Or: How I learned to stop worrying and mix fresh fixer.
Doing some scanning over the weekend I noticed that several recent rolls of black and white I’d developed were looking kind of…well, yellow. Jaundiced, even.
One roll had splotches of yellow forming all over and streaks of yellow coming from the sprocket holes. Another looked like it had a uniformly yellow tint. Another had a small amount of yellowing along the edge of a strip. Not good.
Well it occurred to me that I’d been pushing it a bit with my fixer. I was up to about 6 minutes clearing time on a test strip, with rapid fixer. OK, make that pushing it a lot. The film seemed OK, but could it be…?
A quick trip to The Google confirmed my suspicion; my film wasn’t properly fixed. It also confirmed that I could re-fix and re-wash the affected film and all would be right with the world once more. Last night, after developing a roll I’d been sitting on for a couple of weeks, I tested one strip of 6 negatives which had the yellowing. Sure enough, it came out clear and also with less base fog than it had before the yellowing set in.
So tonight, I tackled the first two of four rolls to be re-fixed. They were already cut into strips, which complicated matters somewhat as I don’t have any decent means to hang up more than a couple of strips at a time. It also would have been quite a pain to individually fix and wash 11 strips of negatives the same way as I’d tested the one strip last night.
The solution? Carefully put the cut strips, end to end, back onto my plastic developing reels, and run them through fixer and wash in the developing tank as normal. To dry, I’m having to resort to hanging the reels up with film still loaded. Far from ideal, but I’m not exactly spoiled for choice here. No photo-flow so as not to leave dried gunk on the reels, either.
How will they turn out? No idea, I’ll check in the morning when they’ve had plenty of drying time behind them. I do know that the one strip I did last night is looking much better now. Which is good because one of those frames is lined up for an 11×14 print in the next few days and I need it at its best!