Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by plugsnpixels, Dec 10, 2016.
Maybe I'm just strange but I used to love the smell of the chemicals.
The old bedroom I used was upstairs, hot, and had no ventilation until I was done and could pop the plywood out of the window!
I have a darkroom setup at home that has an ancient Gnome 35mm enlarger.
In the past I had an Oempus optima 5, one that could do medium format too.
This is one of the first pictures I darkroomed... maybee two months after my initial setup.
I started in 1951 at the East Ham Grammar School Photo-Soc. and we did contact prints on Kodak 'Velox' paper then it was a 'Big Day' when the School got an Enlarger ! It was the ubiquitous 'GNOME' made in Wales with a lens with only two stops, but I printed some 6x9 format negs from my Mum's Brownie Hawkeye Box Camera on it -- then when I joined the South Essex Camera Club as well, they had a 'home-made' enlarger you could hire for 2 shillings and 6 pence a week -- so i used that, then finally I made my own out of Dried Milk Tins for the lamphouse and metal rods done in the School Metalwork Classes and part on an old plate c amera ! I Finally got a Gnome Beta II after saving up, with 75mm f4.5 Dallmeyer lens bought from Wallace Heatons in London. I used my bedroom -- washed prints in my Mum's sink and glazed them on her mirror over the Fireplace -- the old Coal Fire warmed them up nicely.
In the Army in Berlin we had a 'Red Shield Club' run by the Salvation Army with a German enlarger that I used and left strip of 4 negs in there the night before I was due to move to the British Zone so I lost my pics of the Brandenburg Gate . In BMH Iserlohn I used the X-Ray Department which was next to my Path Lab and took lots of photos of Generals and Officers for their ID purposes and had all ' home-made' Developers and Fixers paid for by the Poor British Taxpayer ( well they paid for Bullets and Tanks so why not Metol and Hydroquinone etc ! )
Years later, at home I got a British 'GAMER' Universal on which I started Colour Printing with the E2 process in a Drum and dishes, then even more years later I have 3 Enlargers and a 16x12 " 'NOVA' slot processor for RA4 Colour and still do B&W in Dishes with home-made developers.
I attach photo of my Enlargers at at present : Durst M601 given, LPL C7700 Pro bought, Durst M305 Colour head given and some lenses and REAL FILM Folks !
Enlargers by Peter Elgar, on Flickr
My first "darkroom" was my wardrobe with a blanket over the door. Nearly suffocated myself...
Then at Senior School the Hall Projector Room was set up as a proper darkroom and had an enlarger.
Fortunately at work, I had access to top class processing labs that could do things for me...
What a super history! I never got to Berlin being stationed for a year, 1958-9, south of Hanover.
I recall my early interest being started by watching my mother using POP and waiting for the sun to shine brightly enough for a decent tone. Then my father really got me hooked by showing me the wonders of "gaslight" paper. I recall Dad loading the negative and paper into a contact printing frame (possibly in his own shadow), then holding the frame above his head and close to the kitchen light for a short time, before developing, fixing and washing the print. (I certainly can't remember him using any form of safelight.)
Magic!! ...for a 6-8 year old. And I still get a feeling of awe when the print's tones show up in the developer.
Well, in about two hours I shall be in what is probably the last student darkroom in Oxford - paying for four years membership of the photographic society as soon as I knew I was being made redundant seems a good move! Just developing films today, hopefully will get some wet printing done (if anything is worth printing...) before I go back to work (though as it's on my way home anyway, that's not a major problem!).
I hope to turn our outside lav into a darkroom, but while there is still any chance of Dad visiting us it must remain primarily a lav, as he can't get up the stairs, and, to be honest, there are higher priorities in the house!
Whilst I've been a keen digital photographer for a while I have only just recently started using film, I go to WW" re-enactments and I love taking pictures on cameras that were used during the same era. Sadly, between a garage with a brewery and a bar and a spare room filled with snowboard equipment I don't have the space for one. Thankfully a local 'hackspace' has set one up and whilst it has evoved several times this is what it now looks like -
We have recently had running water installed so it really is a fantastic area to use!
No just people who could not count grandmothers.
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