It all started for me at the beginning of this year. I had always shot film here and there, and sending it in to the lab has its benefits as well as disappointments. The benefit is having a professional lab technician doing the work for me; shooting the film, then sending it away and not having to worry about it until I get the disc/scans back. Also, some people find the wait (of about a week on average) difficult, while it is hard if I know I shot some good stuff, it's like waiting for bacon to cook, the wait is difficult, but so rewarding in the end.
The disappointments about sending the film into a lab is the cost and distance felt from the process. Developing/scanning costs have shot through the roof it seems. $15-20 for a single roll of b&w developed and scanned is hard on the wallet. Shooting a roll of film for personal work or for a client, and sending it to someone I don't know but am expected to trust is something that started to weigh in on me. I felt that after I took the photos, I didn't have control of what was going on and wasn't a part of the process anymore. I wanted to control everything and really feel the reward of doing everything from beginning to end.
My first batch of rolls, after a friend taught me the process of developing, went horribly. My thermometer was off by about 15 degrees too cold (which made the images barely even develop.) I was also shooting Tri-x and Tmax, which I actually do not like at all (blasphemous, I know.) but hear me out. I love contrast, black blacks and white whites. I feel there is a certain drama to a high contrast image; Tri-x and Tmax just don't do it for me, they are too grey, which many people love; I, on the other hand, feel they are too flat and boring. Ilford is where it's at for me. But the film I shoot is a different story all together.
Opening the developing tank after fixing to find an almost completely see-through roll is gut wrenching, it hurts. But after getting a proper Kodak thermometer, and Ilford film, I was in business. Developing has become a joy I look forward to. And being able to shoot, develop, and scan my images all in the same day is very rewarding. And having the complete control over the process is a great feeling.
This is my first blog post ever, and it seems long winded to me. But I can talk forever on subjects that have great interest to me.
Basically, if you do some research and check out YouTube videos on how to start the process, talk to other film shooters and people who develop at home, and take the plunge into developing at home; you might find yourself enjoying shooting that much more.
Ending quick, but until next time....