A greeting from tiny Luxembourg

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Hal

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Oct 4, 2009
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Hi all,

I've been lurking here a while, thought I finally ought to wade in and actually introduce myself. I've been doing what I consider photography (actively thinking about the subject, rather than just pressing the button and praying) for about two years now, ever since my late Granddad gave me a lovely but sadly non-functional original Canon Canonet camera. Since then I have become increasingly interested in both film photography in general, and traditional B&W darkroom work in particular (although, after receiving my first batch of slides recently, I think I'm going to have to give colour another look). Even though, as of this July, I am no longer a student there, my school has continued to grant me access to their expensively equipped and largely forgotten darkroom (I am the first person in several years to use it at all). As I have been attempting to teach myself darkroom technique, I have several questions, and I hope you won't mind if I post them here;

How long does unopened fixer keep? I ask this because I finally feel ready to start developing my own films; I already bought some ID-11, and have found a fully sealed (silver-foil cap intact) 1l bottle of Ilford Rapid Fixer at the back of a cupboard in the darkroom. I know that it must be at most seven years old, as it has a price marked in Euros, but beyond that I don't know. Can I safely use this for film, or should I buy a fresh bottle just in case?

During my last printing session, the 24x30cm print I hoped to be the "fine" and final one from that negative stained a pinkish-red along all edges (the paper was normal Ilford Multigrade, although, as with the fixer, I don't know the exact age). Does anyone know what might have caused this (I didn't have this problem with any of the 17x24cm tests and proofs)?

To what extent is a wetting agent (Ilfotol) necessary for film and paper, respectively?

Thanks in advance, and sorry if this forum isn't the right one for these questions.
 

Mike1234

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Howdy, Hal!! Welcome to APUG.org. Your fixer is probably okay but I don't know what caused your print stains... perhaps cross-contamination? Wetting agent is not needed for prints but is a must for film in the final rinse... preferably with distilled water.
 

papagene

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Hal - hello and welcome to APUG! :D

gene
 

Anscojohn

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Welcome, from near Washington, DC.
 

Robert Hall

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Welcome Hal. I love Luxembourg. I lived there while working at the EC back in the 90's. I have some great images from there and Trier.

You can test drive the fix by taking an end clipped from an unexposed roll of black and white film and mixing a small amount of fix as per instructions. Put the film clip in the fix you have just mixed and swish it around while you monitor the time since you put it in until it is clear. If it clears in a minute or so, you should be just fine with the fix. If not, give it a toss and get some new.

Please post some images from Luxembourg so I can talk my wife in to coming back to visit.

All the best,
 

mooseontheloose

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Hi Hal! Welcome to APUG. I used to live in Nancy (France) but never quite made up to Luxembourg, even though I had many plans to, since it was so close.

Good luck with your darkroom endeavours. I've been kind of on a roll this past week; however, I've just spent five hours in the darkroom in frustration -- all of my test prints are fine, all my 'good' prints have what I assume to be fixer drops over key parts of the image. I guess you win some and lose some. Like the poster above, I'm not sure what is causing the pinkish stains on the edges of your print, although maybe it has to do with the age of the paper. You might save yourself some frustration (and in the longrun time and money) by just buying fresh paper and chemicals now. Leave the old stuff for testing and non-important prints.
 
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Laurent

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Welcome on APUG !
 
Joined
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Hello from Luxembourg Hal. I've been living here for the last 20 years. I'm not so experienced in darkroom techniques, but I do have my own darkroom and I print regularly for five years now. I'd be glad to be of help.
 

P C Headland

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Welcome from the other side of the world.

I'm another that's spent some time working in Luxembourg (while living in NL). You could always tell when you'd crossed the BE-LU border, 'cos the roads suddenly became beautifully smooth :wink:

Good luck with your developing.
 
OP
OP

Hal

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
21
Format
35mm
Thank you all for your warm welcome.

Just to clarify, can I use any piece of undeveloped film to test my fixer (eg. the end of an exposed leader) or must the film also be unexposed?

Thanks again for your help.
 

Anon Ymous

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Welcome Hal!

The film doesn't need to be unexposed, although massively overexposed film (as in left somewhere for weeks) can complicate things. Before putting the film in the fixer, put a drop of fixer on it and let it there for some minutes. It will clear the spot and it will be easier to estimate how much it took for the film to clear once put in the solution. When you can't see the dot, film is clear.
 
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