I decided a while back to start shooting in film as a change of pace, just to see if it could make me look at photography differently. As the photo lab I used was very slow about scanning & delivering photos that they had developed a week or so prior, I also decided to work on developing & scanning my black & white film at home.

Of course, being new at this, it's required that I mess up from time to time.

All of these images are from the second roll of 35mm film I attempted to develop. The first was a test roll that I shot to make sure the camera & development process actually worked (and it did).

The problem this time was in loading the film onto a spool. Since I lack a darkroom, I use a changing bag. I put the film, spool, development tank, tools, and my hands inside, while keeping all light that could ruin the film outside.

When the film stayed on the outer track of the spool instead of spiraling inward, I couldn't see what had happened and kept loading the film into it. So, the film became layered on top of itself, and I had to peel the film apart once I realized something had gone wrong.

Still working blind, I attempted to load the film a couple of more times with the same result, until I finally started from the other end of the roll, at which point everything went smoothly.

I believe all of this was caused by a small amount of damage to the film's leader as it was first loaded into the camera.

I was eager to scan the images to see how bad the damage really was, but the first film scanner I ordered turned out to be defective. I sent it back (5 business days) and the day after they received it the company sent me another one (another 5 business days), and I now have a functional film scanner.

Once I was finally able to see the images, I could see that the vast majority were substantially over-exposed. Fortunately, black & white film has an impressive dynamic range; I was able to correct the exposure on most of them.

In addition to the damage from my spooling incident, it became apparent that the camera (Mom's old Canon AE-1) suffers a light leak that clouds up images when the back of the camera is exposed to direct sunlight. Most of these images were shot during a rare cloudy day here in California, so it wasn't a huge issue for this particular roll.

I do like the scanner, and I'm impressed with what can be pulled from badly-overexposed film. This will no doubt continue to be an interesting experiment, though perhaps my next roll will be medium format. The Mamiya M645 is bulkier, but its film is so much easier to load into the spool.