Developing 8×10″ plates

He had already seen him do it, but he still had neither a large-format camera of that size nor a film so colossal.

These Christmas days I have been able to sneak in the laboratory of the friend and teacher Alfonso de Castro in the remote town of Pedrola, in Aragon.

Besides doing other things I have been able to practice, and thoroughly, all the secrets to reveal in a tray. I do not deny that I had much respect to reveal this type of film, not for the revealed itself, but for the size and technique.

Well, loaded with a beautiful Wista View of 8×10 wood and with a Schneider f / 4.5 of 300mm optics we started!

First of all, we closed to the laboratory and, totally in the dark, we proceeded to load the 8×10″ plates in the chassis. These are not easy to get and they are very expensive. Keep in mind that in the dark it is impossible to know which side of the film is emulsified, of course. That’s why all large-format plates have a small leak so that the touch can know which part is the “good” and which is not. On this occasion we released a box of Fomapan100. For large-format plates we have to put the movie with its “brand” in the upper right. In this way we know that the emulsion part will be “looking” at the optics. Each type of film has its own “brand” feature.

Once we loaded the chassis we went to the room where we already had the Wista View mounted on its corresponding tripod. We prepared a couple of flashes with windows, measured light with a photometer, a pair of plates shot by Alfonso against my body and another pair of plates fired against Alfonso by me.

After laughed boldly with the positions and focus and frame only adjust the optic to the diaphragm that the photometer said and at a more subjective speed; in these portraits f/11 and 1/125 speed.

Sneaky sometimes it takes so much trouble with what each plate costs, but well, it is always magical to hear the shutter shoot with a camera of these characteristics.

It is also highly recommended to use both sides of the chassis covers to find out which plates are already in place and which ones do not. Although if the caguem can always have a nice double picture.

Once we have the exposed plates touch back to the laboratory and … devoloping!

Since we do not have any androgynous where the film can be placed and protected from light we choose to reveal how it has always been done, with tray and without light!

So the first thing to do is to prepare the chemicals, in our practice we used HC-100 to “B” dissolution, stop liquid, normal fixer and final antistatic bath.

So in the first tray: 500 ml of distilled water at 20 ° C, 15 cl of HC-110 and the developer are ready. A second tray with 1/2 liter of stop bath liquid and a third with the fixer.

We prepare the fantastic Massive Dev app on the iPhone, indicate film and sensitivity, lower the brightness of the phone to the minimum minimum and more We indicate to the App that you use red light. This could watch the movie, so we move it as far as possible and face the phone against the wall. We will be guiding more for the App itself than for the screen, of course.

We proceed with the hands that are very clean and dry to extract the film from the chassis and first place a film with the emulsion by looking at the bottom of the tray and immediately the second plate with the emulsion facing the ceiling. It is very important to place one and stir the other to prevent plates from sticking and developing problems.

With the App already running, we are feeling the noise that indicates time. We will gently shake the tray so that the developer fights his work. Unlike the 35 or 120 film in a tray, we will not stop moving the chemicals at any time until the development time is over.

Then, and still working on the blinkers, we raise the tray plates and let the developer drain completely in the tray. We proceed to move the plates, in the same way, to the second tray with the stop bath. We also sachet the tray for the minute that the operation lasts.

Fixed Once the App indicates that the stop time has already finished, we drain the chemical from the plates by lifting them in the tray and then passed them to the tray where we have the fastener. Shake the tray 5 minutes and … we can open lights!

If everything went well we already have our splendid plates perfectly revealed and we can see the results. Now you just have to pass the plates to a last tray where we will proceed, with running water, to wash any remaining chemicals in the film. It is also highly recommended to make a last bathroom with anti-static liquid to prevent dust from being deposited in the drying process.

Finally we extend the plates and patiently hope that they are completely dry.

And that is the result, the models are the ones we had at hand, but for practice we already had enough.

You can see the results of the four plates in this link