Expired Film Day!

… many days late.

Expired Film Day occurs on March 15, the Ides of March, is also Expired Film Day, an annual celebration of all things film and expired.

For my first entry, and thanks to a poll I threw up on Twitter that didn’t go the way I hoped, I went with the two rolls of 2001 vintage Kodak Ektachrome EPP 100 that I acquired for free, thanks to a botched USPS delivery of some Kodak Pro Image 100 I ordered last summer.

I had high some hopes for it, sort of, but something went way off.Here’s a shot, as scanned (well, flipped and straightened, but otherwise straight out of the Scan-O-Matic X, mk 1)…

And, now, here’s the same shot with -2 Exposure, +50 Contrast, +100 Saturation, +20 Clarity, +55 Structure, plus some massage of the levels and curves in Capture One Pro 10.

(To give you an idea of just how far all that got pushed, the red/brown dots/splotch in the upper right quarter is some residue left behind by hard water. Usually, those come out milky or chalky, and more of an obvious blob shape, not the strange gunk that we find here.)

I have no idea what happened, but I assume it’s one (or more, or all) of these potentially contributing factors:

  • Due to the problems I had with the XA and low ISOs, I shot these rolls at EI80, with the intent to push the development a bit. Given these expired more than 15 years ago, one stop overexposure seems reasonable, and 2 stops might’ve been better.
  • I forgot to soak before the first developer… poured in the developer, realized my error, poured it out, thoroughly washed the film, then restarted the timer with the soak in place.
  • While soaking, I realized that I had poured in the Color Developer first, but it was in the tank for 30 seconds at most.
  • The developers went back into the hot water bath while the negatives were soaking and may have gotten a bit warmer than 100F.
  • I left the film in the first developer for an extra 30 or 40 seconds to compensate for shooting at EI80. (To minimize variables, I used standard times for the color developer.)
  • I didn’t wash between first and color developers.

And my E6 chemicals are a bit on the old side too. These are the 6th and 7th rolls through this batch of chemicals, and I mixed them on 8/15/2016. I don’t know enough to say if old chemicals could’ve caused this or not, but I doubt it: I’ve used D76 and C41 chemicals that were more than a year old with no ill effects, and I expect E6 to work similarly.

The negatives look something like the Cloudy Film example at the FSU “Molecular Expressions” Chrome processing errors page, and the notes there suggest either insufficient blix or contaminated developer (or equipment), and so I suspect it was something about the mixup in the developers at the beginning, but really can’t be sure, and more testing will be required.

Anyway. These took me many evenings to process, with many false starts and changes in strategy to even get to the sketchy results seen here, but even with all the problems, the weird colors and all, I’m still going to share a bunch of pictures…

The day started out, as most Wednesdays do, at work, and with my first two shots, I tested the Olympus XA’s bulb mode. Now. The XA doesn’t have a bulb mode, but if you turn on the battery check and then trip the shutter, the shutter will stay open until you turn off the battery check.

So here’s one shot at the normal longest speed of 2 seconds, and another at 30 seconds (manually counted).

The orange blobs in the image on the left came from the battery check light that I forgot all about. Oh well: yet another reason to carry around some gaff tape at all times.

After that, I worked for several hours, and then took a nice lunch break walk. I really need to get back into those; at the same time, there’s only so far I can walk in 30 minutes, and 1/4 of my options have been closed off by a big security fence with multiple do not enter signs. Alas. I really enjoyed tramping around by the creek and around the soccer and lacrosse and cricket fields, but it’s all fenced off now.

The tulips were all in bloom, I had a horrible time getting the color even close, and the reds are still strangely blown.

EI80 didn’t pose the same ludicrously slow shutter times that 50 did, and I think I solved that problem with a thorough cleaning of the meter window above the lens. It was gunky and is now clean(er), and the shutter speeds I got were mostly as expected at all ISOs.

I still got some nice slow speeds in the dark, though.

Work ended without incident. Back at home, I took a couple of pictures around the house, and then Hana and I went for a nice walk through a nearby neighborhood.

About halfway through, I finished the first roll, and quickly loaded up the second.

After the walk, I had a half dozen shots or so left, and so I shot around the house some, and took my new social media selfie, the one I’ve been struggling to get for months now.

And that was my Expired Film Day, 2017… While I’ve recently been disappointed with expired and cross-processed film, and want to stick to known stocks and straight processing for my general photography, one-off events like this are well worthwhile. Next year, assuming I’m still shooting film and still participating in fun things like this, InshaAllah I’ll pick my own stock, and try to minimize potentials for error with some black & white film and D76 or something. But Allah alone knows what next year will bring, and (I think) part of the fun of Expired Film Day, and expired film in general, is all the tedium in the process and strangeness in the outcome.

Expired Film Day falls on the Ides of March (the 15th), every year, so put it on your calendar and look forward to 2018!

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