Paper and safe light question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Rhodes, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    I have a few boxes of old photo paper paper. I decide to use it for some experiences, like doing some positive prints/contact prints using MF and LF negatives and a lamp with a 75 bulb lamp (no enlarger and even if the prints were completly crap i didn't mind).
    My safe light is a white lamp with a 15W red lamp, that I put above a closet, facing the ceiling and the oposite wall to were I decided to put the trays and the lamp for the print; my "darkroom" is a small bathroom, all white.
    I decided to test if the safe light was safe. But all the papers that I use, became black when I put them in the developer, with out being exposed to white light before. Photo paper when not exposed to light and then developed should remain white, yes? Or I making a huge noob mistake?
    1. the papers are old, they may be fogged because old age/ prior exposure to light before I got them?
    2. The bathroom is "light-prof" since I use it for my film developing and never had foggeg film when loading the reels.
    3. the safe light is not safe and fogs the paper.
     
  2. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    That's a bit more than safe light fogging! The paper has been exposed to light at some time.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Something is awfully wrong.

    Paper do not turn all black even in not-so-dark darkrooms. For example, my "darkroom" used to be a temporary setup and it was "dark" to a point I could clearly see my hands after I get used to the darkness. My paper completely stayed white.

    So I'm guessing either your paper is fogged or your safe light isn't safe at all.
    Turn EVERYTHING off, and at night, in your "darkroom", just develop your unexposed paper, then fix. If you have fogged paper, it will be something other than white. If it turns black, then it's totally toast.
     
  4. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    My first thought! The problem is that I use two diffrent papers and got the same result. Have to see if the rest is also like that.

    Yes, will do that! Thanks!
     
  5. nexus757

    nexus757 Member

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    Get a vintage Kodak bullet safelight with an OC filter & a standard 15-watt bulb. They are plentiful on ebay and quite inexpensive. One guy has three for 10 bucks available right now.
     
  6. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    If the paper is Agfa, it certainly can develop black as the ace of spades right out of the package.
     
  7. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Rhodes,

    It sounds to me like your 'safelight' isn't so safe... You say it's a "a white lamp with a 15W red lamp"; does that mean you're using a white bulb and a red bulb together; a white bulb inside a red lamp housing/shade; or a red bulb inside a white lamp housing/shade?

    Black and white papers (except Kodak Panalure (old) and the Ilford Digital range (current, only supplied in rolls)) are sensitive to green and blue light, which is the reason safelights are red, orange or sometimes yellow. You need to eliminate *every* source of 'white' light - red-coloured tungsten bulbs still emanate a percentage of blue and green light to which your paper is sensitive.

    On the other hand, your paper may be completely fogged, in which case it's useless for its intended purpose. Here's how you can test it. In complete darkness, develop and fix a sheet from the middle of the paper packet, and one from the top. If they're large sheets just cut a strip 2" wide along the top. If you see any greyness after fixing, the paper is fogged.

    If your first test comes out white, take another sheet or strip in complete darkness, lay opaque items like coins on top and switch on your safelight for two minutes. Again in darkness develop and fix this sheet or strip; if the outlines of the items are visible, your safelight is unsafe. If nothing is visible, try the same test using the same methodology for five, ten, twenty and forty minutes. If there's no visible fogging after forty minutes under the safelight, that's safe enough for everyday darkroom work.

    At a pinch, some red ultrabright LEDs wired to a battery and wrapped in red polythene will be safer than a red tungsten bulb.

    Have fun,
    Cheers,
    kevs.
     
  8. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    Kevs, it is the last one you mention. Dificcult to get the proper word from the portuguese "candeeiro"/google give me sconce, normally I use lamp, but this have very broad meaning. It's a red tungsten bulb inside a white lamp housing/shade!
    Yes, will test today or tomorrow and will post here the results!
     
  9. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    Good and bad news! The bad is that one of my paper fogged and my safe light is not safe, did a good photogram with it.
    The good is that the 5x7 paper and the 8x10 is not fogged and that I know now that the safe light is not safe.
     
  10. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    Yes, you discovered that red coated bulbs are not safe. I am amazed at how often they are sold and used despite this.
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You may have a Portugese e-bay but if not then most sellers on U.K. e-bay will post to Portugal. There are always plenty of safelights for sale. Another way to buy is from an official retailer such as Secondhand Darkroom Supplies. That way you can be sure that the safelight will be safe. Secondhand Darkroom Supplies(SDS) is a reliable business to deal with.

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

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    Thanks pentaxuser, I buy from the european ebays. I can have a safe light for free, I have to go were I got the paper, the old and unused photo lab of my department course. There are still several amber bulbs and two amber safe lights housings.
    Funny thing, I loaded int o the holder and processed two sheets of harman direct positive paper with my "not safe light" and it did not get foged. Or it did, but I can not notice in the photo.
    Thank you all!
     
  13. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Rhodes,

    I'm sorry to hear that some of your paper was fogged. At least you now know what's causing your safelight problem. I'd suggest that you also test any safelight you obtain (especially a free one) in the same way before trusting good paper to it. Some papers may not be safe under amber safelights; the instructions will usually give the manufacturer's safelight recommendations.

    I haven't tried the Harman Positive paper, but it may be less sensitive to certain wavelengths of light than ordinary papers. Any fogging will show up as a reduction in contrast starting in the highlights. In fact, Harman says it's a very contrasty product and should be pre-flashed before some uses; this could be the reason you saw no fogging on it. That's a guess and I could be wrong.

    Best of luck,
    kevs