Sunday, April 29, 2012

The contents of hair dye

Note: This «developer» did not work like it could. The first hair dye component I used worked much better than  this one. I only got a grey stain where light met the film but no images at all.

Actualization, 24:00 Lisbon, 30th March:

I changed the recipe and it seems to work better now. Keep in touch, and in some hours I will post new photos, this time with images. If colored or not, I don't know yet! But there are some images on the last film, another one is being developed.

Just a question of proportions and time. It will be still better.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hair dye instead of CD-4

Today I decided to try almost every possible combinations of developers without CD-4 that might give some encouraging result. Coffee, lots of coffee, like I did with the salt fixer, but this time nothing happened that could encourage me to go further. With parodinal, different concentrations, etc., and nothing again. Then mixing coffee with parodinal, and Vitamine C and aspirine and green tea, but nothing worked really, only sometimes a very tiny shadow made me suspect it could result, but nothing. Well, looking to the poor photos of the group in Flickr that is making color photos with hair dye that doesn't encourage anyone to go in that direction.

But I was feeling that this day could not finish without a small joy. I had a hair dye kit that I already tried without success, but from the 60ml bottle containing the para-fenilenediamine I only used some 10 ml. It was almost full. I picked it up, turn all the content in a yougurt beaker and complete with water to make 100ml. The liquid alone is thick and not practical to measure.

In another 100ml beaker I putted 2 ml of this solution, water and a tsp sodium carbonate. All on my cookies box stove to keep the mixture warm, about 25 ºC.

I had already a lot of color film slices developed, bleached and fixed, all yelow and transparent, except one where I used the Tetenal developer as recommended and witch serves to show me when a film is really developed. This slice was dark brown.

I cutted a piece of film and let stay for 30 minutes in the hair dye, then bleach and fix. It was dark brown-grey. Aha! It may work, not giving the best results, but something will appear. I loaded a 35mm camera with cheap Lomography film and tried. Yes, something was there in the film. Underdeveloped but I saw after that the ISO was set too high, 160 instead of 100 and the camera was in Auto-mode.

Tomorrow I will be repeating the experiment more carefully and I may add something more to the bath. Guess what? Coffee, of course!

My street
Another view from my flat
 Self-criticism: The film was 100 ISO but, by mistake, exposed if it was 160. Neverthless, the negatives are very usable, a good scanner could make better of them. These photos are macros with the small Olympus FE4050, tunned with GIMP.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I am back again to the coffee and color

One of my first failures with Caffcol I

The leitmotiv and primary motivation of this blog was and is to find a coffee-based developer for C41 process. I am not sure if it will work 100%. I have experimented two approaches: the first one is to add a little CD-4 to normal caffenol and develop as usual C41, using coffeee, instead of the hydroxilamine; the second is a two bath developer where the first is just CD-4 with a preservative and that can be used several times, and the second bath is a mixture of sodium hydroxide and coffee so that the pH is about 12. The first approach gaves more vivid colors than the second but both work, temperatures may have an influence in the final result.
But I didn't give up trying to develop without the expensive and rare CD-4, only available in a complete kit that costs a lot and where some bottles only have sodium carbonate or EDTA and normal fixer.
If I succeed in developing without CD-4, this will be «gold over blue» like it is said here in Portugal when something is very good.
When I started searching about color development, I found many references to para-phenilenediamine and had no idea about what that was, and where it exists in common products. I found out that it is used in hair dyes, then I found out that some people could make use of this component of hair dye to make a sort of color pictures, very «artistic» ones but not really color photos.
Then I learned that CD-4 is not para-phenilenediamine but a sulfate of a derivative of that substance. Further I learned that there were other CD-N substances used in other color processes, all very complicated for a non-skilled in Chemistry like me.
But, one think is theory, another is practice. Theory without practice is worth nothing, practice without any theory is dangerous. So I must be careful doing experiments and not just mix things and see, some dangerous substances may form and bye bye, Henrique!
But if I go on reading and experimenting, maybe I will achieve the goal.
I hope!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Making a better salt fixer

As I already told you in this blog (see recipes) sea salt may be used as fixer if you use a very concentrated solution, for me it works with 300g per liter solution, and the warmer the better. At 40ºC you may fix a B&W film in one and half hour. Many people will find this time still too long, although they are developing with rodinal in 2 and more hours. But if they may fix in 5 minutes with ammonium thiosulfate, why then salt in 2, 3 or more hours according to temperature and concentration. For this reason I am now looking for an additive to salt, easy to get, that would make this fixer faster. I already tested two of them, sodium fluoride and potassium bromide. Both act as accelerators but potassium bromide, for the same weight, is faster.
I have been using 0,2 g Kbr per liter, adding more brought no advantage. Very small amount for a large time reducing, almost 40% less time needed to clear and fix.

The same salt solution with two different additives

Monday, April 16, 2012

Back to color and coffee

I think that with the first developer, Caffcol I, it is ready to use, no more changes will be done. It gives acceptable results using a film scanner instead of the macros that I have been doing before. Some of the photos made in Caffcol I deserved  very good references in Flickr and Facebook where they were also showed.

Now I am using a two bath developer witch I will call Caffcol II, consisting in a first bath of the color developer CD-4 alone with metabisulfite as preservative and a second bath of just Caffenol made with NaOH, caustic soda. I had some disasters with this, because the cheap pH-meter was measuring wrong, giving higher values than the real ones and the films were very weak. I recalibrated it with distilled water but I concluded that the pH stripes, although not allowing fine measuring, are more confident. So, I am back to the old times, measuring with pH stripes and scanning with macros because I returned the Epson V330 to the seller because it started making scratches in the pictures.

Yesterday I made a trip to Caldas da Rainha with an old diesel train, to visit one of my daughters, and I took my Olympus Pen Trip 35 with a color film of Lomography 100 ISO. Once back, I developed it in Caffcol II and I am not very unhappy with the results. They could be better but may be a scanner could enhance these macros I am going to show you now.

Example 1
Example 2

Example 3

Example 4
Example 5

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kitchen salt is a good fixer

Under request of a skeptic I undertook a test called the Sulphide Test on a piece of film fixed with salt. I prepared a solution of sodium sulphide (the substance that stinks in Carnival bombs) and I putted a drop of this thing on the piece of film during 5 minutes. If some silver were in it (not completely fixed), I would get a brown stain. Nothing happened, salt passed the test! One may use kitchen salt as a cheap fixer and combining concentration and temperature it is possible to fix in less than 2 hours. But why not leaving it at room temperature over night?

Before the test

During the 5 minutes test

After the test no brown stain, no silver at all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another example of color from B&W negatives

The photo above was made with a camera Agfa Isola I, witch has a light leak in the middle of the image. This camera uses 120 films that I developed with meta-parodinal (see in the recipes), then fixed with common kitchen salt, digitized with a digital camera Olympus FE4050, set at incandescent light and using LED back light. The image was positivated via software, GIMP and automatic white balance was applied to it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why do I get color with B&W negatives?

Because I am not satisfied with the quality of the photos from color negatives scanned in my normal scanner modified to scan transparencies, I am making now more experiments with black and white negatives. I like 120 film Fomapan 100 because it is good and cheap. And I love the square or almost square format that the cheap 120 lomographic cameras do.
To scan black and white, my scanner is good enough and for medium format is ideal. I used an Agfa Isola I to make a roll of pictures, 12, and I choosed one of them to make several types of digitization.

Normal scanner tunned to scan transparencies set to B&W

The same negative scanned with normal scanner but set to color
The same negative photographed with a digital camera set to incandescent light. White balance auto in GIMP.
The same negative but fixed automatic with the digital camera in Edit/Perfect fix. White balance with GIMP.
The last photo is almost a color photo. There were yellow flowers on the field and green grass. The white spot in the middle of all these photos is a light leak of the Agfa camera at the window where the numbers pass.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Great advances in Black and White

I may declare here that I succeeded to make a one-bath developer-fixer, that is to say, with only one bath the film is processed, developed and fixed, white areas will be transparent and black areas a sort of sepia, brownish. But this is just the first announcement, there may be nuances to this, the film is still wet and will be dried and scanned in a few hours.
The assumptions I have made did work, that is the important. I calculated the exact amount of ingredients and time. I did close the film in the tank, poured the developer-fixer and waited the time estimated to the process to be finished. And it was finished. I don't know if it took less time, of course. But if so, still better.
By now, the process took some hours to be considered finished, I will not say how many but much less than 24 hours.
Now, be patient and wait for the results. The camera was an half-format AMI from Poland bought at ebay. The pictures were shoot in the early hours of today and then I started making the «soup» for the process and the process is now complete, only the time to dry and scan.

Monobath developer-fixer

Monobath developer-fixer

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My scan system needs improvement .

I returned the Epson scanner to the seller because it started making strange noise and scratching the glass inside. Unfortunately 35 mm negatives are very difficult to reproduce without a good scan system. The macros don't satisfy enough. Unless for artistic purposes, like this one from the last roll I developed with Caffcol II, the two baths developer. I used a camera Smena and a film from Lomography, both of them not so good technically speaking. The development went fast good, pH needs to rise a little more, maybe until 11. I worked with 10,2 and the film is still a little weak but a good scanner could improve the results. So, I leave you with the best macro I could extract from a thin negative.

Original made with a Smena 8M and Lomography film