Renting a Darkroom - Equipment/Materials

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by appletree, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. appletree

    appletree Member

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    So, second thread I have posted and the first had a lot of great people giving wonderful advice.

    The lab in Houston I use, AZ Photo Lab, rents their darkroom out and only requires me providing my own paper. I was curious is there anything I should bring to use my own of. I don't want to look rude, but I bought my own squeegee so that I knew it was in tip-top shape in case the recent renters or lab pros hadn't done so.

    I have only used the darkroom once and the printer there let me sit with her while she printed my stuff for me. Allowed me to receive a really introductory course on enlarging. I recently bought (it is in the mail) "Ilford Multigrade Papers: A Manual for the Darkroom" and printed out some information I found via the forum to refresh myself (since the printing was done 8+ months ago). I have been reading through Tim Rudman's "The Photographer's Master Printing Course" but I needed some Darkroom 101 material.

    Anyways, I was just curious if there was anything people generally bring or wish they had in a darkroom that wasn't their own? I think eventually I might try my own set-up, but I want to make sure I get consistent use first, learn the basics, have someone right there willing to help or answer questions, and also support the lab. I plan to print on Ilford MG FB Warmtone Semi-Matte (to finish my series of two prints both /10). I printed about 4 of each last time and have the printer's proof still in order to best reproduce the prints. IIRC I have some notes on some of the numbers used? Like I think there are 3 or 4 color options on the enlarger you play around with for contrast and balancing the image.

    Thanks for any general advice or help. Much appreciated.
     
  2. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I don't think it's rude to bring your own squeegee. I'd also bring my own brush if you use that on your negatives. And canned air if they don't have it.
     
  3. appletree

    appletree Member

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    Not sure if it is correct or not, but I bought an Ilford Antistaticum cloth to use for cleaning negatives. Haven't used it yet, but when I was at the lab the lady teaching me used a cloth of some sort. I will bring my favorite "tool" as well, my Giottos Rocket which is used all over my house on a daily basis.

    Thanks for the tips. Not easy for me to go to the lab since I work M-F and they are only open M-F so I have to take a day/afternoon off on my next visit. Ordering paper, developing chemicals (negatives), and some film today hence asking the question in case I am forgetting/missing something.
     
  4. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I've never used their darkroom, but I have used their service. Great people, who not provide great service but also actively support the photo community. What to bring to the darkroom? Your tunes.
     
  5. appletree

    appletree Member

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    Nice, never even thought of bringing my earbuds. And their darkroom is nice, well it is the only one I have to compare to. Mainly just have a big learning curve ahead of me. I like "being prepared" and just wanted to make sure there wasn't something I was missing or is nice to have in there. They will have everything I need anyway. But, already got some great ideas to make sure I tote in a bag with me.

    I have used them to develop my color film for 3+ years now, and sometimes b&w. As far as I know, one of the last labs left in town. I live in Cypress, so it's not exactly around the corner, but I like supporting them. The owner met me after my first printing session and gave me advice on selling my work. I have a full-time job, but I wanted to sell some of my work as a sort of extension of this hobby I have fallen in love with. I thoroughly enjoyed printing as it felt like a different avenue of the art/medium.
     
  6. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    lucky

    You are lucky there is a rental darkroom available. I'm building my own darkroom, one for film and an "annex" for paper in another part of my humble abode.
     
  7. appletree

    appletree Member

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    Best of luck in your darkroom, easy to forget how lucky we are sometimes...and not just in the world of photography. If all goes well at the lab over the next year or so and I get some use out of it then I will definitely be considering my own set up.