The day I lost it…

I finally managed to squeeze some time to go out into my neighbourhood to try to finish a roll of 36 exposures. The morning was nice and bright and I took my Nikon F3 downstairs. The walk about was decent, a few nice finds,but it came crumbling down

When I wanted to transfer the roll into my tank for processing. I had switched on the aircon to reduce sweating, I tried to take my time so as not to ruin this roll like I did the last time. Yeah, I had difficulty opening the bloody roll (Good job Kodak for keeping it really tight). After struggling for a while, I finally managed to get the cover off. By then, I had already tried to rip off the opening seam of the roll itself and rolled it back again thus losing the tongue of the starting lead.

I managed to remove the film from its body and have happily transferred the roll onto my pinkie, noting that might have had my fingerprints on the first few images (never mind, sacrifice the first for the better few I thought to myself) but I tried to feed it into the 135 roller of the patterson reel but it would not swallow my film for some reason. (Did I put it on wrongly? I thought to myself) Turned the reel the other side and tried feeding it again, but like a stubborn horse which refuses to drink from the lake, it still would not feed. What did I do wrong? I kept thinking and trying to try another method. When I eventually managed to get it to swallow, it started choking up…

I had to remove the whole reel apart just to restart again and again. Twice it choked like a fishbone down the oesophagus, regurgitating like fur down a kitten’s throat. That was when I lost it. I threw out the first reel, thinking that it was faulty and started to work on the other reel (this was a double reel tank) Sadly, it still would not feed. After several attempts, I found out that I had not screwed on the reel to lock it into position. Letting out a loud sigh, I slowly fed it into the reel as it swallowed like a good boy who is hungry for nice food. Then once again, it puked. The turning was not smooth and I felt it getting caught into the reel. I tried to remove it once more and try again and there it was, puking once more with a rough feel when turning the reel. I tried for three times and finally gave up.

I removed the film from the dark bag and there it was… The problem was staring right in front of me. A part of the film was crumpled, which led to the rough turning of the reel. Sad to say, the film was lost as it was exposed to light. I tried once more in open light to reel in the roll and after a little more turning, it finally went down like the last spoon of ice cream, the reel had swallowed the 35mm film at last. But all was lost indeed.

There is much more to learn when it comes to developing my own film. I am just beginning my journey but I guess the 35mm proves to be a challenge for me. Perhaps I should stick to my medium format and lose the 35mm both film and equipment. Some how the hasselblad won’t seem to let me down so far so good. There is much to think about.

Much indeed


Author: Ezekiel Kok

Young man who shares not only what flows through his mind but also his heart. Enjoy the beauty that surrounds me as my eyes feast and my camera captures for all to enjoy and admire.

4 thoughts on “The day I lost it…”

  1. Oh my dear friend, I felt your pain reading this. I could sense your high level of frustration. I have lost many rolls this way, but reading it happen to another somehow made me laugh a little. I think your eloquent description of the emotional toll this roll took……..sad.
    Don’t give up! You will get this, and it will be worth it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sorry to hear about this experience. It can get a bit frustrating and I can understand. Something similar happened to me when I first developed my first 120 roll. It was so frustrating to load the film into the reel and I almost gave up. I took a deep breath, tried again. Film photography, in all its processes, can be challenging. Even I have problems with it, but I persevere because I like it. It may not be for everyone though, and indeed, it would be wise to see what works for you. Good luck and hope your film journey will give you fun and satisfaction 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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