How To: Acetic Acid for Black & White Negative Processing

ACETIC ACID

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Photographic processing is perfect for a unique twist on your typical Christmas pictures! This blog is even fun to do together as a family.

All photographic processing use a series of chemical baths. Processing, especially the development stages, requires very close control of temperature, agitation and time.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A BASIC GUIDE AS WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS BLOG. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE TRYING THIS BLOG.

PLEASE NOTE: EVERY CHEMICAL SHOULD HAVE ITS OWN GALLON JUG AND FUNNELS. DO NOT USE THE SAME EQUIPMENT WITH THE CHEMICALS!

You Will Need:

Stop bath is a chemical solution responsible for bringing the developing of the image to a halt. If the image stays in developer for too long.

The fixer, which is essential will help with the developing process as it “fixes” your image in it’s final state, allowing the image to be exposed to light as a finished product. If the image is exposed to light without fixer, even after the developing and stopping process, the image can still get fogged or turn completely black.

Step 1 – Dark Room

Start by setting up your dark room. It doesn’t take much to set up your own darkroom. A room that is light tight is essential, because photographic paper and film are light sensitive. Start off by closing the door and turn off the lights. *Make sure to check for any sign of outside light creeping through. If there is, use a towel, black bin bag or duct tape to block the intruding brightness.*

You will need easy access to running water for chemistry mixing and print washing.

Step 2 – The Developer

This is a 1:3 Chemical to water mix. Use the measuring beakers for measuring the chemicals. The chemical to water mix is 1 part developer to 3 parts water. This gives you a “stock” solution. The stock solution will be diluted more before using it on the film. Diluting this stock solution will provide you with a “working” solution.

Step 3 – The Stop Bath

This ratio is a 1:3 Chemical to water mix. Mix the Acetic Acid 6% and water together using a 1:3 ratio. use the funnel to avoid any spillages. Store this in a Jerrycan. This is a working solution.

Step 4  – The Fixer

The ratio is a 1:4 Chemical to water mix. Mix the fixer and water together (use a funnel to avoid a spillage) and store in another Jerrycan. This is another working solution.

Step 5 – Hypo-Clearing Agent

Mix the full packet (4.4oz) with 1.25 gallons (4.7L) of water. This chemical comes as a powder, and you need to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed. Store in a Jerrycan.

Step 6 – Temperature Check

Once the chemicals have been mixed and stored in the Jerrycan, you need to bring them to the correct temperature. Fill a large sink (similar size to a kitchen sink) with water that is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Use the thermometer to get the correct temperature. This is very important. Put your Jerrycan of chemicals in the sink, floating in the water. These chemicals must be 20 degrees Celsius when you use them. (We are putting them in 68 degrees water because the temperature of the water is going to drop a bit while bringing the chemicals to the correct temperature).  The Jerrycan should sit in the water for 30 minutes.

Step 7 – The film

Pop open the film canister, remove the film and load onto the film reel, place the reel inside the developing tank. This must be in complete darkness. *NO LIGHT AND NO SAFETY LIGHTS AT THIS POINT, THIS STEP CAN BE DONE IN LIGHT* Take the scissors, bottle opener, film canister, film reel, and developing tank into a dust free room that you can make light-tight.

Step 8

Place the tools out next to you. Make sure you lay the tools out so that you can find them in the darkness. Turn off the lights.

Step 9 – Preparing the film

Use the bottle opener to open the bottom of the film canister. While only touching the film negative from the edges, pull the film out of the canister. The film will be taped to the center film spool. Make sure you cut it off right at the base of the spool or you could cut through your images. Cut the tip off the film. (This is the odd shaped piece that sticks out of the canister when you first buy the film) so that it’s flat. Please Note: You only need to cut about 1 inch (2.5 cm) off the tip.

Step 10 – Spool

Spool the film onto the film reel. While not touching the surface of the negative, slide the negative into the opening of the reel.

Step 11 – Develop

Place the reel inside the developing tank, and screw the lid onto the tank. At this point you can now turn the lights back on as the tank is now light-tight. Pour water into the tank and let this stand for 1 minute. Even though the developing tank has a hole in the top, don’t worry this is for pouring chemicals and won’t have any impact on your images. Pour the water out after one minute. This will make the film swell up and accept the developer solution.

Step 12

Bring the developing tank to the sink with your chemical jugs floating in water. Check the developer chemical with the thermometer. If this is at 20 degrees Celsius, then you are ready to go. Please Note: If the solution is higher then keep checking back. However if it is lower, add some hot water to the sink the Jerrycan are floating in.

Step 13

Pour 1 ounce of the stock developing solution into the graduated cylinder and then add 7 ounces of 20 degrees Celsius water to that. You are making a “working” solution by using a 1:7 chemical to water ratio. As a reminder, you made a stock solution of the developing chemical by using a 1:3 chemical concentrate to water ratio, and then mixed that stock solution with a 1:7 working chemical to water ratio.

Step 14

With your stopwatch next to you, pour the working developer into the hole in the top of the developing tank. Do this quickly and start the stopwatch as soon as you’ve poured the developer.  Smack the developing tank on a counter a few times to dislodge any bubbles that might be clinging on to the film.  Swirl the tank around for 30 seconds and leave the film in the developer for as many minutes that is appropriate for your film type. *THIS RESEARCH MUST BE DONE BY YOURSELF AS WE DO NOT ADVISE ON THIS*. Swirl the film again for 5 seconds every 30 seconds. Depending on the style you are going for depends on how many times you want to swirl the image. *AGAIN THIS RESEARCH SHOULD BE DONE INDEPENDENTLY.*

Step 15

When the stopwatch has reached 10 seconds from the end of your time, start pouring the developer out of the top of the tank and into the sink drain. *DO NOT TAKE THE LID OFF THE DEVELOPING TANK*.

Step 16 – Stop Bath

For the stop bath you can use water at 20 degrees Celsius. With your stopwatch next to you, quickly pour the stop bath into the top of the developing tank until the tank is full. Pour straight from the Jerrycan. Start the stopwatch when you’ve filled the tank up. Once again, smack the tank against a counter a couple times to avoid any bubbles. Leave the film in the stop bath for 1 1/2 minutes. The stop bath is to neutralise any remaining developer left on the film.

When the stopwatch has finished, start pouring the stop bath out. If the stop bath remains yellow in colour then this is good to use. Pour this in your HDPE Bottle and use a Child Proof Cap to seal.

Step 17 – Fixer

Pour the fixer into tank until it’s full. If your fixer is pre-diluted then there is no need to dilute further. Start the stopwatch once the tank is full. You are going to leave the film in the fixing solution for 6 minutes. *IF USING RAPID FIXER, LEAVE FOR 4 MINUTES RATHER THAN 6*. Smack the tank against the counter to avoid any bubbles. Swirl the film again.  3 seconds every 30 seconds. After 3 minutes, you can open the tank.

Once the stopwatch has reached 6 minutes, pour the fixer out of the tank. *DO NOT RE-USE THE FIXER*

Step 18

Unscrew the top of the developing tank and expose the film negative to light. Once the film has been “fixed”, it is no longer light sensitive.

Step 19 – Hypo-clearing agent

Pour straight from the Jerrycan. Smack the tank against the counter to avoid any bubbles. You are going to leave the film in the hypo-clearing agent for 1 1/2 minutes.

Step 20

While the film is in the hypo-clearing agent, start running some water and bring the running water to 20 degrees Celsius. After 1 1/2 minutes, dump out the hypo-clearing agent. *DO NOT RE-USE THIS CHEMICAL*. Put the developing tank under the running water. It’s time to wash all the chemicals off the film. You are going to leave the film under the running water for 10 minutes. The water should fill up the developing tank and overflow. Let it overflow. Every few minutes, dump out the water and allow the tank to fill with fresh running water. Ten minutes is the minimum time to wash the film, but you can do it in a longer time. It is also important that you are washing the film with 20 degree water.

Step 21

After the 10 minutes are up, lift the film reel out of the tank and lightly shake off any remaining water. Turn the reel clockwise (this could be counter-clockwise, depending on how you’re holding the reel) until the top half of the reel comes apart from the lower half of the reel. Use one of the film clips and clip it onto the end of the film negative. By lifting up the clip, pull the film up out of the reel. If everything went well, you should see your pictures on the negative. Clip the other film clip onto the bottom of the negative. This will act as a weight.

Step 22

Hang the negative up to dry in a room temperature, dust free room. Leave the negative to dry for at least 2 hours.

Step 23

Your negatives are now ready to use!

PLEASE NOTE: EVERY CHEMICAL SHOULD HAVE ITS OWN JERRYCAN AND FUNNELS. DO NOT USE THE SAME EQUIPMENT WITH THE CHEMICALS!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A BASIC GUIDE AS WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS BLOG. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE TRYING THIS BLOG.

 

 

 

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