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  1. #71
    clothesontheline's Avatar
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    After tons of more research and tips from you guys, I have finally compiled a process; input as you see fit: *Note*: If you read any at all(please read all) look at "5)" where my main questions are

    My Objective: I am in charge of the one day photography section during a weeklong(5 days) summer art camp wih 2 sessions: one from 9-12am and one from 1-4pm. The kids(around 35 in number total) are going to be split up into groups and are going to be given several pinhole cameras of which they will be instructed to use. The kids will be shown the photographic process(how light works and such) in a room size camera obscura for understanding purposes. Each group will be taken and expose one artistic photo with the camera, recording times and such to get a more accurate photo(or maybe 2 if the exposure fails) I will then be mainly in charge of getting the photos developed into negatives(the kids being shown the process in full room light and possibly under a safelight if there is time), and then contact printing several individual negatives into multiple positives for each member of the group to have a copy(same deal).

    Supplies Needed(for everything but making the cameras):



    • Plastic containers to mix and temporarily store the chemicals in (Clorox containers, Soda bottles, Milk jugs?, etc.)
    • A "safelight" to operate in the darkrrom: For me: http://www.superbrightleds.com/morei...gree/440/1477/
    • 3 plastic trays: I am going to check my local dollar store for rays that I can throw away when we are done:if not; I plan on checking my local hardware store for no-hole seed trays: http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/p...-trays-inserts
    • A 15w lightbulb to make exposure for contact printing(may rig up something similar to a rectangular safelight to direct the light and use a filter) http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._15_watts.html
    • A sheet of glass for contact printing
    • Yellowish/#0 filter (optional) for reducing contrast
    • A large tub of water or several smaller tubs to wash the prints in (which will continually be replaced)
    • Plastic/latex gloves
    • An Apron in case I am wearing nice clothes
    • Clothespins w/ a place to hang up the photos to dry



    My proposed process(highly edited):

    *Keep in mind that the darkroom/developing will likely take place only in one day and not on several days during the week. ALSO I am on a semi-tight budget for the darkroom and materials; were talking around $60-70.

    1) After constructing several pinhole cameras and collecting materials, I plan on getting the darkroom chemicals and supplies ready to be used. I will probably mix the chemicals the day b4 using the plastic containers mentioned above. The day of, I will pour them into the plastic trays to be ready to process the prints.

    2) Once the darkroom is set up, I will open the RC VC Paper (mentioned above) and likely with the assistance of the kids, place it into pinhole cameras under the light of a "safelight" AKA red LEDs.

    3) Once the pinhole cameras are stuffed and the shutters and lids are closed with out any light being able to get inside, I plan on taking them outside to be exposed to the scene. The kids will take the photos and record the times of the exposure in case the first one fails. But, I will have tested the pinholes cameras(focal length,etc.) and the light, etc beforehand to get a general idea of how long the exposure will take.

    4) When the paper has been exposed, the cameras will be taken back to the darkroom(not in any hurry to develop though, and could wait 10 minutes or a couple of hours if a have to) A. take one of the photos out and insert it into the Kodak Dextol developer for 60-90, agitating the tray and/or moving the pics around with my hand continually(if im doing multiple prints at once) B. After the developer, I will let the photo drip off and then place it into a vinegar stop-bath for around 30 seconds. C. From there, I will move it to a Kodak Fixer solution, during which I will agitate continually for 2-4 minutes.. D. I will move it to a final water rinse for about 5 minutes, continually replacing water. E. For drying, I will let them drip dry on a a line.

    5) If the photo turns out great, my goal is to make several positives from the negative I have just developed.(If not, another exposure/development will take place) This link describes the contact printing process: users.rcn.com/stewoody/darkcam2.htm says to put the developed negative emulsion-side down on top of an unexposed sheet of RC paper emulsion side up, and to lay a sheet a glass over the "photo sandwich". Upon completion, flash a 15W white light bulb 2-3 feet away for a couple of seconds. (I will have done tests beforehand to get right times) I also plan on using a filter to reduce the contrast if at all possible. I guess I will just tape it around the bulb? An other suggestions for reducing contrast? This link says to wet the negatives before you contact print them: http://www.alternativephotography.co...ting-negatives thoughts? If the positive turns out correct, development using the above mentioned processes will take place. I then plan on enclosing the prints in plastic photo sleeves for the kids the keep them safe.

    Side note: If I(and students possibly) could potential be processing about 60 or 70 prints, how often should I replace the chemicals and which ones?

    Side note 2: On the Kodak Dektol package(zoom in) it says "useful range: 3/4 to 3 minutes" what does that mean ; have anything to do wth replacing it?

    Everyone who has commented has been unbelievably helpful so far and I am very grateful!

    I can wait to actually make a camera and get to making some prints!

    -Michael Griffith

  2. #72

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    Okay, to answer your other question first, the light bulb from superbrightleds, has specifications, which are the right ones.
    As for the chemicals, i think you have more than enough.... Actually, you usually dilute it 1 part dektol to 2 or 3 parts water. So from 1 gallon of dektol, you will get 4 gallons of what you can work with (looking on the website seems like there is no smaller bag).
    The fixer does not need to be diluted. The gallon again should be more than enough, and you should replace it every 25 sheets more or less to be on the safe side. I don't know what the useful range means, but i think it has to do with how long to leave it in for? Just remember, to keep the photos in the developer for at least 1.5 min... which is complete development.

    It might be useful, to mark each camera with a number... and write the times of proper exposure onto it as well (black marker)... e.g. pinhole camera no.1... expose for 25 seconds in broad daylight.

    It's also important to wash the fixer off completely, so, make sure you wash for as long as time permits in the final water rinse. Remember, the final wash time only begins after you put the last piece in... so say you've been washing for 8 minutes, and you put a photo in out of the fixer... you need to start your time over again.

    Given your time constraints, i would go with the wet negative contact printing... instead of waiting for the negative to dry, although it might be as short as 5-20 minutes (not completely, but enough to handle)....

    As for the contrast, i don't know if that would work.

    Again, thanks for willing to go through the effort of showing darkroom practices to the younger generations.

  3. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by clothesontheline View Post
    Side note: If I(and students possibly) could potential be processing about 60 or 70 prints, how often should I replace the chemicals and which ones?

    Side note 2: On the Kodak Dektol package(zoom in) it says "useful range: 3/4 to 3 minutes" what does that mean ; have anything to do wth replacing it?

    Everyone who has commented has been unbelievably helpful so far and I am very grateful!

    I can wait to actually make a camera and get to making some prints!

    -Michael Griffith
    Clothesontheline

    With regards to replacing the chemicals, don't worry too much about replacing the stop bath, you can use water for that if you want - it is the least important of the chemicals.

    The developer will get slower and slower as you use it - but if I am printing on 8x10, I use 1L of working solution in a tray, and replace it about every 25 prints, if you are doing 5x7 you can probably do your 60 or 70 prints with one batch of developer.

    The 'useful range' comment is how long it will take in the developer to develop the image - RC will be faster than fiber so a couple of minutes will be more than enough.

    Fixer is trickier for determining life - I use Ilford Rapid fixer, which gets diluted 1:9 for paper. 1 L will last for about 20, 8x10 prints, which is about 40 5x7s, I think that what I would do if I were you is just mix up 2L of the solution, and that should handle all of the prints you generate in your printing session.

    There is a special chemical that you can get to tell you if your fixer is still good, but since this is a one-shot deal for you, it is probably more trouble than it is worth.

    A few thoughts:

    You can make a pinhole camera from a paint can - take a nail and punch as small hole in the side of the can, then cover the hole with duct tape. In the dark, open the can, and tape your film or paper inside the can opposite the hole (paper will be curved along the side of the can). Put the lid back on the can. Now take the can out, and set it up, then remove the duct tape to make the exposure, and put it back after exposing. If using photo paper for your image, my guess is that you will need quite long exposures to get a good image (minutes, not seconds).

    For your contact prints, you could do Cyanotypes - they have the advantage of not needing any chemicals for developing, you 'develop' in water. You can get a complete kit of the chemicals from photographers formulary. With Cyanotype you mix up the chemical, and then paint it on your paper to make your own photo paper - you can also paint it on fabric and print on a T-shirt.

  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_S View Post
    Clothesontheline

    With regards to replacing the chemicals, don't worry too much about replacing the stop bath, you can use water for that if you want - it is the least important of the chemicals.

    The developer will get slower and slower as you use it - but if I am printing on 8x10, I use 1L of working solution in a tray, and replace it about every 25 prints, if you are doing 5x7 you can probably do your 60 or 70 prints with one batch of developer.

    The 'useful range' comment is how long it will take in the developer to develop the image - RC will be faster than fiber so a couple of minutes will be more than enough.

    Fixer is trickier for determining life - I use Ilford Rapid fixer, which gets diluted 1:9 for paper. 1 L will last for about 20, 8x10 prints, which is about 40 5x7s, I think that what I would do if I were you is just mix up 2L of the solution, and that should handle all of the prints you generate in your printing session.

    There is a special chemical that you can get to tell you if your fixer is still good, but since this is a one-shot deal for you, it is probably more trouble than it is worth.

    A few thoughts:

    You can make a pinhole camera from a paint can - take a nail and punch as small hole in the side of the can, then cover the hole with duct tape. In the dark, open the can, and tape your film or paper inside the can opposite the hole (paper will be curved along the side of the can). Put the lid back on the can. Now take the can out, and set it up, then remove the duct tape to make the exposure, and put it back after exposing. If using photo paper for your image, my guess is that you will need quite long exposures to get a good image (minutes, not seconds).

    For your contact prints, you could do Cyanotypes - they have the advantage of not needing any chemicals for developing, you 'develop' in water. You can get a complete kit of the chemicals from photographers formulary. With Cyanotype you mix up the chemical, and then paint it on your paper to make your own photo paper - you can also paint it on fabric and print on a T-shirt.
    Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the info.. that is really helpful! For the pinholes, we had originally planned on doing them out of oatmeal boxes which would be very similar o the paint can thing you described... right now i think we have had some cigar boxes donated to us so we will probably use those. Thanks for the help though!

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by mesantacruz View Post
    Okay, to answer your other question first, the light bulb from superbrightleds, has specifications, which are the right ones.
    For the LEDs, would ordering two be the best bet in case one doesn't work properly or one isn't bright enough to light the room by itself?

    Quote Originally Posted by mesantacruz View Post
    It might be useful, to mark each camera with a number... and write the times of proper exposure onto it as well (black marker)... e.g. pinhole camera no.1... expose for 25 seconds in broad daylight.

    It's also important to wash the fixer off completely, so, make sure you wash for as long as time permits in the final water rinse. Remember, the final wash time only begins after you put the last piece in... so say you've been washing for 8 minutes, and you put a photo in out of the fixer... you need to start your time over again.
    Nice tip for the cameras! And yes, I plan on rinsing each print for atleast 5 minutes each.

    Quote Originally Posted by mesantacruz View Post
    Again, thanks for willing to go through the effort of showing darkroom practices to the younger generations.

    No problem, I am glad to do it and I'm sure Ill have just as much fun and be just as informed as they are. Im just doing my job.

  6. #76

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    yes ordering two would be the safer bet... since it is a 'light bulb' of sorts going through the mail, and from the reviews, they will ship another one if it's dead on arrival. so make sure you check both.

  7. #77
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    I was thinking of sending you a specialty safelight, but it sounds like you'll have more fun doing it yourself.

    Regarding safelights, I looked through a few threads and Ralph Lambrecht says red is good, so red must be good. No safelight is really "safe" it's all relative...

    In normal safelights, the filter only transmits 10% of the "safe" color, so in addition to being a relatively safe color, the traditional safelight filter works to keep the level of illumination low.

    You don't want to make it bright in the room. It's safest when you can just see your hands and what you are doing, keep it dark. You could put the LED's in a cardboard box near the ceiling, pointing up, with maybe a 1 or 2 inch hole in the box. Then the light from that contraption bouncing off the ceiling will probably be safe. It'll be safer than the LED lights by themselves.

    I was also thinking you could break a beer bottle and tape one or two big chunks of the dark brown glass over the opening in the small box.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    ]
    You don't want to make it bright in the room. It's safest when you can just see your hands and what you are doing, keep it dark. You could put the LED's in a cardboard box near the ceiling, pointing up, with maybe a 1 or 2 inch hole in the box. Then the light from that contraption bouncing off the ceiling will probably be safe. It'll be safer than the LED lights by themselves.
    Good technique; I'll look into it!

    On another note, even if the red light is a little bright so the kids don't have a problem seeing, in all actuality the papers will only be susceptible to light for probably 2 or 3 minutes, right? (1&1/2 min for developer, 30 seconds for stop bath, and then the start of fixing it will stop any possibilities of fogging) For that time, I'm not sure any miniscule amount of fogging caused by a bare red LED bulb shining in the room will really matter. After all, this isn't professional quality, its just for fun and to show kids that photos(and great ones at that) can be made in some way other than pressing a button on some mysterious electronic contraption and then plugging into your computer, which I HIGHLY doubt ANY of them will know at their age and living in this century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    ]I was also thinking you could break a beer bottle and tape one or two big chunks of the dark brown glass over the opening in the small box.
    Sounds interesting... I think I'll pass but thanks for the suggestion!

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by clothesontheline; 06-06-2013 at 10:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by clothesontheline View Post
    Good technique; I'll look into it!

    On another note, even if the red light is a little bright so the kids don't have a problem seeing, in all actuality the papers will only be susceptible to light for probably 2 or 3 minutes, right? (1&1/2 min for developer, 30 seconds for stop bath, and then the start of fixing it will stop any possibilities of fogging) For that time, I'm not sure any miniscule amount of fogging caused by a bare red LED bulb shining in the room will really matter. After all, this isn't professional quality, its just for fun and to show kids that photos(and great ones at that) can be made in some way other than pressing a button on some mysterious electronic contraption and then plugging into your computer, which I HIGHLY doubt ANY of them will know at their age and living in this century.



    Sounds interesting... I think I'll pass but thanks for the suggestion!

    Thanks again!
    It could be a root beer bottle if you're worried about setting a bad example.

    Paper will only be in the safelight for 2 or 3 minutes, correct. And this is just for the kids so perfect results aren't the main goal, you're right there too. Don't open the entire package though. Try to keep the inner bag shielded and slip one sheet out at a time.

    The paper will probably say develop for 90 seconds on the instructions. I use 3 minutes in developer these days. That's for prints. Your paper "negatives" may need to be pulled out ("snatched") from the developer when they are just right, and that might be anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. 30 seconds usually makes a mottled print, but if you have to make a choice between a mottled negative and one that is solid black - mottled is better than solid black.

  10. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    It could be a root beer bottle if you're worried about setting a bad example.
    No, its just I don't want to go through the trouble..

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