A few weeks ago a plan came together that had been hatched four years ago.
I made a major challenge to myself, but hedged my bets. The challenge was to embrace modern digital DLSR technology, so I bought camera equipment that performs far better than I make pictures.
But I hedged my bets by purchasing some second hand Zuiko lenses for my Olympus OM1. They cost a fraction of what my new lenses did, and weighed only a fraction as well. I had to because about 15 years ago we had a robbery at home where I lost most of that kit, and all I was left with was an OM1 body and motor winder.
I hedged my bets because if the digital experiment failed, then I would go back to film.
Digital photography has not failed me. I have learnt so much and have so much more to learn, and have made pictures that make me smile.
However, roots are important. In life and in photography. I trawled the Internet for darkroom equipment: like everyone else I asked, I had given my darkroom equipment away. By a stroke of luck I found Ivor Ginsberg’s contact details on one of the smalls of a site and left a message on his mobile. He called back a few days later and three weeks later I collected 44 kilograms of darkroom equipment from the freight office at King Shaka Zulu airport. I had a large Meopta enlarger, 3 lenses, timers, exposure meters, safe lights, trays, developing tanks, measuring cylinders and some old Agfa Bromide Paper.
For modern film and paper I had been told about Photomax in Durban, so on the way to collect Ivor’s delivery I stopped by and bought Ilford film, paper, developers and fixer. Later I bought a contact print device there as well.
The next day I unpacked Ivor’s boxes. An original Durst Timer, in the box with instructions. Made in
Germany. A Paterson Exposure “Computer” in the box, with the instruction manual. Made in England. The Meopta enlarger in its original cardboard box. Made in Czechoslovakia. Like the timer.
I stored the film, paper and chemicals in the fridge. I had to look up equivalents for Stop (used vinegar to make up a solution of 1.5% ascetic acid) and dishwasher rinse aid as a wetting agent.
I cleaned my lenses and camera. Ines tolerated the spare room beginning to look (and smell) like a darkroom.
It was time to mix the chemicals, black out the darkroom and take some film pictures!