I used my kitchen as a darkroom through several years of semi-professional photography. It had the added benefits of A) forcing me to do the dishes once in a while to get access to the sink, and B) forcing me to clean up and put away the darkroom gear after each session so I could make dinner. Or breakfast, as the case might be... The power cord for the enlarger also blocked the door to the refrigerator where I kept my beer, after some initial irritation I decided this might be a very good thing indeed!
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
The hardest part for me was visualising the layout. It took a lot of scale drawings and the much valued assistance of a friend with a CAD machine to get the layout finalised. I decided to dedicate a spare bedroom as a permanent darkroom. I was lucky to have 100 sq ft to play with and still found things got rather snug when all the equipment was installed. It took me over two years (mainly because of distractions) but it was worth it in the end.
It's not hard. Large closets, bathtubs, etc. can all be used. My first darkroom was in married student housing in grad school, and it was a shelf installed over the bathtub. Enlarger and timer and paper were on top; trays went in the tub underneath. Worked fine (since I was a seminarian, being on my knees to run the paper through the trays was good training anyway!)
Originally Posted by snaggs
The only hard part was for my wife who was pregnant at the time, and as she grew in size it got harder for her to thread the 18" gap between shelf and tub rim to get in the bathtub, but hey, she made it, and so did our first child.
Setting up a darkroom is surprisingly easy,and the basic processes of developing film and printing the images becomes pretty much second nature fairly fast.
But I will give you this warning:every darkroom-mine included-seems to develop some strange kind of time warp.
I go into it for what feels like a 30 minute session,and when I come out,the rest of the world has advanced 5 hours or more!
A common mistake people made when designing something completely foolproof was to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Computers are incredibly stupid,but they are capable of being incredibly stupid many millions of times a second.
Both said by Doug Adams
Only put off until tomorrow that which you are prepared to die having not done-Pablo Picasso
Ain't that the truth! I went into work one morning, 8:00am, closed the door to the darkroom and walked out for a mid morning break at around 3:30 pm. God I miss that job. They went digital anyway so I would have moved on by now. But I still miss it.
Originally Posted by eagleowl
This has been a great thread. I was about to ask the same thing and this popped up. I have learned a lot. I have turned my classroom into a darkroom but it is a very large and flexible space. I was having difficulty visualizing how to set it up in a small area.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
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The was a really good book written in the early 1980s on darkroom design, the 1st 1/2 of the book was descriptions of working darkrooms of some very famous photographers including Eugene Smith, and Bernice Abbott. It had some really neat plans for large and small darkrooms. Does anyone recall the title and authors?
I will second all of the recommendations to do this. I have a temporary one that I just got everything together and haven't printed yet. That is because when I set it up I am not tearing it down for a couple of days. But I do love it.
I don't agree with this at all. I use Paterson RA4 chemistry and it doesn't 'pong' a bit at room temp with normal ventilation. Colour processing at room temp is the same as Black & White except for working in the dark.
Originally Posted by Bob F.
I stand corrected - seems most are low temp and odourless these days. Must give it a try again (being colour blind does not help tho)....
Originally Posted by gbroadbridge
You know, here's how it went for me. I was frustrated with every new digital camera I bought - it just didn't work like my film cameras. Press the shutter, wait 3/4 second, or more, finally the shutter triggers. All to a lovely fake shutter sound. Frustrating, and I felt so, well, dumb.
Originally Posted by snaggs
So I went back to my film cameras - a Wista 4x5, a Mamiya 6mf, a Nikon n70, and an old olympus 35RD. I felt back in control.
Then came the realization that I had a nice photo printer - a high end HP model that would print nice, archival prints (up to 8.5x11). All I needed was a scanner. Bought the scanner.
Started scanning and printing. Realized that the Photoshop elements software that came with the scanner, and the scanner driver software itself, sucked. Bought Photoshop (full blown one, with the full blown price). Bought Vuescan to drive the scanner.
Realized with all this, scanning and photoshopping is boring, wearing on my patience and my carpal tunnels. And no matter how hard I try, the results coming off the scanner from the negatives and slides just, well, suck, compared to the negative and slides themselves.
Realized I needed to invest in a real scanner, like an Imacon or drum scanner, rather than my flatbed scanner, if I wanted those eye popping scans. And, by the way, my B&W prints look *terrible* on the inkjet. I need one that prints real black, without metamerism. And that can print 11x14, or 16x20. DIDN'T BUY THE SCANNER OR THE PRINTER. Instead, bought an enlarger, built a darkroom. Prints scan really nice on a cheap flatbed if I need to upload to APUG...