Gr: A first attempt at caffenol

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Gr was visiting from Oakland and they graciously agreed to be my first Coffee With Friends subject. I set up the Graflex 4×5 camera in the backyard, trying to catch some late autumn sun. Unfortunately, I did not take notes on aperture or shutter speed. I’ll have to remember to do that next time.

Shooting went well with only one mishap. I had 2 film holders loaded with paper and I managed to get 3 captures with them. One sheet got a little jammed up when I put the dark slide back in.

Development was a different story. Although the recipe calls for “washing soda” I used Borax. I didn’t realize the two were different. I’ll have to brush up on my household chemical compounds. Despite that, I did manage to get images from the paper. Development took about 20 to 30 minutes when it should have been 4 minutes. Even then, I did not achieve a true black on the print. In the end, they came out looking more like a Van Dyke brown than a silver gelatin print. Hopefully, I can catch Gr on another trip out here for a redo.

Lessons learned:

  • Take detailed notes on exposure and aperture for each shot
  • Washing soda and Borax are not the same. DO NOT USE BORAX in this recipe


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