Create: Film Photography, Episode 002

Film is like language. You can study something your entire life and never quite get all of it. Nothing about film matters unless you use it. So talking about film and venturing down the rabbit hole of technicality doesn’t help anyone. To understand the nuance of film you must use it, again and again, year after year, and only then will you begin to comprehend the range of possibility.

Kodak P3200, or TMZ, is more complex than most offering a wide range of speed and look within one emulsion. This was my primary film for over a decade and I still feel like I left a lot on the table in terms of what this product was capable of. Time, temperature, developer, agitation, processing style were just a few of the items that could turn this film from friend to foe. For me, film is and was about simplicity and restriction. I miss the days of film because I miss what the rest of my life was like during the time of analog supremacy. No computer, no mobile phone.

This film scans and prints beautifully while in the darkroom is can present real problems. Learning TMZ is the antithesis of what we are told matters. Learning TMZ is about all the things we are told don’t matter. Learning it, for real, calls into question the most precious resource of our time. Time.

29 Comments on “Create: Film Photography, Episode 002”

  1. ah! i love the smell of fixer in the morning!

    the darkroom is a total time suck. TMZ, TriX, HP5, whatever. i miss it so so much.

    1. Sean,
      Hey was just thinking about you. Let’s chat soon. I do too. The time scale has shifted SO much in recent years. Imagine being in the darkroom for a day at a time with no connection to outside world. Seems impossible.

      1. i can imagine it. right now, i’m staring at 2 enlargers sitting in the corner.

        i’ll give you a ring in the next couple of days.

  2. Great vlog.
    Funny thing I am in the middle of changing a spare bathroom into a darkroom. Tearing out a wall and extending it four feet. And yes I am leaving the shitter, because every darkroom needs one.
    I loved 3200 I shot it a moderate amount in the early 90’s. I rated at 6400 a few times. I shot it in a old pool hall “Steen’s Pool Hall”. A really great place, great hall, had the best selection of cigars, fishing gear, magazines and the best were the porn mag section. The best part was the pool hall with all the local characters. Spent days in there.
    I have a loaded F3 with Tri-X just waiting for our luck down to end.
    It is so nice to hear someone talking about the feel and the process of working with black & white film, keep it up, very enjoyable.
    Waiting for your next Vlog.

    1. Rick,
      Classic. And yes, keep the can. Never know when you might need that water for processing. I too have an F3 loaded, and FM2T for that matter with Zeiss 50mm. Now I just need a project.

  3. This was fun, though I don’t intend to go back to film at this point. I still use a yellow/green filter when I shoot in monochrome mode, like I did with film, some habits are hard to break. It’s great that film is still a viable option.

      1. I shot a few rolls of Delta 3200 but never enjoyed the results. I always end up with the opposite to what Dan said, I found the grain too big and chunky, not pleasing at all. I much preferred TMZ over Delta.

          1. Rodinal aye… I tried to get that once but if I remember correctly it was difficult to find in Japan. In Japan the Fujifilm chemicals and film are really cheap.

          2. Kurt,
            Oh, there is an entire story behind that. Just add the world trade org. Big lawsuit in the 90’s over unfair trade by Fuji. I was working for Kodak at the time.

        1. yep, my first double truck publication was reversed processed hp5. been my lucky film ever since. figured it was better than wearing the same pair of underwear for the last 20 years…

    1. Kurt,
      HP5 is great too. A very popular film back in the day. Keep on fighting the good fight.

  4. Perfect. Haven’t processed manually since long time. Must get a brick TMZ while it’s back. They stopped producing it. Is there a visual difference pre-stop and after-stop Mr TMZ?

  5. I absolutely love the grain in those images! Nowadays it’s always wow…you have too much grain.

    This was a trip down memory lane Dan. I used to shoot TRI X and Delta 400 with a Leica M6. Loved the look that came with those combinations. I’ve done a lot of dumb things but selling that M6 to acquire digital gear ranks in the top ten.

    Thanks for another great film!

    1. Paul,
      We’ve all done that. Most of us anyway. And now the hipsters found the Leica and my guess is the prices are insane.

  6. I have to say this Episode caused me to time warp back to 1973, Photography 102. My prof, William Barksdale, was rumored to be a friend of Ansel Adams and Minor White and 102 was all about the Zone System. When I started the class I was shooting a Canon FTb, mostly Tri-X at ASA 400, D-76 and a variety of Kodak papers, whatever I could afford. Through the class and systematic testing I stayed with the FTb and Tri-X but at ASA 200, HC-110 and one of the IlfordSemi-Gloss papers (can’t remember which one). That FTb was like a part of my hand and the standing joke with friends was that I took it in the shower with me.

    Fast forward to today. For a combination of health reasons and eco-concerns I stopped using film in 2002 and have been exclusively digital since. Although I miss it, the process of developing and printing is what I miss more and I cannot bear to send my film to someone else for development and printing. So digital it is.

    I still have the stainless steel 2-reel developing tank on my desk, which served me well through college and all the way to 2002. I pick it up occasionally and although empty save the reels I find myself counting out the hand-to-hand agitation that moved the developer across the film, always turning counter clockwise, 1-2-3-4 then a tap on the side of the desk to set loose any bubbles on the film. I find that, in spite of all the technology surrounding me in my home office, doing that little ritual relaxes me more than anything else.

    And oh yeah, your mentioning HC-110 was what started me writing this post. I could have saved you and everyone else reading this some time if I just wrote, “One cap of HC-110 worked for me”.

    1. Jon,
      That was me, precisely in most ways and slight deviations in others. Little did I know that mentioning box speed would cause such a stir. TRIX at 200, lord have mercy. Invert, rap on desk, let sit. Repeat. HC110 = Reason to keep living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *