The Struggle Is Reel

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

"It isn't events themselves that disturb people, but only their judgements about them." ~ Epictetus

Last year I decided to purchase a larger developing tank so I could develop two rolls of 120 at a time. For whatever reason, I couldn't find a Paterson, or equivalent plastic tank (I just googled "Paterson" developing tank and realized how stupid I am), so I was forced to go with a stainless steel tank, not truly appreciating that there would be that big of a difference.

Aside from the general annoyance that the 120 reels are stuck like that, id est with plastic reels you can adjust them to different film sizes, so if I was to develop 35mm in this tank I'll have to purchase four 35mm reels, I had a really difficult time wrapping my head around loading the film from the inside out, having been doing it outside in for 25 years. Obviously, after spending a good half hour trying to get the first roll to load, I did it wrong, though it only happened the first time. Touching film doth not develop well. I have since gotten a little better at it, but it is still a struggle.

Along with this anomaly, there are also rolls with crease damage from all the times I have to pull the film back out and start over. This last time was so frustrating that I swore I would hunt down a plastic tank and be able to breathe again when loading film. Every time I am completely done with this tank, the film turns out fine, so I get temporary amnesia until I'm back in the light tight basement of the brewery, using a drum of C2H4O3 as a table and an empty keg as a chair, usually with a pint of beer on a ledge of a support beam that I can easily find in the dark... because life is rough.

At the end of the day, you lose some battles. Sorry I lost this one, Vik, but it does look unforgivingly blurry, for what it’s worth. This last time Vik came through, she booked some extra gigs in LA, so she couldn't hang out with us in the desert. We look forward to the next opportunity with this soul, and we just keep heading forward... with less reel loading fuck ups..... maybe.

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