How to make my darkroom dark again

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    I am not sure if I am like many of you but my darkroom has to do double duty as my office/computer/digital workstation (for commercial photography). Black and White traditional is for me.

    Turn off all of the lights and there are all sort of "parasitic" lights on. I was thinking I could take a blank and throw it over but then the air flow would be distributed.

    I tried a lightproof changing bag and could not standing it.

    Am I left with turning off the myriad of devices that generate those little blue/green/white LED lights.

    Or, could I use gaffer's tape to cover them up? What have other's done?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

    Messages:
    3,894
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Engla
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I attacked them (parasitic" lights) with a pair of wire cutters, but then as a trained electrician I can claim to know which wire to cut first. :confused:
    Small pieces of black gaffer tape should do the trick. Afterglow from computer screens can be a problem to watch out for.:surprised:
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,075
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Mine are covered with red electrical tape. Quick, fast, cheap, and you can still sort of see that the device is operating.
     
  4. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Gaffer tape. A very large piece of blackout curtain material (which is proper cheaper bought at a fabric/craft store than from a photographic supply shop and you'll get it in curtain-sized widths, eg wide/long 56" or so by however long you want it). Can't you turn off everything for the time you set aside for B&W stuff?
     
  5. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

    Messages:
    1,455
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use Blu-Tack to cover those, and also to plug the various holes in the walls I keep noticing.
     
  6. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Great idea. I love this site! Thanks.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I would cover them with black photographers tape..a completely opaque black masking tape available fairly commonly from vendors such as Calumet, and others. It is a 3m product.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,590
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That is what I did.

    How come we still do not have a subforum for building darkrooms and fixing darkroom problems? This applies to the Black & White and Color Processing areas.

    Steve
     
  9. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    I have put tape all over the place. My original question pertained to loading tanks and I thought that had to be complete darkness. There are some red led's left that are far away. Will that cause a problem?
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,075
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Cover em up.
     
  11. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Wirral, Engl
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Something I was taught as an apprentice was to sit in the darkroom for 15 minutes. If you can see ANYTHING after that time it's NOT dark. I would certainly not load a darkslide or dev.tank.
     
  12. Justin Cormack

    Justin Cormack Member

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    For my print darkroom I used a few layrs of gaffer tape over the white LEDs (which Apple so likes). I left the one red one (which is right by where I keep the safelight). I load fim in a cupboard thats much darker and has nothing in it (well it doubles for wine storage) - am much more paranoid...
     
  13. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Total darkness is good but I have to admit I have never had a darkroom that did not leak a little light every once and awhile.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,590
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I load my tanks in a Photoflex "Changing Room" bag, also sold by Calumet with its name for the brand for less. This bag is large enough for 4" x 5" work so I have plenty of room for 135 and 120 film loading. That solved my problem and allows me to travel with an emergency darkroom for camera problems.

    Steve
     
  16. dmax

    dmax Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Inexpensive electrical/insulating tape from any 99-cent store works wonders. Easy to find, cheap, and has a zillion uses.
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've a darkroom which leaks continuously but I don't
    worry because experience has taught me that a very
    low level of visible light is OK. Also the eye is very
    sensitive and will see light where slow speed
    photographic material will not.

    I see leaks under the door, around the door frame, and via
    a partition. When loading a reel I and the film are out of the
    line of sight so no problem. Some darkroom workers worry
    too much. Dan
     
  18. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Wirral, Engl
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    dancqu, if you have never worked in a completely dark darkroom, how can you tell how good your results could be?
     
  19. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,075
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I keep my dark, dark. For me, it's better than wondering what I am getting away with.
     
  20. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    It's amazing how much light in a darkroom will not even fog film.

    I have developed film by inspection in the light of all the light leaks. I have also developed the same types of films, sometimes the "backup sheet" from the same shot, in light-tight drums (JOBO).

    There is absolutely no difference in the base fog.
     
  21. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've been assigned to several darkrooms and
    assumed them to be dark; dark enough. No
    complaints.

    Darkrooms I've put together are reasonably
    light tight; dark enough. Snow whites and
    low values of fb+f. Dan
     
  22. Fintan

    Fintan Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Ireland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dont tell me this Ole, I've been using a changing bag in almost total darkness in my darkroom for years :confused:
     
  23. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Wirral, Engl
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Obviously, it's each to their own, but my question is this, if it isn't COMPLETELY dark, how do you know when it's not dark enough? I would rather be safe than sorry.
     
  24. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I loaded film in the completely dark darkroom of a daily newspaper for 15.5 years. The film looked no better than the film I loaded in the near-dark darkrooms I had before or that I've had since.

    I've always tried to make my home darkrooms as light-tight as possible but it's impossible to do so when the room is also used for other purposes and other people are involved. My current darkroom is in a tiny bathroom and it leaks light around the door. I really can't tape the door closed and as long as the light isn't enough to fog the film, I can live with it.
     
  25. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Eye's ISO - Box Speed

    Checked it out, via Google of course: ISO after 1 minute of
    complete darkness 28,000; after 5 minutes, 132,000; after
    60 minutes nearly 1,000,000.

    Tests conducted by the Coal Mine Corporations of America
    and Certified by the International You CAN SEE IN THE DARK
    IF YOU TRY Institute; a non-profit organization.

    Curious though. Any body have an idea? Dan
     
  26. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    What shutter speed would that correspond to. I wonder? And what's the aperture of a fully dilated human pupil?

    Anyways, in late-evening light my darkroom is dark enough that it takes 5 minutes before I can see the film that's in the developer tray, by which time the film is more than half developed. So as my night vision improves, so does the clarity of the image - and when it looks right, I drop it in the fix. Nice negs every single time, and not a hint of fog. :smile: