sinwprss feed for PI Articles


Labour Love - part 3 of 1 2 3 4

by Paul Gallagher Published


During one of those Internet reading sessions I noticed a repeated message that many of the people had bought a system called the HP Combi-Plan. This system, which sounded like a 1950's kitchen design, was, in fact, a light-safe tank that, once loaded, could be used to process up to six sheets of film in full daylight. This sounded amazing, so I tracked down the supplier in the UK and duly paid the £65 and a bit extra for express delivery. After all, I had film exposed using this new camera, which had not seen the light of day since the shutter was released. When I got the tank it comprised a negative holder for up to six sheets of film with a rubberised lid and funnel.

I followed all the instructions and the first negatives showed some promising results, but were still not reliable enough and showed streaking. At this point a friend visited, and brought an old book showing various processing problems, arising from different processing methods. Although it was agreed that my Paterson design was a complete non-starter, I was shocked to find that the main source of the problem I was encountering was due to pre-washing the film. But, I had always used this method and Ilford recommends it! In disbelief, and with a little trepidation, I began processing two sheets of film for the first time without a pre-wash and the results were a marked improvement.

After some further alterations to this essential part of the overall photographic process, I bought several other tanks and I now 'dip-n-dunk' process all my films, but still only two at a time. I arrived at this decision because I still found that, even without a pre-wash, the film was susceptible to streaking, because of the inversion agitation recommended for the tank. The reduction in this type of agitation was the only way I found I could be sure of reliable consistency and offer my films to a process I truly trusted.

Drying these negatives also proved to be something that I could not be quite as cavalier about as I had been with roll film. Because I have never had a drying cabinet, I used a small warm room in my house and placed a deioniser in it to reduce the airborne dust.

This part of the process was still good enough, but when I first hung the sheet films they developed drying marks because I failed to hang them from one corner. This, along with trial and error adjustments throughout the entire processing procedure, was one of the many lessons that I learned.

Please Note:
There is more than one page for this Article.
You are currently on page 3 Contact Paul Gallagher

1st Published
last update 18/07/2022 16:31:45

More Landscape Articles

There are 213 days to get ready for The Society of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 15th January 2025

Updated 18/07/2022 16:31:45 Last Modified: Monday, 18 July 2022