Colour Darkroom - tips sought.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by perkeleellinen, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I bought a colour head for my enlarger. Paper and chemicals will be here next week.

    I'm looking for some advice from those of you who print without a safe light:

    1/ How do you stop your easel from moving when inserting paper? My enlarger has a little red filter under the lens to check alignment after putting in the paper - I always have to adjust a little. Clearly I can't use this with colour.

    2/ My timer has the numbers illuminated in red. I think I'll get round this by putting the thing in a changing bag. But how do you time the development stage if you can't see a clock?

    Thanks for any tips you may have!

    Steve.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    1. Put cork strips on the bottom of the easel.
    2. Process the print to completion and them the timer is not necessary.
    Steve
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hmmm ... both are signed by "Steve"! Am I talking to myself again?

    Steve
     
  4. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Steve -

    Could you explain this a bit more? How do I know when it's complete if there's no light. And how can I make sure I'm consistent when I develop the next time?

    - Steve.
     
  5. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Oh, and of course I forgot to add. I'll be doing this in a Nova slot processor.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have not used a Nova slot processor. When I used the keronite (sp?) machine, the processing time was fixed by the machine, so the exposure was made based on the processing results. Hence, processing to completion.

    Steve
     
  7. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    Perkeleellien,

    I do a lot of Ilfochrome printing and have had no problem with the very minor amount of light coming out of the timer.

    As far as you easel moving, you might look into a heavy one. I always use an adjustable Saunders easels and they don't seem to move much. I always make sure it is open and ready to receive the paper before I turn out the lights, hence making the whole process easier.

    Best of luck, and I can answer a question please feel free to email me.

    lightwisps@yahoo.com

    don
     
  8. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Thanks Don (and Steve), very helpful. I'll experiment as soon as my supplies arrive.
     
  9. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Hi, you can tape the easel down with masking tape.

    Jon
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    My thoughts, too.

    Steve
     
  11. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I cheat - I have a (very) dim amber LED illuminating the dial on my stopclock at arm length from the trays. After exposing the paper, drop it in to the dev, hit the timer button. 60Sec later, in to the stop for 15Sec, then blix for 60Sec. This is in the Tetenal room temperature kit running at 20°C. If you get one of these kits, instructions are included for running a replenishment line in a Nova slot processor.
     
  12. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    If you really can't learn to work with the easel as is, get an easel sized cutoff of 3cm granite from a stone-yard that does countertops, surfaced both sides, and use double-sided tape on the feet of the easel to fix it to the slab. The smooth surface of the stone will slide on the baseboard easily enough but the weight will keep it in place while printing.

    Add additional support under the baseboard so it doesn't warp under the weight and use dots of luminous tape, punched out with a paper punch or hand cut, to mark the ends of the blades of the easel so you know where things are in the dark. They won't fog your material and bits of glow-in-the-dark tape are generally helpful in a blacked-out darkroom.

    Eli
     
  13. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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  14. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  15. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    A couple more comments:

    • I suggest you test the light from your timer. It might not be a problem. In any event, putting it in a changing bag is probably overkill. A simple barrier, like a 3-ring binder propped open next to the timer, will probably be more than sufficient even if the timer's light causes problems when it's unshielded.
    • For development in the dark, I use an electronic kitchen timer that beeps. (I use the same timer for developing B&W paper and for film, too.) It's easy enough to start it running in the dark, since the buttons on the model I've got are easy to locate and distinguish by feel.
     
  16. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Perkeleellinen, my LPL easel has rubber tips below that prevent it from slipping. You might be able to find something similar. I just set the blades, align it to the projected image and that's it.
     
  17. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Lots of timers have a beeper or buzzer at the end of the timing period, even 40 year old Gralabs.
     
  18. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Also, if your easel is not new, the rubber feet probably have hardened and will slip easily.
     
  19. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Thanks again for the tips. Recently I'd been using a little Paterson 5x7 fixed format easel which is very light and plastic. I also have a much larger LPL easel that is metal with rubber feet. That may be fine - I'll have to go and check later today.

    I'm happy to hear that small amounts of light from timers etc may not fog the paper. I was under the impression that 100% darkness was necessary. Having just the faintest glow of light may help with orientation also.
     
  20. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    I did get a little bit of fogging from the red LED display on my Spiratone Darkroom Director when I did color printing. I taped a few layers of unexposed color negative film over the display to dim it, and that worked pretty well. Another tip: put small pieces of glow-in-the-dark tape at strategic places to help you orient yourself in the darkness.
     
  21. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If you "rough" up the rubber feet of the Paterson with sandpaper and it is sitting on the enlarger baseboard, you'll be surprised how much of a grip it has. I did just this and was surprised.

    It does of course lack weight and you'd need to be able to feel for it fairly gently. If you become totally disorientated in total darkness and many do then I'd use an RH Designs colour safelight torch or similar.

    Remember you've got to feel your way over to the Nova and ensure that the paper gets into the dev slot correctly and not one of the later slots.

    An affinity for accurate working in total darkness can be learned otherwise the personnel at Harman in Mobberley who have to do this would never be able to function but it may take quite a long time to learn.

    You'll never know until you try I suppose but if it were me I'd use a torch or even a DUKA safelight.

    pentaxuser
     
  22. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, I develop color prints in open horizontal trays, just like I develop B&W prints. On two or three occasions, I've accidentally placed a sheet of paper in the stop bath tray before putting it in the developer tray. On each occasion, I quickly realized my mistake, pulled the print, washed it as thoroughly as I could in total darkness, and then started again from the developer. The prints seemed fine to me. Of course, that wash step is important; I wouldn't want to contaminate developer with stop bath!
     
  23. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    The better easels are heavy and do not move.

    Heavy tape for a lightweight. Or a thin piece of wood and small C clamps hold the top edge. Clamp the bar to the edge of the enlarger baseboard. Glue on some wood to stop left/right movement.

    I recommend a Saunders V-track if you stay with this. All cheap photo equipment is a pain to work with because it either does not work at all or there have to be so many work arounds for the bad designs, it is no fun.

    Use your clip on the center of the long edge. Set the print on the top front of the nova, then drag it back until the edge drops in. Immerse fully. then agitate left right & up down.

    After development is complete, pull up and drag back to the next slot. Repeat .
     
  24. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have my fair share of el-cheapo favourite easels. Some are more like base plates, the masking arms and edges removed long ago. One has had a layer of fimo modelling clay formed up to add mass by being mounded to fit the voids on the underside of the working deck. Once the clay dries/is baked it shrinks a bit, and a hot glue gun was used to fix it in place.

    I am fortunate that I have a number 13 safelight filter, with a 7.5w bulb bounced off the roof about 6' from the easel. I find that it gives me enough light once I have been in the dark for about 10 minutes if I come in from the daylight to see my way around to get the paper in the easel and then into my roller processor after exposure.

    But I also work just as frequently in total darkness, with, like the others say, a few spots of glow tape to give you orientation. I find that I build all cart corners for gear that can be rollered in and out with about a 6" radius on the top, so you do not bruise as severely when you leave your mental map of where you are behind for a second. A small stereo unit behind the enlarger also helps to keep you oriented.