Darkroom disasters!

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by giacomo.fiani, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. giacomo.fiani

    giacomo.fiani Member

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    Guys, help me.
    Today was the day I've been waiting for weeks. It was the first time for me to try fb paper (Varycon) in my darkroom, with a developer which was new to me (Neutol WA). I was really excited, but while printing the very first photograph something terrible happened.
    This paper is particularly sensitive to safe light, and since some test stripes were made gray by red light, I switch it off, and turn it on only from time to time, when moving the print from one tray to another.

    In the deep dark, I accidentally hit the safe light and made it fall on the ground. DISASTER! The bulb inside the light got broken, and something happened in the wires: in few second every device into the room got into a short-circuit and stopped working (enlarger, timer, everything).

    Without thinking of what i was doing, shocked, I opened the light while the print was still in the stop bath.
    So here is what I get, a totally gray print and a broken bulb. I'll try again tomorrow, it's a challenge now!

    Please help me, share your experiences with accidents and disasters, attach the results when you still have them, help me stop feeling all alone and depressed!
     

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  2. zsas

    zsas Member

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  3. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Well ya can tell everyone that is a picture of you getting shocked in the darkroom. Nice picture, frame it as your interpretation of an experiance.

    My son did something like your shocking experiance. I hang my safelight by a metal bailing wire off a steam pipe. My son hung the lamp by the fixture instead of the extension cord and the wire got between the light fixture's contacts. Instead of blowing the breakers, the wire waas red hot. When I toutched it to fix how it was hanging I got burned and tossed the dam safelight into the fixer bath, that blew the breaker. I still have a U shaped scar of the hot wire in my hand.

    BTW an Orange OC safelight is what nost papers call for. I don't know why a red didn't work, that's generally safe to use when printing unless it is just too bright? Read the paper insert, they generally recomend a safelight color.
    .
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You need a dark red safe light, no closer than 4 feet from work area, no larger than 15 watt bulb, end of discussion.
     
  5. giacomo.fiani

    giacomo.fiani Member

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    Red was the colour recommended. Probably it was too bright or something. I know I need another one, but when you have mixed all the chemicals, cleaned the enlarger and waited that moment for weeks, you won't let it go due to a stupid unsafe safe light!

    zsas, I search if a similar thread existed already, but I used keywords like "accident" or "disaster", not "stupid mistakes", ahah!
     
  6. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Nope. Not the end of discussion. It varies.

    If you get the safelight colour recommended for your paper, you can use a brighter safelight and work more easily and safely with less chance of safelight gremlins.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    One great way to reduce the intensity of many safelights is to point them up in order to bounce their light off of a ceiling.
     
  8. giacomo.fiani

    giacomo.fiani Member

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    I've bought a new bulb for my safelight, less powerful (7watts, was 10). I'll try again this evening, hope it'll work.
     
  9. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I have a Premier 5x7 with red filter and 15 watt bulb about 4 ft from my work area, Varykon paper 20 minutes exposure to the light and no fogging. I also use it for Emaks and Forte papers with no foggng. Hmmm....
     
  10. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Safelights can of course be tested. Make a proper print exposure of a picture with lots of bright highlights scattered throughout on half of a sheet of paper (other half blank), taking measures to expose it to the safelight for only the briefest of seconds, if at all.

    Then put the paper out visible to the safelight, but blocked for a small strip at the edge at right angles to the split between test print and blank. This piece is to have pure white in the blank and pure white in the highlights of the print half. Then step across blocking more and more of it in 30 second intervals up to about 4 minutes (8 strips).

    Develop with the safelight mostly off except for putting in and taking out of developer. Stop and fix and wash per normal. Evaluate your safe exposure to the safelight.

    A good enlarger timer is arranged to turn off the safelight during print exposure (you might have a long set of dodging and burning to do). Large darkrooms can have a safelight in the enlarger area, and a separate safelight in the tray area, perhaps with a foot switch so that the safelight can be off during the bulk of development, if safelighting is an issue for that paper & light combo.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2011
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    In the basement workshop where I set up my darkroom is a recessed light fixture in the ceiling. With a 50 watt light bulb and two layers of red gel. (Rosco #R-27.)

    From the center of the room, it is a good six feet away from my work areas where I open my sensitized goods. My safelight tests show that most paper can be in the open for 15 to 20 minutes or more before any noticeable fogging begins to occur.
     
  12. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Actually, I'd have to disagree with the idea that it must be dark red and it must be 4 feet away. I have insanely bright red and yellow LED bulbs (OptiLED) and they both seem to be safe for all papers. I bought both colors since I thought papers like Slavich would need it. I routinely use them both for lith printing (development up to 10 minutes) without fogging. LEDs are nice because they act over a very narrow wavelength band.

    I really don't think that was particularly big disaster you describe. Now when you fog an entire box of paper for the second or third time......let's just say that I've invested in multiple paper safes!
     
  13. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I'm not saying that safelights HAVE TO BE red. I'm just saying that this particular shade of red works pretty well for my application.
    (Which is developing regular black and white papers and similar.)

    Rosco #R-27 theatrical gel blocks almost everything with a wavelength smaller than 580 nm. and transmission doesn't hit 10% until you get to 620 nm. R-27 transmits only about 4% of the total light. The specs say the stuff knocks off 4.7 stops.

    One sheet ought to do it but two sheets sandwiched under frosted glass gives pretty good safelight protection.

    I like the idea of the LED lamps. Their bandwidth is so narrow that they are virtually monochromatic like a sodium vapor lamp. The next time I am in the market for safelights I'll definitely be looking into LEDs.

    (BTW: Do sodium vapor safelights give anybody else a headache after you've been working in them for a while?)
     
  14. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I use 1A (light red) safelights in 5x7 fixtures with 25watt bulbs pointed at the ceiling. They are more than 5 feet from the work area but provide enough light to read by. No fog at all with my tests up to 20 minutes with most VC papers.
    A disaster was when I worked in a xray lab. I left the film safe open when I opened the door. Hundreds of sheets of different sizes ruined.:sad: Didn't get fired though :laugh:
     
  15. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I used red film foil that is used for theathre lamps (in front). I guess it was about 620nm. That means that light lower than that will not pass the red filter and kill your print. paper is only visible to about 560 so if you use a filter above that it will be fine.

    I made a wooden box with a 7watt lamp that produces 20 watt. It has a long life and about no heat. I tested it with one sheet of foil distance 1 meter. And guess, the paper was still fogged (i take 10 minutes as a test time because when lithing this is the time needed). When I used 3 layers of foil, it was fine for 10 minutes.
    Seems like one layer of foil still has some holes in them which spread the normal light.[​IMG]
     
  16. giacomo.fiani

    giacomo.fiani Member

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    Last evening I made some print using the new bulb (7w) for the safelight. No fog at all, everything went fine. Anyway, I didn't mean to say that wasting one piece of paper is a disaster, the disaster was the fact that the electricity in all the room went off, and we had to mess up with the wiring, I really feared that the accident had made the enlarger stop working...
     
  17. Monito

    Monito Member

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    There is a saying that "It always looks the darkest before a storm". Actually, it always looks the darkest when the safelight fails.
     
  18. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    :laugh:
     
  19. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Glad to hear all is back in order, now let's see that serene print you were working on
     
  20. giacomo.fiani

    giacomo.fiani Member

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    That one is still wet, but this is taken in the same place.
     

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  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Randy, if you're ever interested in a LED safelight, check out my thread:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/95317-my-new-diy-led-red-safelight.html
     
  22. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I'll definitely keep that filed in my mental Rolodex.
     
  23. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Very wonderful! Congrats!
     
  24. giacomo.fiani

    giacomo.fiani Member

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    Thanks a lot. I'm pretty satisfied with it too!