How light tight for print making darkroom
I am nearly through the required tasks to get my darkroom ready for printing.
My question, for a darkroom that is going to be predominatly used for printing only (Film is loaded either in my wardrobe or a daylight bag), how light tight do I need to get the room?
Will the safelight mask any stray light that does make it through?
I have a few pin holes (literally) in my blockout curtain that is letting a bit of light in. Do I need to patch all of them?
It's best to be totally light-tight, you could get sone acrylic black paint and paint over the pinholes, I know it works well because I used it to light proof a Thornton pPickard shutter as well as a Speed Graphic. It'll be absorbed by the material which remains totally flexible.
The paint is cheaper than a small number of ruined prints
good points made by Ian - but .... it's not as vital as it would be for film development. There's all kinds of leaks around my darkroom, none of them are obvious until I've been in there for about 10 minutes - as long as none of them shine directly (or reflect from other surfaces) onto where you will be handling, placing or developing the paper, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. This is all assuming they are not glaringly obvious when you turn out the lights of course!
Agreed...fully light-tight is best. It may seem that a pinhole of light is negligible and may not actually ruin prints, but any unwanted light (even a faulty or incorrect safelight) could potentially affect the quality of your work.
And, no, a safelight definitely has no effect in masking or cancelling-out any other light.
One point to bear in mind is that if the blackout material has developed pin-holes in 6 months to a year there will be many more
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Ahhh, the pin holes are from my bad sewing skills! I went in there a few moments ago (its around 20:30 at the moment) and the pin holes are not noticable. The other side of the dark room I can see a lot of light getting through the door jam. I am deciding whether that side needs a curtain as well, or whether I can get away with some adhesive insertion foam in the gap or all the house lights off (my dark room time is typically going to be after dark.).
Just waiting for the kids to go to bed, then all the lights are going out and I will sit and wait for half an hour or so (or until the Turkey GP starts!!!).
I do, though, think I need to consider some more permanent arrangements, especially if I want to work during the day. Hopefully this works as a good stop gap for now.
Last edited by hoffy; 06-07-2009 at 07:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: proof reading!!!
I have often wondered if, instead of blackout material, using a red gel sheet over windows etc. would work for an enlarging only darkroom.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Less than you think it has to be. When I print color at my school I noticed that there is a fair amount of light filtering in from above. It's enough to actually see what you're doing once you're adjusted. I haven't had a any fogging problems, granted that I don't leave the paper out. Don't get too worked up about it.
EDIT paper is fairly slow. If you're loading film you want dark dark dark dark darkness. Other than that, if you can clearly see the paper that you're holding after a few minutes to adjust (20 maybe) I would consider blocking out more light. Then add a red safelight if you're doing B+W work.
Last edited by tiberiustibz; 06-07-2009 at 07:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I've a not very light tight darkroom. A piece of carpet blocks
Originally Posted by hoffy
the door bottom when film processing. Film is loaded behind
a counter partition and sees little light from other small
sources. Body blocking is used to shade the film while
loading. Exterior light levels are kept low.
For prints none of the above precautions are taken.
The paper is not left long emulsion side up. Dan
We recently had a series of threads about pro darkrooms from the 70s and 80s on filmwasters. Neil Slavin had red plastic windows in his - see here for details.