Last year I started experimenting with processing my own Velvia 4×5 with Tetenal E-6 rather than send them to a lab as I have done for many years. The truth is that I am currently using much less 4×5 colour than I did in the past and instead find myself using a lot more black and white negative film. I still enjoy making colour images from time to time, although I am so over the hyperventilated colour images that bombard our senses in galleries, in the print media and on the web.
Processing my own Velvia 4×5 with Tetenal E-6 has been a joy. I love pulling the film sheets off the processing reels and seeing what has been developed. But it is not until you take the films out of the dryer that you can really appreciate films’ wonderful ability to record colour and my faith in colour photography is restored!
On my last post about E-6 processing I was going to investigate a one shot technique. After 12 months between trials I have decided to abandoned this approach, mainly because I did not wish to dilute the chemistry to the extent required. Instead I have settled upon using a one litre kit to develop a total of 48 4×5 sheets of film. If you compare the price of a kit to the lab price per sheet of film this is a huge saving in film processing costs even when I factor in my time.
I process 12 sheets of 4×5 at a time in a jobo 2551 multi tank 5 drum, essentially doing 4 processing batches per 1 litre kit of Tetenal E6. That gives me the maximum capacity from the chemistry and fits within the 600ml chemistry volume limit for my jobo CPE2 processor.
Here are some photos showing today’s E-6 results directly from off the light box (above) and some of my set up below.
Sandy Cove Cape Leeuwin Augusta Western Australia is available as a 16×20 inch photograph and larger.
Sandy Cove Cape Leeuwin Augusta was developed in Tetenal E-6 in a trial. Cape Leeuwin Augusta is a rocky granite promontory renowned for the location of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. This rocky finger that points into the ocean is seldom without wind or swell. There are tiny partially sheltered coves complete with their own miniature beaches. Their sand varies from coarse yellow granules to sand interspersed with finely ground shell grit. I believe the colour of the sand is this particular cove is partly due to mineral carried by ground water leaching out into the area. In the foreground a spring water swirl can be seen, its flow originating from beneath the sand. The film was 4×5 velvia, no colour filtration, 90mm Grandagon lens.
Tetenal E-6 Chemistry and Velvia 4×5 Trial
My initial trials of Tetenal E6 3 bath kit on Velvia 4×5 50ISO were successful. However, I intend to make the following modifications to the procedures set down by Tetenal.
What I want:
- a one shot process that gives me a maximum film yield of 12 films per 1000ml Tetenal working solution.
- ability to process 12 4×5 sheets of film at a time.
Modifications to Tetenal Procedures
- First, I will be using a one shot technique, rather than the re-use technique. This will eliminate the need for adjusted development times from chemical activity depletion.
- One shot has the potential to minimise the overall process time. It also avoids the risk of cross contamination of chemistry.
- One shot avoids the problem of volume depletion of solutions, especially of the first developer. Incomplete return of all solution is no longer a problem.
- I intend to use the chemistry to obtain the full yield of films as recommended by Tetenal. That is 12 films per 1Litre of working solution. This is equivalent to 48 sheets of 4×5. 4 sheets of 4×5 = one 120 film =one 35mm 36exp film.
- For the developing I will be using a Jobo CPE2 processor. A Jobo 2550 drum holds 2 4×5 reels, with a maximun of 12 sheets of 4×5.
- The maximum volume of solution for my Jobo is 600ml. This will ensure all film is in contact with the solutions during agitation.
- I will be using only 250mls of working solution for each batch of 12 sheets. According to Tetenal, 1000mls of working solution has sufficient development activity for 48 sheets. By proportion, 250mls has enough activity for 12 sheets.
- Each working solution, once made up according to Tetenal’s instructions, will then be further diluted with water to make a total volume of 600mls.
- This act of dilution may require additional processing times which I will need to test. So far, my development times have been based upon visual inspection of my own film tests with a grey card.
When I get my next batch of chemistry I will test the times using my new proposed dilutions. If it all goes to plan I will post the results.
Velvia 4×5 tetenal E6 3 bath process, an alternative to sending your chromes to the lab.
This past week I have been trialing Tetenal’s 3 bath E6 process with 4×5 velvia. I must admit I had a little trepidation about undertaking a colour process. The last time I processed colour slide it was as a young teenager using my mother’s cement laundry troughs out on the back verandah. Back then it was the Kodak E4 process, and it required that I refog the film to a 500 watt light source after the initial development. I was processing Pacific 35mm slide film from my high school’s media department. The results were radical to say the least, blue and magenta colour casts and wildly contrasty images. Needless to say I loved it. But it’s not exactly a comforting result if you are processing your professional images that you have spent time, money and effort just traveling to locations to create them.
For years I was sending my chromes to Melbourne for processing, but I decided it was time to rethink how I wanted to process my 4×5 velvia. It was time to press my Jobo processor, which I use for all my black and white negatives, into doing some colour work for me. I started with a 1L Tetenal kit and put a few 120 velvia film tests through first to confirm my development times. I found a development time of 7.5 min a good starting point for velvia 50 ISO. To my surprise the film processing was remarkably consistent between batches and the information provided by Tetenal is a good starting point, and the process much simplified with the 3 step chemistry.
Overall I have been pleased with the results and I will be continuing with the Tetenal E6 during the year, using a one shot technique, processing 12 4×5 sheets at a time, with 48 sheets processed per litre of stock solution. I still have that 500 watt bayonet photo flood globe I used for E4 all those years ago. If you have a use for it let me know.
Clematis flower Old Man’s Beard. Yes it’s an odd name, but old man’s beard is a common name to describe the feathery tendril like appearance of the native clematis flower as it matures. This soft, fine structure is so delicate it literally blows away on the breeze. Luckily there was no breeze on the evening I made this photograph, I was tucked away in a sheltered section of thick coastal heath, south of the Margaret River. The sun was almost on the horizon, but undeterred by the fading light. I pulled out my trusty wooden field camera from my backpack and reached for my 150mm Schneider lens. Comparative to the 4×5 inch size of the transparency, I knew I would want to achieve at least a life size reproduction to fill the frame adequately and I had just enough bellows extension, about 300mm, to do it. With a 2 stop exposure increase for the bellows extension plus an additional adjustment for reciprocity failure – the velvia film was exposed for about 90 seconds. I also made some black and whites negatives. Somewhere in those I have a blurry looking ant as it walked around the flower during the exposure. The local talent can be uncooperative at times.
The 4×5 velvia was processed in Tetenal 3 bath E-6 which I have been trying out recently in my jobo processor, the perfect activity for a 40C degree day! This is a “straight” scan off the tranny.