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Poll - Have you ever made a print in a darkroom? 12/3

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Chrissie_Lay, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    I made a few prints in my schooldays, using my father's darkroom in the downstairs loo - hey, at least I had somewhere to sit down from time to time.

    Later in life, on a Middle East posting to North Yemen, I found there were no D&P facilities anywhere in Sana'a. However, I was able to get together enough kit to set up a darkroom for B&W stuff - dev tank, dishes, a Gnome enlarger and a glazer. You couldn't buy per-mixed developer and fixer, so I had to make my own from the raw chemicals, which could be found locally, using a chemical balance borrowed from a geologist friend. The recipes I used? Thank the lord for the prolific pen of M.J.Langford, 1974 edition!
  2. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera Well-Known Member

    All my best years were spent in the darkroom! (about 30 odd years) I am just hoping that my digital years will be longer, I was converted to digital in about 1997 and was fully converted in 2000.......its so easy now, and there is more time to go out taking picture's......
  3. Steve Bell

    Steve Bell Well-Known Member

    Long ago I made many B&W prints. As a boy I used my fathers enlarger, then my first enlarger was a Durst F60. My last and favourite enlarger was a Besseler 23c. It catered for all formats up to 6x9 by having oversize condensers adjustable via bellows. The film carrier held negatives extremely flat, far better than a Durst. The head was mounted atop a geared frame. I could expose a 20" x 20" print from a 6x6 negative on the baseboard, then developed it by rolling in a colour drum. The head also had an option to swing 90 degrees to expose bigger papers taped to the wall with masking tape. As I often needed prints very quickly the final negative was often washed in drysonal, then soon after printed on RC papers. I used to love the smell of fixer. But times move on, now the darkroom is but a fond memory.
  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I don't print half as much as I'd like, mostly because I'm not very good (a) at printing and (b) at making the time to practice and get better. The fact that most of my cameras are pants doesn't help...

  5. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Figures, they can't hold the film flat, crease easily and tend to leak light around the zipper...:D
  6. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    I started off with a Zenith UPA-5M enlarger (a strange sort of beast that packed down into its own fitted attache case) in a blacked-out bedroom - printing up to 10x8 as I recall. I made contact prints of some medium format stuff using a frame of my own devising and a piece of glass (which, if I recall correctly, was 'borrowed' under cover of darkness from next door's greenhouse and then cut down to size).

    I muddled about in the darkroom at school, which I had free access to because I was the only pupil in the entire violence and drug-riddled establishment that had any interest in photography.

    Years later somebody donated a Gnome Alpha II to me, and now that sits at home waiting to spring back into action. I had grand plans of converting my cellar into a darkroom however, to date, these have not come to fruition.

    A week or so ago I dug out my developing tank and the related accoutrements with a view to processing some black and white 35mm film,so who knows, maybe some proper darkroom activity could be on the cards again?

    As an aside, again several years ago, I was given a safelight that had been salvaged from the darkroom of one of the newspapers in Manchester as it was being decommissioned. It must have been a pretty extensive darkroom because the safelight is absolutely huge! When I plug it in, the lights everywhere else in the village go all dim and I'm fairly sure that the resulting red glow can be seen from the International Space Station. I'll have to write to Tim Peake and ask him.

    Cheers, Jeff
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Jeff,

    It's probably a sodium vapour monochromatic lamp -- the same sort used in street lamps -- which can afford to be ridiculously bright because photo paper is utterly insensitive to thst wavelength. A common description is "bright enough to read a newspaper by". If you don't want it I'll have it!


  8. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    Oh yes,still got the gear- Meopta Axomat 5, dishes, paper, even chemicals, although I suspect they're no longer useable.

    Work involved quite a bit of darkroom work as well, producing positive films for making printing plates.

  9. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Now that made oi laugh!

  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    My God! You wear pants with zippers?

    I don't even like trousers with zippers. Fly-buttons are much safer.


  11. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Well, you were warned about going commando... :eek:

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