I am a very happy man and on the verge of posting my 200nd article on this blog.
Finally and with some help I found a solution to the problem that has been bugging me for a while. I even came close to giving up analogue b&w.
What bothers me is that the solution has been so obvious, the origin of the problem even more so. Yet I did not see but I was aware of it, somewhere deep in the shadows of my brain.
Sweetheart does not like to drink from my tap water. When I tasted hers there was indeed a difference and hers was much softer and yummier. Yes, we are still talking tap water here.
I dried my films in the bathroom and they were covered with dust particles. Almost every negative seemed to have a zillion of them and it was camera independent.
I should have noticed these dust particles, dispersed as a stretched galaxy over the whole length of the film, was on one side of the film.
Then I dried them in the little room but it did not help that much. Steaming the place prior to drying film did not help. Sometimes the problem was minimal but most of the time it was a disaster when I saw the negs scanned.
This is an example of a not so bad dry.
Dust goes with analogue but not in that large amount. Yes, I should have seen it and yes my water warmer needs a regular treatment with vinegar. Yes, I need vinegar to clean the part of my kitchen sink where I let my plates and so dry.
I had become desperate. All those white speckles and when I sharpened the images they multiplied or so.
Finally I posted a question on this great Facebook page, Film Photographers and got a zillion responses. A few of them backed up the thoughts that were still lingering deep in my unconscious.
So I got a 5 liters of demineralized water and after developing, stopping, fixing and rinsing with tap water I did an extra rinse with this water and then used it also to add photoflo.
OMG… there are still a few speckles, but really, just a few.
We are talking about real dust here. Not calcium residue that has dried as little speckles on my film. So calcium in the tap water was the real problem.
I am a very happy man and finally able to enjoy the pleasures of analogue photography like I once savored them, at school, more than 35 years ago.