So, recently I've been completely obsessed with home developing. More specifically: chemical free home developing. I found a solid caffenol site and worked on a recipe. The first few tries were recorded in a notebook I've dubbed my Photography Notes notebook (where I will be noting everything I need to note photographically) like a mad scientist perfecting an experiment. Well, that's what I was doing, really.
The first test roll was literally a full 36 exposure roll of Kodak Tri-X shot in the Recesky TLR. That was a huge mistake. Whole roll ended up completely overdeveloped. But, the Recesky is also pretty fixed by way of apeture and shutter speed. So, it could have been a bit under exposed too... we'll never know. What we do know was that it was a failure. But, I learn from my mistakes.
Next test was done with another roll of Tri-X shot in the Mamiya 500dtl. Shot one pictre, same lighting and camera settings, 36 times. Pulled one revolution in the tank spool from the roll and dev'd that. This time I didn't make enough developer. So, only half the negative was developed. However, that section didn't look overdeveloped. It was really thin, stainwise. So, I adjusted for a third try.
The third Tri-X try was a success. But, the image was... flat, I guess. There wasn't much by way of midtones or shadow detail. Afterward I did a little more research on specifically Tri-X in caffenol. I found that there was a certain chemical missing that was required for the Tri-X emulsion blend. Over the counter I would be ordering a dog sedative from Europe. I said, "no thanks," and went back to the drawing board.
At this point I did more reading and found that Fomapan 100 was supposed to be an ideal film to use with this concoction. So, I ordered a bulk loader and two 100' bulk rolls of Foma100 (the rolls were stupid cheap, 2 seemed right). And that's when the magic happened.
Rolled out a 10 shot roll and loaded the 500. First attempt wasn't bad, just needed some tweaking. Adjusted the recipe and added a little time and this is what I got:
It's still a little foggy, but it has a definite texture/feel to it. I'm really happy with these results, I think.
So happy, in fact I decided to gamble and run a roll through my Zorki 1 and develop it using the same recipe as the successful attempt. Thus far it looks pretty promising. It's hanging to dry in the bathroom as I type this. Will scan in the morning and see if it will be feasible to run a roll tomorrow.
Anywho, mostly I'm just running the materials for this little endeavor out as I've ordered some proper HC-110. It's really cheap, at least as cheap as if not cheaper than the caffenol. And, it's supposed to be more environmentally friendly than other developers. So, that makes me feel a little better. All in all, rolling my own rolls and developing my own film is going to cut my photography costs significantly. Too bad I can't develop slide film as easily. I've just gotten hooked on those gorgeous color shifts.