Transporting wet prints
Anyone had any experience with moving wet prints between locations during processing? Let me explain.
I belong to a camera club about 45 minutes away from my home where they have a 10x8 large format enlarger in their darkroom. I go there to use the kit (i have the LF camera but could never house such a monster of an enlarger) and develop the prints in situ for obvious quality reasons. The thing is, i use fibre-based paper and am faced with put the prints in the washer and twiddling my thumbs for a couple of hours while they rinse through. And even if i did that, i would have to wait much, much longer to let them dry.
So my question is: has anyone any experience of boxing up prints in, say, a plastic food storage box, and taking them home to wash/dry? Obviously, i wouldn't move them until after a good fix, but will they survive for up to an hour in transit before i got them home to finish the process?
Any thoughts or practical suggestions would be very gratefully received.
I can only speak for slightly wet RC prints but I was foolish enough to try and bring home these from the college darkroom before complete drying and they stuck to each other and the plastic sheet container.
It might be possible if you could build a box with separate layers such as a metal drying screen that takes at least 8x10 sheets or bigger and keeps each sheets separate from the others and then place such a screen in a cardboard or wooden box. Very cumbersome but with a car it should be possible.
Not sure how what a quick rinse then drying over an hour would do to the eventual washing process.
I take it you do not have developing and fixing equipment at home but only washing equipment.
When I was at college, some of my fellow students would take wet prints home in paper packaging bags. I wouldn't recommend that though - it's too easy to wreck the prints. I think your suggestion would work if you could ensure the prints did not dry out or get knocked about in transit. Leaving a little water on the prints would obviously help. FB prints come apart easily when wet, but if they dry out you'll never separate them without damage - been there, done that! When you get home, soak the prints as soon as you can. Do a trial run with some duff prints. It's hardly ideal but I don't see why you couldn't make it work.
Alternatively, have a chat to the club officials and see if there's somewhere you could leave prints to dry overnight. Maybe they have an old flatbed dryer lurking about that you could use - they're brill for getting prints flat too.
Consider using a print drying book after a rinse and a few minutes in hypo clearing agent.
Lately, I have been using a clean 5-gal. bucket for a print washer. Just drill some small holes in the bottom. Let the water hose run slowly into the top.
Stand prints up vertically. Curl them around the sides of the bucket, emulsion facing inward. There's enough room to wash two or three 11x14s. Maybe five or six 8x10s.
So, what if you didn't drill holes in the bucket and filled it full of water? You could fit the snap-on lid onto the bucket.
Okay, so that would be heavy as hell... What if you used a Tupperware or Rubbermaid container with a snap-on lid?
I don't know... Just spitballing.
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I've heard of people doing what desertratt said. Transport in a container filled with water. Make sure it has a good lid that won't slosh water in your car.
In fact, I think there was a thread recently where someone was asking if it would be OK to do just this.
Originally Posted by Neal
If you mean a blotter book, I actually tried it. With glossy surface FB print, blotter paper left marks/impressions that never went away. Also, without a complete wash, any print that comes in contact with the blotter will be contaminated. (with fixer)
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Something that seals very well - like Tupperware - should work fine with FB paper.
I would make sure that the prints have at least 15 minutes of washing before transit.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I would suggest that they need enough water to be properly wet (not merely damp), but not enough to slosh. Definitely easier with RC due to its greater wet rigidity.
Maybe if you had some arrangement of clips in the bottom of the tray that could hold each corner of the print so that no matter how violently you drive, the prints won't end up all wadded up at one end of your container. Or you could put flat plastic on top of your prints and clamp that down loosely with the container lid; it'd prevent all movement of the prints.
When working in a local community darkroom, I have used blotter books to transport and dry prints without issue. Those prints were well washed with excess water removed. It could have been that I was lucky or unknowingly found the right amount of dampness to transport the brand of paper I used. In this case, the prints will not be effectively washed and will be washed after removal from whatever device is used to transport them. As they will already have fixer in them, a little more should cause no issue.