I’ve been seeing a few mentions recently of alternative film developers in addition to Caffenol. As I just happened to have a small jar of dried mint leaves I thought I would try this option. The leaves were dried and packed in the jar over a year ago now. Im not sure how much there was in weight, probably no more than a few grams.
Placing the whole jar full into a mixing jug with 200ml boiling water from the kettle, I let this steep for 30 min’s. Once steeped I then added 40g Soda and 10 g Vitamin C powder. Gave it a good stir to dissolve everything. I then filtered this into a 500ml brown bottle and topped up to 500ml, leaving to stand overnight before using.
I had some Rollei RPX400 in a 35mm bulk loader (which I would very shortly run out of..!) and wound some of this onto a cassette (approx 5 frames worth.)
Today was dry here, but a bitter North wind was blowing. I made a quick foray around the garden just snapping away to use the frames up. Loaded up the daylight tank and set to developing. 30 min’s with initial, 3, 7, 14, and 25 min agitations; wash in water, fix as usual.
Images - Yes, but very faint, so either under exposed or under developed.
Round two, again a short length wound to a cassette and loaded into the Nikon F70. Similar wander around the garden, a couple of frames less. This time I decided to Semi-Stand develop. 60 min’s with initial agitation plus 5x agitations at 30 min’s; wash; fix as usual.
Images - Most definitely. And, well developed too.
Nothing special in terms of subject matter. Some bromide streaks from the sprocket holes in one of them. But the tonality and contrast are super. Enough success here for me to risk some more film.
I set too to roll another cassette of 35mm. Alas, the bulk roll finally came to an end after only two clicks (I have had this roll of film in the loader for at least 18 mth’s..!)
Recently I had some duff 120 films from Ilford, and now have replacements for those. So one of the original Ortho 80 films was loaded into the Yashica MAT124G. Perfect for testing with like this….
I set the EI at 64 ASA to give me a bit of over exposure which would also give me some latitude in development times. I had the same/similar wander around the garden. Loaded the daylight tank. Developed for 60 min’s as before with a Semi-Stand process; wash, and fix. Probably not the best asa to use though as it was a cold day and working handheld with shutter speeds of no more than 1/30th sec resulted in some blur.
Images - Oh yes. However I had slightly too little developer in the tank so one edge of every frame is undeveloped..! I did say it was a potential sacrificial roll of film.
Would I use MintTea regularly, probably not. It was a fun experiment and certainly useful to know if I should run out of regular developer or if it became unavailable for some reason. I will though use it again this year. I need to find a small project to complete - maybe even make the paper, coat the paper, make the developer and also use the garden for the subject material…? We’ll see.