and rotate it, like this...

Instructor demonstrates agitation

...then you tap the tank against a hard surface again. Bubbles on the film will cause those portions of emulsion not to develop, and on prints, will show up a black circles. Failure to agitate your film properly will result in undeveloped negatives.

Example of Student Text (Objective #2)

At this time, organize your work space so that only the items necessary for the next portion of the class are in front of you. Unneeded items can be stored in the cupboards beneath your work stations.

 

  1. A steel developing tank with their film loaded into it.
  2. Three bottles of chemistry, labeled developer, stop, and fix.
  3. A dial thermometer, marked in half degree increments.
  4. A pair of  protective gloves.
  5. A laminated card with the step by step instructions on how to process black & white film printed on it.

 

Please take a moment to organize these items so you can access them as we discuss their use and importance. 

Now, pay attention while I run through the development process. What is going on in your tanks is a chemical reaction.

The first chemical we use is called developer. The developer chemically converts the silver salts in the film that have been exposed to light to metallic silver. Developer can consist of Metol, Sodium Sulphite, Hydroquinone, Borax and Water. The developer we will be using today is XTOL, a Kodak product that is popular for its versatility and viability at a variety of temperatures. XTOL has vitamin C in it, of all things! This is a new developer, recently added to their product line by Kodak, which tells you that although many people are using digital techniques to produce images, innovation continues for those people who prefer traditional darkroom photography.

Instructor shows the packet to the class

D-76 powder is dissolved in warm water to make a solution that  is made to a strength that will allow the users, that’s you, to exercise a wide latitude of control over the developing process once you understand it. By the end of this course, you will be able to decide in advance, and manipulate the solution be temperature, concentration, agitation, and other techniques to create the images you are currently imagining. As you develop your film, you have to agitate it. What that means is every thirty seconds, you tap the bottom of the tank against a hard surface to get bubbles off the film, then turn the tank and rotate it, like this...

Instructor demonstrates agitation

...then you tap the tank against a hard surface again. Bubbles on the film will cause those portions of emulsion not to develop, and on prints, will show up a black circles. Failure to agitate your film properly will result in undeveloped negatives.

The second chemical we use in developing black and white film is called stop bath, or just stop. Stop bath is a dilute acid – usually acetic acid (very pure white vinegar) or in rare cases, citric acid. Its orange, and in concentrate, strong and will ruin clothing and give a mild burn is it touched unprotected skin. When you mix stop, or any chemistry, always wear protective gloves and an apron. The yellow/ orange stains on your favorite shirt will never come out, is you spill stop on yourself. Your film will be in the stop bath for only a short period. What is happening in the stop is exactly what it sounds like. The acid in the stop bath chemistry is stopping the action of the developer, in the D-76 solution. It brings the reaction occurring on the film emulsion to a halt. In this class, we will be using a commercial product, Kodak’s stop concentrate as it is easy to prepare and it is an ‘indicator’ stop bath. That means it turns purple when it is exhausted. We will be re-using these solutions, to reduce the lab fees that students pay for the photography classes, so using an indicator bath helps prevent you from using an ineffective chemical by mistake.

Instructor shows the bottle of stop bath concentrate to the class

 

Once the reaction is stopped, we have to ‘fix’ the images on the film. To do this, we use  a chemical solution called descriptively, ‘fixer’. What fixer does is dissolves undeveloped silver salts from the film, leaving only the metallic silver that was produced by the development step. If we don’t ‘fix’ the film over time, these undeveloped silver salts will turn black, and ruin the images on the film. Poorly fixed film is a common problem museums deal with, as many well known, historically important photographers worked in the field, and did not properly fix their film. The chemicals most commonly used in fixer solutions include Sodium Thiosulfate and Ammonium Thiosulfate. These chemicals are known carcinogens. They can be absorbed through the skin. Prolonged exposure is a definite health risk, so wear your gloves and aprons. Take care not to wipe your wet gloved hands on your clothes, as the fixer will soak through and many people find fixer is a skin irritant. In this class, we’ll be using Kodak’s Rapid Fix.

Instructor shows the packet to the class

Once the film is ‘fixed’, it is finished. Or, at least, the development portion is complete. At this time, you will have the images on  your film, and the emulsion is no longer sensitive to light. At least not casual, ambient light. I will explain the difference that means a little later. When you reach this stage, you’re finished. When you develop your film for real, beginning in just a few minutes, and you reach this stage, you will raise your hand indicating you are ready to have me take a peak. If you have paid attention to the instruction, and executed the steps on your laminated card correctly, what we will see when we OPEN the film canister is 1 inch by one and a half inch rectangles of developed images separated by thing clear bands of substrate. That’s the plastic that the emulsion is attached to so it can be run through a camera on a roll. If you have these images, you will have completed this portion of the class successfully. At this time, the class will move on quickly to  the next part of the lesson. (objective #3)

 

Beginning Teacher Guide
(Objective #3)

At this point, students will have a reel of perfectly developed film (we hope) in an open developing tank. Have the students remove the developing chemistry from their table tops, and set them in their cupboards. The items they will need going forward for this objective are:

 

  1. Archival film sleeve for 36 exposures
  2. Sharpie felt tip pen.
  3. A pair of  protective gloves.
  4. A laminated card with the step by step instructions on how to process black & white film printed on it.
  5. A laminated card with the grading rubric film printed on it.
  6. Scissors

Explain the steps they will be performing in sequence for this portion of the class.
Their film is developed. Hopefully, each student has successfully produced negatives.
Any student who may have not done so, can go ahead and complete the lesson. They will have the appropriate deductions made in their grade, but can continue the process using their ruined film.

Give the students a minute or two to organize these items

At this point, the students will be wrapping up their instruction. This is the last part of the class before they develop their film for real. Talk the students through the use of a hypo clearing agent, film washing, drying.
Explain how the hypo clearing agent works, and why using it and washing their film is important.
Explain why using filtered water is necessary.
Demonstrate how to place film on the wire spindles to dunk it in the hypo clearing agent and the film washers in the lab sinks. Remind that while you have prepared these items for them for the purposes of this class, they will be expected to do it for themselves in the future, once they have been taught how.

Demonstrate how to use the film dryer. Discuss other film drying systems. This is important because on this campus, there are other darkrooms where different drying methods may be used. 

Instructor Demonstration takes place here

Once the film dryer use is explained, demonstrate the technique for cutting and sleeving. Discuss the importance of doing it correctly, and remind the students that if they cut their negative in half through carelessness now, all the steps to this point will have been in vain.

Instructor demonstration takes place here

Explain the notations necessary on the sleeve. Explain they will be expected to use the same notation system through out the semester, so it would be best if they learned it now rather than have to constantly asking how for the next three months. Remind them that proper notation is a part of their overall grade, and deductions will be made for poorly labeled film sleeves.

Self Test

Before the students go into the assessment phase of the class, where they will actually develop their film, have them remove their self-tests and quickly fill them out. The answer key is on the reverse of the questions. This self-test is not a part of the grade, but it will help you and them understand how much of the instruction has ‘stuck’ and to what portions of the instruction they paid attention.

 

Example of Student Text (Objective #3)

So we have pictures. We’re done. Aren’t we? Sort of. Fixer, left on the emulsion, will eventually degrade the metallic silver that is creating the actual pictures, something we absolutely do not want. To prevent this, we use a hypo-clearing agent. This helps to remove the fixer and fixing by-products. It consists of water and salts such as Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Bisulfite, Sodium Citrate, and EDTA Tetra-Sodium. We use a product called Permawash by Heico. We use Permawash for this class because it comes as a liquid concentrate, which makes it easier to handle, store, and mix.

Instructor shows the bottle of Permawash

Hypo clearing agents neutralize the fixer chemistry. The film is dipped into the hypo clearing agent for only a short time. Thirty seconds is sufficient. Then you’re done. Almost. After being dipped in the PhotoFlo bath, the film is put into a wash bath of filtered water. The filter is important, because ordinary tap water contains metals and other chemicals that will form deposits on your film that will show up at white dots in your prints. The film goes into the washer...

Instructor shows students the PhotoFlo bath and washer, demonstrating how film reels are placed on the metal spindle for dipping.

The film stays in the washer for about two to three minutes. Then it is taken out and placed into the drier. Driers come in two basic types, cabinet systems in which washed film is hung, like so much photographic laundry, and the reel type, which we use here, where we put the film, still on the reels, into a forced hot air drier. Cabinet systems are good because they dry the film in straight, easy to handle strips and the film is rarely overheated (and thereby ruined!) The down side to cabinet systems is they are slow. Which is why we use the forced hot air dryer for this class. What this is, basically, is a giant blow dryer. It has a fine filter to remove dust and other contaminants from the air before it is forced over your film. The stainless reels slide up inside the drying chamber, the retaining clip slid into place, and the timer turned to the appropriate time for the number of reels in the chamber.

The instructor demonstrates how this is done, and turns on the dryer.

The best part of this kind of dryer is that is it very fast. The negatives to using a forced hot air dryer are two fold. First, the film curls, so it is more difficult to handle. Second, if the film is left inside for too long, it can be overheated and ruined. Hopefully, you will never see film that looks like this...

Instructor shows a strip of burned film

If you do.... All you can hope is that there was nothing really important on it. If you do this to your film, please do not ask me to give you a break on grading the assignment you ruined by cooking your film. Photography is a process that is driven by attention to detail. The closer attention you pay to the concepts, techniques, and mechanical details of the process, the more successful you will be as photographers. Part of your grade, throughout the semester, will count on you paying attention to those details. Not ruining your film is one of those details.

Now, with your film drying, its time to finish up. We’re in the home stretch. The film comes out of the dryer looking like this. A gently curling six foot strip of film.

Instructor hold up a developed, dried, long strip of film

But what good is it? Looking at it like this is difficult. It won’t fit into most enlargers like this.  Storing film like this is cumbersome and looking at it in this form, annoying. To make editing, that’s the process of  examing the images on the film, selecting which ones you think make the best prints, and indicating the selections in a way that doesn’t damage the images. We’ll do that in this class by cutting your film into six negative strips, sliding those strips into polypropylene sleeves to protect them from dirt, dust, and chemical contamination. We use polypropylene because this type of plastic does not react chemically to the silver in the emulsion, and so it can be described as archival. Making notations on the data entry area of the sleeve is important so you can reference the negatives it contains in the future without having to examine each frame, one by one.

Instructor holds up a completed film sleeve.

This sleeve contains photographs of my dog, Mindy. She agreed to pose for this class after being bribed with about a pound of Oscar Meyer bacon. If you look here, in the subject section, I wrote Mindy, Photo 101 Demonstration. So without having to get out my loupe and examining each frame, I know what pictures are in these little rectangles of film emulsion.

Instructor points to notation

Here, I indicated the date. You can include a time, if its relevant. Before most news photographers or sports photographers went digital, they would use a time notation so they would know at what point during the event, or during what part of the game pictures were made, so they would know where to look for a frame they knew they’d taken. This is especially important when you develop film that you have not taken yourself.

Instructor points to the notation

You put your name here. This is important if one, you develop someone else’s film or two, you lose it and someone finds it. They can return it. Every semester, sleeves of developed negatives get left pinned to the bulletin board here in the lab.

Instructor points to the large cork board near the entrance of the lab.

Film without names is almost never found or turned in, especially if it’s a non-photography student who finds it. With your name on it, chance are if you should forget your film here, or elsewhere, you’ll get it back. You’ll also know which film is yours, if someone else develops it and leaves it for you.

When you cut up your film, be careful not to damage the images. Take your time, Cut straight. Every semester, someone hacks off a head, eye, leg, or some other part of an important piece of a frame that they were counting on having. There is really no excuse for coming this far, having it all done correctly, and botching it by chopping a frame in half. If you ruin your Pulitzer prize winning picture at this point, its gone, and feeling like an idiot will not get it back. So pay attention and do not rush when you cut. The best way to cut your film is to trim the end....

Instructor demonstrates as he describes the process

... Then insert one end of the film into the sleeve. Count off six frames, then cut. Again,  do not cut Mindy’s tail off. She won’t like it! Then you push the film with your finger tip so it is entirely inside the sleeve, then you repeat that process five more times...

Instructor finishes the cutting demonstration

...and viola, you are finished. At this point, you have successfully ( I hope) completed developing your first roll of black and white film, and have earned your first ‘A’.

Thank you for your attention, and good luck during the assessment portion of the class. We will now do it for real. Good luck.

End Objective #3

  1. The First Assessment will be a  practice self-test the students will take at their places immediately before developing their exposed film in the assessment phase.
  1. The second assessment will be the steel reel itself, with the film on it. Correctly loaded and properly set up and developed, the reel will yield a strip of properly exposed, suitably dense negatives that will, when printed, yield prints of a basic professional level.

Photography 101: Reference Sheet #1/ Class #1 Rubric

Students will familiarize themselves with this rubric, and be prepared to perform the required post test tasks at the end of the instruction period of class #1. This rubric is designed as a guide, so students may refer to it while working, so they may understand what is required, and by what standards each portion of the task is assessed.  Film not turned in will not be graded. There is no make up for this assignment. Students not present will receive a grade of ‘0’ for this coursework.

 

Photography 101/ Reference Sheet #3/ Self Assessement

Film Development: Section 1.
Putting the Film on a Reel (Objective #1)

 

  1. True or False. It is perfectly safe to put your film on a reel under red ‘photographic’ lights. _______________________________________________.

 

  1. In order to load film on a reel, using your thumb and forefinger you squeeze the film into what shape? _______________________________________________.

 

  1. Getting the film onto the reel as quickly as possible will result in better quality    negatives, True or false.  _____________________________________________.

 

  1. How many chemicals are needed to develop your film? ____________________.

 

  1. Name it or them. ___________________________________________________.

 

  1. True or False. It is perfectly safe to ingest photographic chemistry? ___________.

 

  1. True or False. X-Ray emissions will ruin any film that is exposed to them. _________________________________________________________________.

 

  1. Film is more sensitive to light as its ASA/ISO number is higher or lower? _________________________________________________________________.

 

  1. In the blank provided, please identify the element that is makes film emulsion light sensitive. ____________________________________________________.

 

  1. Photography is the photochemical process of recording what kind of light? _________________________________________________________________.

Film Development: Section 2.
Developing Film (Objective #2)

 

  1. In the blank following the question, identify the developing chemical used for this class. ____________________________________________________________.

 

  1. Tapping the developing tank against a hard surface during film processing  is done for what reason? _______________________________________________.

 

  1. What does stop bath stop? ____________________________________________.

 

  1. Fixer actually removes something from the film emulsion. What does it remove? _________________________________________________________________.

 

  1. What would be the result if you failed to agitate the developing tank during the development stage of film processing. __________________________________.

 

Film Development: Section 3.
Washing, Drying, & Sleeving Film (Objective #3)

 

  1. How long does film remain in the hypo clearing agent? ____________________.

 

  1. Why do we use a hypo clearing agent? ___________________________________.

 

  1. Name the two most commonly used types of film dryers. ___________________.

 

  1. Name three elements that must be present on your completed negative sleeve to receive full credit. __________________________________________________.

 

  1. Why do we use polypropylene sleeves as opposed to ones made from another substance, for storing negatives? ____________________________________.

 

Answer Keys  for student self test.

 

Answer Key/ Objective #1

  1. False: Film is sensitive to amber or red light.
  2. Film is bent into a ‘U’ shape.
  3. False
  4. 3
  5. Developer, Stop, Fixer.
  6. No. Most photographic chemistry is highly toxic!!!
  7. False. Film is sensitive to the radiation emitted by x-rays, but it will only ruin the film if the exposure is prolonged or the film is very high ISO
  8. Higher
  9. Silver
  10. Reflected

 

Answer Key/ Objective #2

  1. Kodak XTOL developer.
  2. The formation of air bubbles on the film emulsion.
  3. Stop bath stops the developing action of the developer.
  4. Fixer removes the undeveloped silver salts from the emulsion.
  5. Failure to agitate the canister would result in underdeveloped film.

 

 

Answer Key/ Objective #3

  1. 30 seconds
  2. Hypo clear removes traces of fixer chemistry from film, so the residual fixer does not damage negatives.
  3. Cabinet & Forced Hot Air.
  4. Name, date, assignment, and course. Any combination of  three.
  5. Polypropylene does not react chemically with the silver in film emulsions. Also acceptable; They are archival.

Student Take Home Review Guide

Photography 101: Instruction Block #1/ Film Developing

Table of contents

Introduction                             pp 2

Materials.                                pp  2

Objective #1                            pp 5-7

Objective #2                            pp 8-10

Objective #3                            pp 11-13

 

Introduction

Welcome to Photography 101/ Introduction to Photography. This class is designed for those students with an interest in photography, but little if any experience. While some of you will be art or even photograph majors, and others seeking an elective more challenging or appealing than the offerings of the geology department, at this point, for this class, we will be starting at ground zero. No one will be assuming you know anything about the process, the technique, or any other aspect of turning unexposed film into expressions of your inner self. This class will be taught as a ‘ground up’ approach to teaching you how to develop film, archive film, and print photographs in a traditional darkroom. You will achieve a familiarity with your camera  that will allow you to focus (pun intended) on making pictures, not operating your camera. You will learn basic compositional techniques, like dominant foreground, perspective, and the rule of thirds to enhance your own creative vision.  And in spite of the class’ title, Introduction to Photography, you will learn a great deal aobut the subject. By the endof this class, each and every student will be able to operate in a black and white darkroom entirely on their own. They will know their camera and know it well. And they will have taken professional quality pictures that belong hanging proudly on the walls of your home for years  to come.

Methods

During this class, and going forward, student will work in two person teams duringthe laboratory sessions in the darkroom. The reason for this is twofold. First, it give both of you the advantage of two trains of thought to solve problems. Second, you can check one another’s work, and hopefully prevent mistakes.

Materials

For this class, the list of materials is important. They will be provided, and when you get them, you should compare this list to the items you have at your work station, to be sure you have everything you need.

  1. 1 roll of exposed film
  2. 1 roll of ‘dummy’ film for practicing.
  3. 1 stainless steel film reel
  4. 1 single roll stainless steel development tank, with cover
  5. A film cannister opener (can opener)
  6. A pair of scissors
  7. 3 bottles of pre-mixed photo chemistry, developer, stop, and fixer
  8. Two pairs of protective, disposable gloves
  9. A dial thermometer
  10. An archival polypropylene negative storage sleeve.
  11. A laminted card, with the grading rubric for this lesson
  12. A laminated card with step by step instructions for developing film on it.
  13. A one page self-test, to be taken prior to the beginning of your actual development time.

 

Check to make sure all of these materials are present at your work station.  If you are unsure of what any item might look like, consultthe appropriate section in your guide.
Objective #1/ Loading the film onto the stainless steel reel

This is the first step on your journey of photographic discovery.

First, in a totally dark room, you open your film canister with the can opener. Once you do that, you’ll find that the end of the film is not straight. You have to cut the leader portion of the film away, so you can feed the film onto the reel.

Next, you feed the end of the film into the reel, under the small spring clip at the center of the reel. You can look and find it, as you practice.

After you get the film clipped under the spring clamp, using the thumb and forefinger of one hand, while you hold the film reel in the other, you squeeze gently so the film is bent into a u-shape, emulsion side down. It is important to bend the film just enough so the film fits between the wire sides of the reel, but not so much, the film won’t slide into place. As you bend the film, push the film gently towards the reel. With the other hand, you rotate the reel away from the pressure. The film will feed slowly into place.  When you finish putting the film on the reel, you will end up with the film spindle in one hand, still attached to the film, and the reel of film in the other. Place the reel on the counter, flat, so it won’t roll, find the scissors

(remember, this is done in total darkness, so arrange your workspace before you turn out the lights!) Cut the film free, making sure you cut all of the tape that holds the film to the spindle, so that it doesn’t get into the tank with your film.

Place the reel with the film on it in the developing tank, and place the lid on firmly.

Once the lid is on, you can turn the lights on. Your film is safely in the canister and ready to be developed!

 

End/ Objective #1 Student Guide

 

Objective #2/ Developing your film

At your work station, put aside those items you won’t need, and store them in the cupboards beneath your work are so they won’t get wet in the event of an accident.

To begin, first, locate your chemistry. Your chemistry is in collapsible plastic containers, labeled developer, stop, and fixer.

To develop your film you will need to bring these chemicals to 72 degrees. To do this, you will need your dial thermometer.

In your workstation sinks, run the water, mixing hot and cold until you have the temperature at about 75 degrees. Check the temp frequently. When the temperature is correct, place the bottles of chemistry in the water baths.  Unscrew the cap of your developer, and check to see what the chemistry temperature is. When it reaches 72, removed the developer bottle from the water, dry it with paper towels at your work station.

Next, check the clock at the front of the room, or use your wrist watch if it has a second hand, and make note of the time. Write it down. Then, next to the time, write down a number seven minutes from that one. Remove the stopper from the top of your developing tank cover. Pouring carefully, fill the tank with chemistry. Try not to spill chemistry. Photo chemicals can be irritating to the skin, dangerous to ingest, and both painful and irritating if you get them in your eyes. Place the stopper back in the film tank top, and tap the canister on the table top gently. Every thirty seconds, agitate the tank by inverting it three times slowly, then tapping it on the table top again. Agitation makes sure fresh chemistry is always in contact with the undeveloped film and the tapping dislodges any air bubbles that might form on the film. If the air bubbles aren’t dislodged, the leave undeveloped areas, which, after the film is fixed, are  seen as small, clear circles in the film strips, and when the prints are made, announce themselves as round black dots on your photos.

When seven minutes are up, slowly pour the developer into the sink. We are using a non reusable developer fort his course, to make mistakes less likely. Therefor, we won’t be reusing chemistry, as you will in future classes, if you continue to pursue photography. When the tank is empty, locate the bottle labeled ‘stop bath’ and slowly add the chemistry to the tank until it is full. Agitation is less important with stop than developer. The film is only in stop for between one and three minutes, depending on solution strength. Our solution strength dictates a stop bath immersion for two minutes.

When the time is up, pour the solution from the tank into the sink, and flush with water. Try not to splatter the chemistry as you pour it out. Stop bath will stain your clothing permanently if it splattered onto you.

Now, find the bottle labeled Fixer.

Fixer comes as a powder, in packets or  in small bottles of , highly concentrated liquids like these. It is mixed in hot water, and stored at usable strength, in bottles like the ones at your work stations. This saves time and reduced mixing errors which are costly in terms of money, but also, ruined negatives.
Add the fixer, pouring slowly, until the tank is filled. Replace the stopper. Agitate gently. The fixer remains in the tank for five minutes. When time is up, the fixer is poured out into the sink, then the sink is flushed with water.

End: Objective #2

 

Objective #3/ Film washing, drying, and archiving

At this point, you will open your tanks. The images have been devloped, the development has been stopped, the images ‘fixed’ on the film. It is safe to peek now. Make sure you have your gloves on, then uncap the tank, and unreel a litle of the film and see how you’ve done. If you did everything correctly, there should be dark black  one and a half inch by one inch recttangles of black on the purpleish film emulsion.

At this point, we removed the last races of fixer from the film by using a chemical called hypo clear. This prevents the iages on the film from being degraded by a continuing chemical reaction between the fixer and the metallic silver that comprise the negative images.  You will be using a hypo clearing agent called Permawash

This is a liquid, so it mixes more easily than powder types, and it is relatively inexpensive. At your work station, you will see a steel tank labeled ‘hypo’. Using the metal spindle sticking out of this metal tank, dip your film in the hypo clear, then leave it for one minute. After a minute, transfer the film on the spindle, to the film washer.

Place your film in the film washer, and turn on the water supply. Your film should wash for approximately three minutes. When your film is washed, turn off the washer, removed your film, and take it to the film dryers at the front and rear of the classroom. Set the timer for the appropriate number of reels going in, on the dryer dial.

When you film is dry, bring it back to your work stations.  Find your scissors, sharpie pens or china markers.

On the negative sleeve, write your name, date, assignment and course that this film was produced for. It will be advisale, through the course of the semester, to get a portfolio or simple ring binder to protect and transport your negatives.

At this point, you are ready to turn your first project in. The grades will be posted on the class website by Friday.