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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2014-10-03

Tri-X
“’What’s agitation?’ she asked, with a blank stare. No one had explained the need to agitate the film in the developer.”

By Greg Schneider

Photo by Greg Schneider

Photo by Greg Schneider
As a senior in high school, I got a weekend job developing film for the writers who had to take their own photos. After instruction and practice getting the film on those stainless steel reels, I forgot which deep tube of chemicals was which and immersed eight rolls of film in the hypo first. I couldn’t understand why all the film came out clear. Those reporters were pretty upset with me. A couple of them eventually forgave me.

Years later, when I was a staff photographer at the San Bernardino Sun, the gal who had been our lab assistant for six months, came to me with some negs and asked, “Do you have any idea why I’m getting these streaks on the film?” “How often are you agitating the film,” I asked. “What’s agitation?” she asked, with a blank stare. No one had explained the need to agitate the film in the developer.

As a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to shoot pro sports in Los Angeles because the two staff photographers at the Pomona Progress-Bulletin didn’t want to work on weekends.

On the sidelines of a Los Angeles Rams game, I recognized the name of a photographer whose work I really admired. I asked this man how he “pushed” his Tri-X to get such good quality in his sports shots. He responded rudely that he had worked years to develop that recipe and he wasn’t about to share it with some punk from Pomona.

Overhearing this exchange, Art Rogers, of the LA Times, motioned me over to him and explained exactly how to develop my film to get good results at the higher ASA I needed for those dark high school gyms.
I never forgot the rudeness of the one photographer, and conversely, the gracious generosity of Art Rogers.


(Greg Schneider is an award-winning photojournalist, most notably at the San Bernardino Sun. He was the staff photographer for Worldwide Challenge magazine for 12 years and currently adjunct professor of journalism at Biola University. You can see his work at his personal website: http://www.gregschneider.com/ .)


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