Whinging About Dirty Negatives

Every time I scan a few rolls of my old photos, I’m reminded what the most important message I could send myself back in time is: Get a water filter!

At least, I think that might be what the underlying problem is. I have vaguely similar amounts of junk on films I developed in my home darkroom, in the Photo Coop darkroom at Carleton, and in the Alumni Office darkroom there. I’m not really sure, though.

Here’s a bit from a 1973 roll of Plus-X:

Lots of white mess!  Much of it elongated, but not precisely parallel to the edges of the film. The full-size image is my full scan resolution for that bit of the film.

So, what’s my real problem?

  • Too much Photo-Flo?
  • Not enough Photo-Flo?
  • Wiping film with fingers instead of sponge?
  • Dirty water?
  • Storage since then?
  • Angered the gods?

It’s basically simple in Photoshop to use the healing brush to eliminate most of this. It’s not fast and it’s not very interesting, but it’s simple.   I mean, I can easily spend 45 minutes cleaning up one shot in this sort of condition.  And unfortunately it’s slower and less simple, and less good, in Lightroom.



Leave a Reply