Developing with Snow

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My friends regularly tease me by saying that I’m a hipster; beard, glasses, checkered shirts, formerly vaping, and, of course, shooting film. Because I don’t get teased enough, I decided to try something a bit different: I developed film using snow.

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In the UK we’ve been blessed with a few snow days recently, and like most people, I took photos of it.  As snow is such a rarity, I feel it’s only natural to want to capture it, right?  I did some street photography of people squirming under the effects of the cold, and I got up early to capture the serene sights of the untouched snow. Once I’d burned my way through a couple rolls of HP5, I decided I’d make these rolls extra special by using the snow that I’d captured to develop the rolls.

So I went outside with a washing up bowl, filled it with snow, and waited for it to melt. As you can see from the following image, once the snow had melted, the water was very dirty. Taking the advice from the YOUR EXHIBITION group chats, I filtered the water with some coffee filters, and that was it: I was ready to get developing. 

For those of you interested:

  • Pre-soak - 00:30 using melted snow.

  • Develop - 11:00 using Kodak HC-110 with melted snow (Dilution B).

  • Stop Bath - 1:00 Ilfostop

  • Fixer - 5:00 Ilford Rapid Fixer

As for the results, they don’t look different to when I use standard developer, but that’s okay; I kind of like the romance of the idea of developing snow images in the snow. I’m really pleased with the images. It’s the first time I’ve shot snow on HP5 pushed to 1600, but it certainly won’t be the last. The contrast is brilliant, so I’m excited to attempt to darkroom printing a number of these images. Perhaps that’ll have to wait until the next tine we have snow.

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If you have enjoyed this article, then you might enjoy the other WHAT I’M WORKING ON articles from the YOUR EXHIBITION Collective. You can find them here.