Photo Flo – To Squeegee, or not to squeegee- that is the question….

Very rarely, if ever, have I posted a blog entry without at least one photograph. Odd, seeing how this is, after all, a photoblog. But, here goes.

Last week, I developed a couple of rolls of film. As I am still fairly new to this, well, of course you make mistakes along with the triumphs. One of them that I apparently made was using a squeegee to help quicken the drying process. Yes, I do use Photo Flo. However, as I learned this morning, that is only a step to maybe help dry the negatives. Twelve hours after my developing, I took a look at the negs, and there is still a bit of moisture on them. From what I read about Photo Flo, my understanding was that it aided in more uniform, quicker drying. Maybe not?

So how, does one ask, get these things to dry, without having to do scratch reduction/touchup later in the dreadful Adobe Photoshop? Do I invest in a dedicated film drying cabinet? Are there successful techniques that readers like to use? I’d love to hear them, because honestly, I am at my wit’s end with it. it is Labor Day here in the states, and yes, I do want to shower at some point- just not with my negatives. I have seen people squeegee a bit with their fingers after hanging them up. Should I do that? Note: I use the “Ilford method” of washing, before the Photo Flo step.

Can someone help me? Thank you, and have a great Labor Day.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Photo Flo – To Squeegee, or not to squeegee- that is the question….

  1. I just hang mine but in the basement rather than the shower. I think it is dryer and less dusty down there, believe it or not. I’m either developing my film in the evening or the morning and either way it is usually at least 6-8 hours before I see them again and this is always more than enough time for them to dry properly, WITHOUT SQUEEGEES! I wouldn’t dare run a rubber squeegee down my film though I do use some breath and cotton gloves to wipe off remaining marks left by the Photo Flo itself — they just wipe off for the most part, some requiring a bit of moist breath at most. Film is tougher than it looks so I do rub a bit with the gloves but a squeegee makes me fear for the emulsion side.

  2. Thanks, Harry- I was hesitant to try the basement, as mine is very humid (fieldstone foundation), and it could likely take a long tiime to dry. Have you ever tried a hair dryer on cool?

    -Arthur

  3. Kodak PhotoFlo, as far as I know, only helps to break surface tension, meaning that water shouldn’t “bead” on the wet film, and so it will dry more evenly and without water spots. I don’t think it helps the actual time of drying, especially if you’re hanging film up dripping wet.

    If you use a film squeegee (looks sort of like a rubber flattening iron), then you’re not going to damage the film emulsion unless you’re using something like Efke film, which is a “classic” emulsion, made using techniques from the 50’s or something. Modern films like Tri-X are not going to be easily scratched. I’ve even used my bare wet fingers to get the excess water off, though skin imperfections leave streaks of varying water thickness. Most often there is also some foam from the PhotoFlo, which needs removing.

    So in summary, I use some sort of squeegee action (one pass only) and let the film hang at least four hours. Most times, overnight.

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