Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dark room practices eco friendly: test your fixer

From the beginning, i was wondering about the impact of the environment of my dark rooms practices.
Between, i am working with water systems and especially in modern ways to conserve  clean & distribute water to all with the most efficiency.Flushing my chemicals to the toilets was simply not acceptable ! So i begin to search over the web and start to think about how to organize & optimize my uses of chemicals. I found my way, for now, it fits to me and will be perfected if i can in the future.

At the beginning, when i (re) discover the analog world, i was looking for the best practice. the ones which will gives the best tonal range, the best development, the best fixating for my negs. Between, i was looking for the best when i entered in the analog world. But that's not my practice, i understood  that i will never make perfect photographs and i don't have to look for the best, i have to look for my photography. Why should i work with fresh baths each time ? Loosing so much chemicals for nothing..

So how to test your fixer ? It's quite easy ! Just before to develop your roll, cut a piece of the priming of the film, take your watch, drop a small amount of fixer on the film (on the side which is supposed to be exposed) and launch your chronometer. Stop it when the film get clear.

So now you have your time, let's called it T and let's say it's for example 1 minute. To be sure your film will be fixed, you just need to multiply by 2 this time. This will be the immersed time of the film into the fixer bath.

Usually, rolls after rolls, the time will extend. It's advise that you should not exceed 3 times the duration which the manufacturer advises. For example, i use superfix from Tetenal, with a 1+ 3 dilution, fresh bath, 2 minutes is enough. That means i should not exceed 6 minutes.

Hope this helps.

So from now, my best environmental practice is:

  • Developper: Diafine which you can use at infinity (in the future i plan to test caffenol)
  • Stop bath: water
  • Fixer: will use it to the end
  • Washing: the Ilford procedure is still the best i found from now. 

And from a friend mail'signature:
Every environmental step taken counts. So, be the change.