Monday, March 21, 2005

Old-fashioned infra-red

Having done the high-tech version of IR photography, I did the low-tech version last night.

K had a roll of Kodak HIE from her trip to a canopy walk on Friday, and I had one roll from a year ago, so she asked me to develop both of them last night. There's a reason why I had been procrastinating developing my IR film: it's extremely difficult. A look at the Kodak reference manual (F13, available off the web if you're interested) shows it's peppered the words "complete and total darkness", along with "not even a safelight" and other dire warnings about how IR light might be penetrating your curtains and bouncing off your walls, fogging your film and you would be the wiser.

In the end, the one mishap was that I underestimated the amount of developer, and one entire side of my negative (which was in the top spool in my small tank) was undeveloped. No fogging - but that was because we shut ourselves into the bathroom with no lights and no windows or doors open. Which explains the underestimating of the amount of developer, since it's hard to do this in the "total and complete darkness" that Kodak mandates for HIE film. Which also explains the cursing and the swearing as I trying to extract the film from the catridge (must buy new film picker ...), with both hands stuck inside a dark-bag, in a toilet with all the windows and doors closed, sweating from the heat and humidity, and feeling condensation actually starting to form on the inside of the bag, threatening to make the film sticky and impossible to handle (which has happened to me before, with medium format film). It took me about 30 minutes to get each roll loaded into the developing tank, and I had to take a break halfway through.

I am so glad I've discovered a way to do IR photography with a digital camera ...

K's photos were really good, even just looking at the negatives hanging out to dry you can tell there's some great shots there. Mine were not too good, plus the developing accident didn't do much for them either. After hanging the film out to dry, I started on my personal project for the evening, which was to paint up one of the chariots for my Mycenaean army (more about that here, on my other blog). This was something I decided I'd to to cheer myself up - a small little manageable painting project that could be done in one night, with tangible results. I found myself humming 'Jerusalem' as I was painting (you know - "give me my bow of burning gold / give me my arrows of desire / give me my spear, O, clouds unfold! / give me my chariot of fire" ) and I got the piece done in about 2 hours, which is a pretty good pace.

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