Memories of Homemade Colour Prints

ferraniacolor-smToronto. George Dunbar’s note to me about the ferrania slide film revival brought back memories of my efforts to print colour back in the summer of 1960 when most amateur photographs were black and white.

While I worked in Labrador, I processed colour slides using Anscochrome film and processing kits. For black and white prints, I picked up a cheap Federal enlarger up in Knob Lake, Quebec.

Back home again, my friend George Ball and I decided to tackle colour printing using the new ferraniacolor film and processing kit. We modified the Federal enlarger by replacing the contrasty incandescent light source with a softer fluorescent lamp ring. A couple of aluminum pans housed the tube and served to reflect the light through the colour film.

To print, we used an assortment of filters to emulate the yellow, magenta and cyan filters called for in the guide book. We discovered that it took a night just to determine the exposure time and balance the colour of the film and enlarger. The chemistry was short lived as well. As a result we managed to get very few decent colour prints each night.

The experiment was set aside for another dozen years until  Beseler chemistry and drums, Agfacolor paper, and coffee cup heaters became available making home development of colour prints practical. This advantage was short lived for in a very few years colour processing shops sprung up all over making the home processed colour prints too slow and too expensive.


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