Developing Slide Film at home

Slide film has a special quality.  There is a vibrancy to the colors that seems unmatched in color negative film, in my opinion.   But the feeling I get when I open the developing tank and unspool a roll of slides is indescribable.  With black & white and color negative film, I usually think “great, I got some images, and I think they look pretty good…”, but after developing these first two rolls of slides, or transparencies, it’s more like “Wow!  Look at that!  Those look amazing!”

Slide Strip-1
Some of my first developed slides – I  love the way a scanned strip looks!

They’re basically little pictures trimmed in black frames.  The blues, the details in the clouds, the vibrant oranges and reds, they all pop out extremely well.  And this is on 35mm film.  I can only imagine what they would look like on medium format!

I’ve shot some slides in the past, but they always come back mounted.  Plus, developing them myself has an extra layer of satisfaction.  The E-6 process to develop the slides was similar to C-41 for color negative, except that all three steps require rather precise temperature control at 100 degrees F.   While C-41 is Developer-Blix-Stabilize, E-6 is 1st Developer-Color Developer-Blix.

There was a little hesitation after the color developer where I was tempted to look at the results like I do before the final step in both C-41 and black and white developing, but I stopped myself, because “Blix” is actually “Bleach + Fixer”, so opening the tank after the color developer would ruin the pictures!

The two rolls I developed were a roll of Fuji Provia 100F and a roll of Velvia 100.  The Provia was shot mostly this weekend at the Wheeling Vintage Regatta, with the first 9 shots from my front yard testing the Sigma 70mm-300mm lens and cable release for the Maxxum 7.  I thought the Velvia was from my trip to Miami in June; it turns out it was from a trip to Perth, Australia in the spring of 2015!  That was an extra level of surprise, because at first the palm trees indicated “Miami”, but i couldn’t remember being near water or buildings that looked like the ones in the slides!

Some of my favorites from the Regatta in Wheeling:


And from the trip to Perth last year:




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