120 Film – Light exposure through the backing paper madness

I wanted to throw up a quick post to serve as a reminder to those shooting 120 film in bright conditions. I recently processed a roll of Kodak Portra 400 that I shot in the Mamiya RB67 ProSD. I had some light bleed through the backing paper, marking my photos.

Now we all know the recommended procedure is to load and unload 120 film in “subdued” light. I know that many of us may not strictly adhere to these instructions all the time and yet I haven’t had any issues doing this in the past. Usually I will turn my back to the light to block direct sunlight hitting my film but in this case it didn’t help.

On several frames I had a mottled pattern from the paper showing through and on 2 you could clearly see the numbering from the paper.

Let this serve as a warning, it can happen! I will endeavor to be a little more careful in future loading and unloading to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Examples below!

Mottled pattern at top right from backing paper
Backing paper numbers shown on path
Backing paper numbers shown on my daughters leg.

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