Can I use candles as safelight?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by cotdt, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    I read that in the old days, they used candles as safelights. Would any candle work, or do I need a Special Candle?
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    you will need a glow in the dark candle.

    NO CANDLES
     
  3. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    I do have some glow in the dark candles.
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    I was just kidding about the glow in the dark candles.

    I never heard anything about using candles in the darkroom.

    how is your ventilation?
     
  5. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    i have air vents. i want to replace my red safelights with candles because they are more romantic. there will be love songs playing the the background while i print.
     
  6. david b

    david b Member

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    ROTFLMAO!!!!

    :surprised:
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You can even replace your enlarger bulb with a candle -)

    For a safelight you'd need a glass filter. Some how this doesn't seem like a great idea today but it's possible. Fixture,filter and candle.
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I think red candles may be best, they should help you make lovely prints.
     
  9. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    thanks for the lovely advice =)
     
  10. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Sure, just put them inside a red globe :wink:
     
  11. Pete H

    Pete H Member

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    Maybe you can get warm prints this way? :smile:
     
  12. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    Hopefully I'm not the only one realising they'll snuff out pretty quickly due to lack of Oxygen.
     
  13. arigram

    arigram Member

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    How about somehow molding safelights into hearts?
    Or embed the candles inside a transparent pipe which
    connects to the outside with bends and twists to bring in
    oxygen?
    Don't forget the insence!
    And the champagne...

    "Honey, this is no simple dark-room, its a loooooove shack!"
     
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  15. Wishy

    Wishy Member

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    "Does the smell of fix turn you on" :wink:
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Or you could find a real old ruby-glass darkroom lantern?

    Candles were used, in red glass enclosures. What frightens me most about these is that they were used in the wet-plate age! I don't like the thought of open flame, ether fumes and nitrocellulose all together in an enclosed space...
     
  17. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Where's your sense of fun, mystery and excitement, Ole? :wink:
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My sense of fun is still alive, my sense of mystery in this context got lost somewhere in a chemistry degree, and my sense of exitement is temporarily offline as long as I'm sitting on a drilling rig in the middle of the North Sea. New storm coming up tomorrow... :wink:
     
  19. analogfotog

    analogfotog Member

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    Any open flame in a darkroom is dangerous, for a variety of reasons. The flame itself is a fire hazard, and the smoke, however slight, is not good for your enlarger lens. Or your lungs, for that matter.

    I do hope you are kidding; if this is an April Fools Day joke, you are a bit early. Use a real safelight, even if it is only a red bulb purchased at your local hardware store.

    Photographers used to use candles; but then again, they used to get around on horseback.
     
  20. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    According to my old books, candles were indeed used inside metal and coloured glass safelights before electricity in the home was widespread. Gas and oil lamps were preferred however and even then, the importance of fresh air was noted: "for a small room, if not ventilated, speedily becomes so fouled with products of respirations to be distinctly injurious to health"... followed by instructions for a light-tight 2" metal tube providing a chimney for a gas safelight...

    A pic below of the kind of thing Ole described.

    Bob.
     

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  21. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yeah, you could if you put it in a red globe that filters out all the wavelengths of light to which the papers are sensitized. Question is, why would you want to? There's a reason electric light took off the way it did over a hundred years ago. Has that fact somehow escaped your notice?

    Whack job!
     
  22. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    As a byproduct, the candle soot can be combined w/epoxy resin for touching up those little dings on your camera. It covers brass very nicely with a semi-gloss black finish.
     
  23. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    From "A Popular Treatise on Photography" by Désiré van Monckhoven, 1863 :

    "The dark chamber ought to be, on the contrary, very simple. Two or three tables are sufficient, and the light should either be entirely excluded by pasting black paper over the windows, and the operations conducted by the light of a candle or a gas jet, surrounded by a square lantern of yellow glass, or else, as often preferred, the dark room is so arranged that the light comes exclusively through a frame of yellow glass about 10 inches by 8 inches, and this covered with a sheet of very thin white paper, in order to impede the passage of the direct solar rays. A hinged frame is fitted in front of this square of yellow glass in such a way as to admit of its being totally or partially covered, in order to diminish or increase the amount of illumination at pleasure."

    I've also recently read of early photographers working solely by the light of an unshielded candle several meters away from the plate, but I can't remember the reference. (Perhaps an issue of the Philadelphia Photographer?) Given the low color temperature of a candle flame, the low level of illumination, distance, and the restricted spectral and overall sensitivity of collodion, I can imagine a bare candle might have actually been OK for very brief periods.


    Joe
     
  24. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I think Smieglitz probably wins a prize.

    Early photosensitive materials were not panchromatic. Green's 'Primitive Photography' with non-achromat lenses talks about correcting for actinic focus in the blue region...just like the alternative processes we turn back to today.

    Yellow makes sense as the safelight color before electricity as they didn't need to go all the way to the red spectrum.

    All the other reasons not to aside...
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Screw the romance thing, go for a red lit world domination lab! Safer, and just as cool.
     
  26. mjs

    mjs Member

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    At an estate auction some time back I purchased an enlarging outfit from approximately 1908. The outfit was for 1.25" square glass plates (had tiny little trays and a tiny little paper easel and everything!) The box it came in converted to a darkroom light: there was a place to hold a candle and red tissue paper over a round hole cut into the wood. The inside top of the box had a tin lid which left a gap around the edges for the smoke to pass through. This thing just shouted "fire hazard" to me, but the older farts were tougher, I suppose. Yes, it had been used. :smile:

    I'm not a historian, so I sold it on E-bay. It was just the cutest little outfit, though. Came with a tiny rectangular camera and a box of little glass plates.

    Mike