After exposing 6 sheets of Velvia 50 in the last installment I decide it was about time to unload and reload some film. Now this I approached with not a little trepidation...........this was one of the two things that had prevented my journey into large format. I had received my changing bag/tent from Calumet so there was no excuse, time to start.
I organised everything beforehand, empty film box put into tent, darkslides put into tent, double zips fastened......away we go. Well.....turns out it was a lot easier that I thought (having practiced in the living room with an empty darkslide helped no end). Open the box, turn it over and open it again (double sealed). Pull the first darkslide half out on the top film holder, open the flap, grip the end of the film between finger tips and gently slide out. Place film in box. Re-close darkslide, turn over and repeat, making sure each time the film went into the box the same way round. It all went without a hitch, result 3 empty film holders. I then replaced the lid, turned the box over and replaced the second lid, jobs a good 'un.
After emptying the changing tent I carefully cleaned all 3 film holders of any dust particles, switched all the darkslides back over to the un-exposed position, leaving them all half out. Into the tent they went with some fresh unopened Velvia 50. The re-loading is just the reverse really, making sure the notch in the film sheets were all top right corner, double checking that each piece went under the bottom notch in the film holder. After I had finished I re-checked each film holder in turn to make sure everything was correctly loaded, double sealed the box with the remaining film, finished.
I have to say it was probably easier that writing about it, anyone with a reasonable amount of dexterity would not have any problems, it is just really important to be organised and careful. All the concerns that plagued me about this whole process were completely meaningless and should definitely not dissuade anyone from taking the plunge.
I mentioned film changing was one of the reasons that prevented me from taking the plunge, the other was exposure and using a light meter. Most of us take our digital camera's metering for granted. I for one was so used to letting the camera give a rough idea, checking the histogram and adjusting as necessary. You just can't do that with film............The ever helpful and very knowledgeable Tim Parkin came to the rescue....(again). A quick demonstration and away we go. How did it turn out............I'll let you know, the first sheets of Velvia were posted to Peak Imaging this morning and it really is with some trepidation that I await the results. Will I have remembered to meter correctly? doe's the camera or changing tent have a light leak? did I make any errors withdrawing/replacing the darkslides? Well, like me you'll just have to wait and see.................