It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…. or something like that. I was up to my elbows in a changing bag. Back from a wonderful day trouncing through my beloved swamps. I had a couple rolls of 120 and a couple rolls of 35mm as evidence of my efforts throughout the day to capture the splendor of the swamp. Well, the rolls of film and muck covered boots and a strange funky odor which even after a prolonged shower I’d not managed to shake. Perhaps it was just in my nose? I digress.
Coffee was brewing and I was in the throws of gearing up for development heaven. You see, I do love developing film. I love every bit of it. Well, except for this part. My changing bag exploits have netted mixed results. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you were to graph my blood pressure correlated to my time working within a changing bag, it’d have the pattern of a sine wave and the attitude of a seismograph. Indeed, I enter the changing bag with just a bit of trepidation because when things go wrong, they go really wrong really bad.
The culprit? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE TIME it’s my ability, rather, inability to get film onto a reel. This reel in particular….
OK. Well, it’s not just THIS reel because to be perfectly truthful, this reel is probably 8th or 9th generation. You see, I’ve sort of crushed, ripped, smashed, stripped, pounded, bent and in any number of ways perfectly decimated many before this one. In fact, looking at this one right now, I know it’s living on borrowed time! Oh, and yes, I’ve even had a roll of film or two meet an untimely fate as a casualty of my hand-to-hand conflict with a reel. When the black mood sets in, well, all be damned!
My trauma loading film onto these rolls spans a broad spectrum ranging from an inability to get it onto the roll at times to the inevitable flameouts when it jams, crinkles, binds up or just pops out. Steel reels are horrible and these are worse.
Back to my story. Yes, I was elbows deep into the changing bag. One roll of 35mm and one roll of 120 were my objectives. I struggled and had a couple close calls but managed to get the 35mm roll loaded first go. My anxiety increased as I turned my mind and hands to the 120. All said and done, nothing doing! Total fail. No matter how I tried, halfway through the loading and the the damn situation just bound up. I was incredulous. I was crazy frustrated. I was just plain fed up. Out of the bag came my arms and I just stomped off. I was an unhappy camper. Another big fail. I needed to cool off. I just kept muttering “what in the heck is wrong with those frigging things!” Of course I also just got down on myself. I’ve been loading film for a long time and yet it was still a crap shoot. Needless to say, I just passed on developing for the time being.
Later that evening I was chilling and looking through a B&H catalogue. I’d only ever received one and I kept it because, well, it was thick and fun to thumb through. I was perusing the film development tank section thinking about the print washer I needed to replace when I came upon the reels. I cursed them all, and I’m talking a well thought out voodoo quality curse. As I dwelled on the page something caught my eye. My gaze intensified. I sat up straight and lifted the catalogue into better light.
“GENIUS” was the word that punctuated my foggy mind. It was genius at first sight. I read the description “OMEGA Universal Adjustable Multi-format.”
The moment I saw them I knew this was it. This was better. Way better! I mean, look at them. That just makes so much sense! I was moving on hyper-emotional impulse. I grabbed my iPad and zipped over the B&H and ordered two. Done! Who knows. I just know it felt 100% right and it was all gut feeling.
In short order a package arrived from B&H and I tore it open. I extracted one of the reels from its plastic wrap. Held it in my hands and inspected it. I turned it. I opened it. I collapsed it. I smelled it. I listened to it. I almost kissed it. I knew it. I just knew it. Genius! My life would be better.
So, what’s the deal? Reality? IN-FRIGGIN-AMAZINGLY-CREDIBLE!!!! Night and day. I’ve used them both for 35mm and 120mm and I’m in and out of the changing bag in a matter of minutes. Every aspect of these work better, a billion times better, than the other reels. In fact, they work so well I don’t even think about the reel loading part of going into a changing bag. Take a look at the difference. Let’s start with the past. You know, when miracles were required.
I’m sure everyone looking at this knows these reels and this is a common site. Now, take a look at the NEW WORLD.
Getting the film lined up, started and moving with these reels is just a snap. I mean, it’s so darn easy I almost cried the first time I had success. Where on earth had these reels been all my life.
They say that many times its the smaller, seemingly inconsequential, things that can have the greatest impact. Well, I’m here to tell you that when it comes to reels and changing bags, these reels have changed my life! “Loath” is no longer a part of my development life cycle.
Word to the wise: BUY THESE REELS!!!!!!
REMEMBER: Refer to my About page. I AM NOT affiliated, sponsored by or in any way associated with ANY of the products or sites I might refer to. I am just TELLING IT LIKE IT IS, for me, and I’m committed to sharing the good, the bad and the ugly, honestly! Period.