Cross Processing C-41 Film in Rodinal

Seeing as how the fall semester had just ended last Friday, I figured my first post should be about something fun and not so much pure teaching. After all it is winter break here in Cleveland. I am first going to start off with a little story about this roll of film, and how it came about.

Last August I had got the steal of a lifetime on ebay when snagged a fully functional Nikon N60 for the tiny sum of $8.99 plus shipping. Yes I got a camera that at the time was averaging about $50.00 for less than $9.00. I knew that I was taking a risk since the camera was untested. However I didn’t care too much as if it did not work as I would have a nice paperweight for my desk at school. When I received this camera the previous owner included a roll of expired Kodak Ultramax 400 135×24 film in the package.

A view of the chandelier at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland at night. Kodak Ultramax 400 cross processed in Rodinal.

I popped in a fresh battery into the camera and decided that to test it I would first run that roll of Ultramax through the camera to make sure that the mechanical parts were working fine instead of wasting a $5.00 roll of Tri-X on it. I shot it one afternoon before my Foundations of Black & White Photography class that I was taking to fill up my last few credit hours so that I could finally get that little piece of paper making me a certified college graduate. I loaded the camera and ran around the Campus District and Playhouse Square in Cleveland just burning through the roll, not really caring what came out. Since I was focusing on black & white for the class I tossed it in the back of the film drawer in my fridge for safe keeping until December when I would bring color film back into the mix and buy some fresh chemistry.

So December came around, grades were given and I decided (yes I know that this sounds like rambling, but I promise that it is going somewhere, really, just stick with me a little longer) to make my own rodinal using a concoction of acetaminophen (paracetamol for those of you reading abroad), lye and sodium sulfite. After waiting the three days for the chemical reactions that produce the developer to finish I was in need of a roll of film to develop. The only roll in my fridge waiting, was the roll of Kodak Ultramax that I shot in earlier in the year. While contemplating if I should process that roll in rodinal or not, I remembered that I read somewhere that rodinal is a weak color developer according to lomography and can give you some fun results. I figured why not, I need to test this developer and this roll is already shot. So I got out my tank, mixed up my chemistry, and developed the roll, and there were pictures on the roll and I was happy that it worked.

A bottle of Tobasco that I found on a bench at Cleveland State University. It might just be an illusion but to me it looks like there are hints of green and red on the bottle. Kodak Ultramax 400 cross processed in Rodinal.

Unfortunately I was unable to scan my newly taken photos at the time and then ended up forgetting about them for almost a year. I finally got the film scanner at school working again and got around to scanning the roll. When I started seeing the scans show up on the monitor I was shocked. Most of them had a tint of light pink to a nice deep violet. A couple seemed to have hints of color in parts of the images. This roll is going down as one of my favorites due to the unexpected surprises that this process has delivered.

The Details

Film StockKodak Ultramax 400 (Expired)
TypeC-41 135x24
DeveloperRodinal (parodinal recipe)
FixerIlford Rapid Fixer

This method of cross processing leaves the photos with a tint ranging anywhere from a brownish pink all the way to a nice violet color. The Rodinal developer gave the photos of Mr. Bill and the first Tobasco bottle hints of color providing a very unique effect to the photos. I will definitely be revisiting this method in the future and doing some testing to see if there are ways to increase the color effect.

The Gallery

The only processing done to these photos was removing dust from them in photoshop, otherwise these photos are as scanned.