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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Quick darkroom Question...This weekend I'll be developing some film by hand at home and while just recatching up on the process (as ...
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Old 13-08-2009, 03:09   #1 (permalink)
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Quick darkroom Question

This weekend I'll be developing some film by hand at home and while just recatching up on the process (as its been ten years!) I figure I'd try and do some pinhole solagraphy experimentation at the same time.

The problem being, I don't have a full tray darkroom, to develop prints, I have the tank and dark bag etc for dev film only.

I'll only be using small sheets of photo paper to expose the pinholes, is it feasible that I could use the film process tank to develop the paper? I can't see why not, tho I'd imagine I'd have to make sure the chem is level and agitated evenly?

Am I missing something blatantly obvious that will make this not an option?
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Old 13-08-2009, 07:15   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

I'd say the biggest issue will be the large quantity of developer you will need to fill the tank is very wasteful. If you are going to use a small volume and rely on rotating the tank on its side to wash the developer over the print you will have to put the lid and seal on it so will not ba able to see what is happening.

I used to develop large prints in small dishes by curving the paper and see-sawing it through the developer and fixer. The wash can be done under a tap.

Surely you can buy cheap plastic dishes in your part of the world?
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Old 13-08-2009, 07:23   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

Thanks Graham.

Got the trays just not the space to put them anywhere that would be completely light proof. Which is why I was hoping to use the film tank. But you're right, the chem volume would have to be quite high.

Have dark proof cupboard under the stairs and thats about it! Tho maybe a small table in there would be enough to hold the trays?

Thanks.
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Old 13-08-2009, 08:09   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

I know lots of people that have used (and some still use) a home-made tent as a darkroom. You can actually buy custom ones designed for the pupose, but I recon they will be very expensive. I have to say that I have never done this, but I'm amazed at how many people I meet who have.

Ideally dishes are placed side by side, but they can be stacked on a small shelving unit. you only need to see the developer dish - the rinse and fix ones you don't have to see so could be on intermediate shelves.

Another possibility - albeit at some cost - would be a vertical developing tank. this would be like a cube with vertical dividers - one for the dev - only needs to be narrow so no waste issues, one larger one for rinse water and another narrow one for the fixer. You develop by dipping the print in and out of the dev rather than placing in a dish and rocking it back and forth. I think these used to be used for large format film development.

At least you have some ideas to work with. Hope it goes OK and don't forget to tell us
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Old 13-08-2009, 08:18   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

Will do Graham. Am getting quite excited...

Have just grabbed an old table top and placed it on some stands in the cupboard and it works quite well. No water supply in there but will make do. So that gives me a level surface for the trays. Will need a safelight first as its well and truly dark in there!

Taking photos of the setup as I go so will post the final results. Tho a vertical developing tank sounds like what I want. Will scout around the suppliers tomorrow morning.

Thanks again, much appreciated!
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Old 13-08-2009, 09:49   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

40 years ago my first darkroom was the toilet!!! 8ftx5ft one tray on flush part of the toilet the other on the loo part, if my prints came out too dark it was a simple job of lifting the lid on the loo and flushing them away! the enlarger was in the bedroom and was only used when it was dark outside! Those were the days.
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Old 13-08-2009, 22:00   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

LOL. One of my friends just said to me, Why do you need a darkroom... can't you just do it at night?

I wish!

Cupboard under the stairs is working well. Few hiccups so far tho. It's been so long I couldn't tell the difference between the emulsion on the pearl ilford and the back of the paper! So have three white sheets of Pearl. Very nice!

Made my pinhole camera out of an old tin container, lined it with black light proof paper I got from work (very handy working in a photo centre at the moment!) and thats ready to go as well.

House is smelling a bit downstairs but flatmates don't get back til Monday so have a few days to air it out!
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Old 13-08-2009, 22:09   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

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So have three white sheets of Pearl. Very nice!
Anyone who says they have never done that is telling fibs
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Old 14-08-2009, 11:02   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

I used to use a shower room the last time I printed film but even though there was no window, I waited until dark. I also used to seal the windows of a spare bedroom with a black board etc. but again alway waited until dark. What you are finding is that for most people without a bespoke darkroom, it was very difficult and uncomfortable to set and use a temporary darkroom. They were often too hot because (at least in the 1980's) colour prints were processed at 40 degrees centrigade. The chemicals, once opened, only lasted a few days so I used to have marathon sessions over those few days. There is no way I would want to go back to this now and this lack of comfort and inconvenience is why many photographers gave up darkrooms.

I am sure you will enjoy your darkoom session and find a way to overcome the various challenges.
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Old 14-08-2009, 13:39   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

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What you are finding is that for most people without a bespoke darkroom, it was very difficult and uncomfortable to set and use a temporary darkroom.
Exactly - I could not face the hassle, so, like you I used to wait until night and black out windows in the kitchen or bathroom with hardboard and/or thick black material.

I salute those who make fantastic prints using inginuity and Heath Robinson kit.
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Old 16-08-2009, 10:09   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

think point....
someone mentioned needing deep tanks....
I am sure my Uncle had a shallow tank with a circulation pump as part of his development equipment...??
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Old 17-08-2009, 23:33   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Quick darkroom Question

Here are a few of the photos after processing the film in the Vitamin C/Coffee developer. Quite a washed out film, but that had more to do with ISO 100 on a very cloudy day!













Temporary darkroom worked well. As I didn't have an enlarger, I inverted some digital photos and printed them as negatives. Then used these to make positives in the darkroom.

Thanks for your help guys.
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