I have guilty pleaseures. One is to receive fairly unremarkable brown paper parcels in the post. These contain my new film, freshly despatched. After a few days of restrained enthusiasm I pick up the parcel and hurry to a room on my own to have a look at it. Bulk buying such items from the internet produces savings compared to the shops.
It’s a bit like pornography and I’ve ordered several different types.
Firstly, there’s the workhorse, bread and butter stuff – Ilford HP5+ 400 speed. Good in all conditions and with a nice grain to it.
Then there’s a bit of Kodak, Porta 800 speed. It’s colour and it’s faster than I’m used to but I’m not sure if I’m going to enjoy the results. However it just looked too tempting on the webpage and a click later it was on its way to me.
Then I went all exotic and kinky and bought Infra Red film. This is really difficult, I don’t know what I’m doing. I remove it carefully from it’s packaging and only dare open the plastic tub in subdued conditions. I’ll need filters and the right sort of lighting and then I’ll need to clearly mark the film for development as IR when I send it off.
To finish off, I ordered some cheap foreign stuff. It’s Czech, Formapan. It’s packaging suggests the Seventies. It could be exciting or rubbish. Probably it’s a mucky laugh.
This should keep me going for the rest of the summer.
Strangely enough, I don’t mind the wait. It takes about a week for me to get the negatives and accompanying CD. It’s fun to wait for the post every day and see if the pictures have arrived. I could save money and develop the negs myself. Most of the stuff is black and white and that’s the easiest to develop. I did this once and the results weren’t too bad. The biggest problem was when I opened the film canister. It’s made out of metal and you have to open it with a sharp object. That’s not too difficult but, to protect the film you have to do it in the dark. I cut my thumb quite badly. It bled, a lot. It seems that some of it got on the negs. So I get someone else to handle the developing until blood stained photography becomes fashionable (it will one day, every other type and variant has had a moment in the sun over the last hundred years, there’s probably a site on the internet that deals with it).
The arrival of the negs is the second kind of brown paper parcel in the post which I treat like porn. I recently sent six films to be processed so that’s about 216 pictures I’m going to sit down with any day soon. That’s going to need a big cup of coffee and the PC without anybody bothering me.
Negatives, blood, waiting for the postman. You don’t get this kind of fun with a digital camera!