Winter Stopped By, Part 2

January 13, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

... continued from Winter Stopped By

While I did not intend on this being a two-part post here we are back to the wonderful Birdsong Park in Orchard Park, New York. Not only did I have more photos to share but I completely forgot about including some technical information last time. I usually skip the technical details and focus on the images and the experience but sometimes, I get excited enough about the process to share, and that is what I would like to do here.

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So what got me so excited to really want to go into the details? It's the chemistry! I develop almost all of my film in commercial developers and for black and white negatives, I've settled on Kodak XTOL or it's alternatives, like the LegacyPro EcoPro developer. I like the balanced contrast that gets me, the sharpness, and just the right amount of grain to my taste. And I really enjoy developing film myself. I am pretty sure I would not be a dedicated film photographer if I did not do my own development. To me, that is the essence of the experience, even if time consuming.

Through the Winter Landscape, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkThrough the Winter LandscapeBirdsong Park

Through the Winter Landscape, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Yashica LM twin-lens reflex on Fomapan 200 Black and White Negative Film
Developed in Caffenol Delta Recipe

However, here and there my curiosity gets the better of me and I need to try something else. This time, I intended from the very beginning to run this roll of Fomapan 200 through Caffenol. Fomapan 100 and 400 have been my go to black and white films for a long while but for a bad reason I stayed away from 200. A bad reason you ask? I read a few articles on various message boards and online groups and they all raved about how good the classic grain of the 100 and 400 is while they decried Fomapan 200. After years, I finally bought a roll of 200 and decided to give it a whirl.

The Creek Guard Tree in Winter, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkThe Creek GuardBirdsong Park

The Creek Guard Tree in Winter, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Yashica LM twin-lens reflex on Fomapan 200 Black and White Negative Film
Developed in Caffenol Delta Recipe

I also wanted to give Caffenol another shot. I had used it a few times in the past but was somewhat neutral about my results. I actually liked my results with darkroom prints in Caffenol more than my film developing. However, I had seen several outstanding photos developed in a different recipe, specifically Caffenol Delta. It is my understanding the recipe was fine-tuned specifically for Ilford Delta films, which have T-Grain emulsions. Since Fomapan 200 is a hybrid, I figured why not give the same recipe a try. It is a very simple recipe:

  • 1000ml Water
  • 45g Instant coffee
  • 24g Washing soda
  • 20g Vitamin C

Even though this recipe does not call for Potassium Bromide (KBr) I added 1mg. I had it available and I also wanted to develop a higher speed film with it. I used the first 500ml for Fomapan 200 and the other 500ml for Agfa APX 400 exposed at EI 800. To complete the technical details here, I developed this roll of Fomapan 200 at 68°F for 12 minutes. I am so happy with the results that I will definitely try even the classic Fomapan 100 and 400 in the same recipe. What gets me so excited about Caffenol? I love that it is easy to make at home with mostly easily accessible ingredients, and I love the almost zero toxicity. Yes, I ended up adding KBr, but only 1mg along with 1,089mg of other environment friendly ingredients, which is less that 0.1%.

White Trail of Wonders, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkWhite Trail of WondersBirdsong Park

White Trail of Wonders, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a Yashica LM twin-lens reflex on Fomapan 200 Black and White Negative Film
Developed in Caffenol Delta Recipe

So there you have it, the look of winter combined with silver, coffee, vitamin C, and washing soda. What's not to like? I'll admit, I am hooked!

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

References: You can find a whole publication dedicated to Caffenol recipes here: The Caffenol Cookbook.

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