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Archive for April, 2012

Processing Film in a Developing Tank

Friday, April 13th, 2012

If you are paying through your nose to develop analogue film, or are put off shooting analogue due to the processing expenses, you should consider buying a Paterson Super System 4 Developing Tank.

The Kit to get you Processing 35mm and 120 roll film

The Paterson Super System 4 will set you back around AUD$50 – mine cost $35 second-hand. The tank can process 35mm, 120 and 127 film rolls. You will need a reasonably large darkroom bag that will cost around $55 (mine is 27 inch by 30 inch). You will need a developer solution, a stop-bath solution and a fixer solution. They are used in that order – developer, stop bath and fixer. You will also need a few drops of wetting agent.

I use Ilford chemicals for black and white printing. Colour is a little harder and a lot more toxic so I suggest you stick to black and white; a good photo lab can still process any colour rolls you want to shoot.

Ilfotec LC29 (500ml) is a basic and stable developer… I use it at 1+19 (one part in 20) and at a cost of $38 it makes 10 Litres. This will process around 20 rolls of 120 medium format film, 27 rolls of 127 medium format film or 30 rolls of 35mm film. However, if you’re looking for the best Ilford developer the cost is approximately double – Ilfotec DD-X. This was developed for the Delta series of film but is recommended across the Ilford film range for best results.

Ilfotec Ilfostop (500ml) cost $20… it’s also used at 1+19 and makes 10 litres. However, I re-use this a second and third time so the value is tripled.

Ilford Hypam (5 litres) cost $55 and is used at 1+5 so it makes 25 litres. If you buy this in 5 litres it will cost about half per volume of the smaller bottles.

At the end of your processing you are going to need 2 small drops of a wetting agent before hanging the film to dry. Ilford Ilfotol 1 litre cost $31 but it’s a lifetime supply. If you can acquire it in a smaller and cheaper bottle then all the better.

You’ll also need (something similar to) three 500ml Pyrex jugs, a ceramic baking dish, an oven thermometer, a small measuring cup and a small medicine measuring cup, an eye dropper and a clock with a second hand. Finally, chemical resistant latex gloves.

The Process in Easy Steps

Assuming you have 120 film to process, you need to put the pieces of the developing tank inside the darkroom bag so your film won’t be exposed to light. Alternatively, you could do this in a pitch dark room. Feed back the paper until you reach the film and feed it onto the spool using the back-and-forth feeding motion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Small Businesses don’t know what’s Broken

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Every week I run across small businesses who could be richer, more efficient and effective and, dare I suggest, more productive. Their problem could be finance. It might be process. Or structure. It could be their internal culture or a labour force ‘bad egg’.

But it’s not as easy as poking your head in their front door and saying “Hey, you could be $50K better off at the end of this year if you do X and Y.” Their response would more often than not be a barrier that would preclude any chance of further conversation.

“Get the fuck out of my business!”

So they lumber on doing what they do well enough to stay in business. The ‘bad egg’ keeps disaffecting morale. Money that should be in the account remains unpaid, or is tied up in assets that really should be leased. They simply don’t know something is broken.

Nearly every time, it turns out the problem is deeper – they don’t have a business plan or an integrated marketing strategy. And if they do, it’s very rare that small business have considered keeping those as live documents that can be used to out-compete competitors.

Or they mistakenly believe that every business doing roughly the same thing as their business is a direct competitor.

Most of those small businesses haven’t had the time or inclination to investigate the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974. Just walk around your CBD shopping environment and look at all those “NO REFUND” signs.

This is where I push forward an unwanted piece of wisdom. Small businesses should consider paying somebody, or a team, to manage and grow their business with a strategic focus. Hire some decent management. Simple. Hire people that understand human resource management, organisational culture, how to author and maintain and implement strategies in the market. Hire people who know the legal and ethical responsibilities. Someone who understands the cost of capital and time value of money in decision making.

Just like that same small business might be smart enough to pay an accountant or a solicitor when the need arises.

Why? Because a professional should make a business far more money than they ever cost. And, at the same time, the business owner is freed from the time-consuming soul destroying tasks they were never trained to undertake.

Quite often I find myself walking out of these small businesses and scratching my head as to whether they’ll be operating in 2-5 years. I can’t help it. But if they don’t know anything is broken they’re not going to want to hear how to fix it. We had a roofing tradesman here last year who I could almost guarantee is rolling over a $100K short-term loan to cover his slack approach to collecting money due.

Now you know the challenge of being a business development management consultant. And what they do beyond the infamous management jargon.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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