How Much Light Tight to Handle Color Paper?
To handle color print paper, does it have to 100% light tight? My darkroom is in the basement with 4 small windows (about 1'x2' size). I only work at night. I can seal the window that closes to my work area, even the other two. The last window is far away.
I mainly just take out color paper from bag and put it down at the enlarger. I can put the color paper in change bag.
I did not have any problem with B&W printing.
I have a 'color filter' in one safelight that I use when I print RA-4 color.
It is dark greenish and I think is a mid 70's afga product. It is fed light by a 15w incandecscant bulb. I bounce it off of the white ceiling tile roof of the darkroom, so the distance to where I feed the roller processor is about 6'.
Mostly I use glow in the dark tape bits on the corners of stuff to orient myself after the white lights go out.
The safelight is just a dull glow if you look at it right after the white lights are doused, and helps you to figure which way you are turned.
After about 20-25 minutes under its illumination my eyes start to perceive the shape of things in the room, and maybe a hint of (false) colour. I have never had a problem with it flashing paper that has been exposed all as a bunch, and then is sitting around waiting for me to feed it it intot he roller processor. I have not tried a more definitive test of this safe light.
So in your basement, I would suggest getting set up with some glow in the dark bits, and set up a radio station you like to listen to. Relax, and after 25 minutes what do you see?
Is is likely to change if someone turns a car around on the street in front of your house, or if the uncovered basement window wells end up with snow in them on a clear winter night?
I play it safe when working with ra-4 paper or panchromatic films. I only got the green filter five years ago. My first 20 years of ep/2 and the ra4 printing were all in the dark until exposed paper was into a daylight processing tube.
my real name, imagine that.
The only light that can go into the basement is from the sky. No street light, no traffic, no neighbors.
I have a Thomas safe light with all the filters, but I never hang it up. I know the darkroom well and I can work in the dark.
My concern is between the time I open the paper box and bag, take out one paper and feed it onto the easel. Then set it up in the print drum. The total time in the darkroom is about 1 minute (exposure time included).
The reason I do not seal off the windows is that, I want some air circulation at the time I'm not in basement.
A black baffle apart from the widow would keep light out but still enable ventilation. But actually a mechanized ventilation should be standard in any darkroom.
a) do you have any problem with your colour paper when printing? If not, it's dark enough.
b) do a proper darkness test, i.e. preflash some paper to midtone, progressively add coins every few minutes and process it. If you see the coin shadows, it's not dark enough.
c) if you can make out any forms in the room, e.g. your hands, it's not dark enough. Seeing a couple of pinpoint light sources after 30s of adjusting is OK in my experience.
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A little light getting in doesn't usually ruin a darkroom. If you are really talking about just a little. I recall a discussion where a photographer thought his attic was dark enough but he would carry the exposed prints across the room from enlarger to trays, and would fog his prints when he walked past the light fixture for the room below, because the can leaked.
Also if the light strikes your eyes, it doesn't necessarily strike the prints. I use black felt curtains to block light out of my darkroom. The other day I was reeling some Plus-X when I noticed one of the curtains wasn't pulled over all the way. I hadn't noticed until my eyes adjusted, then I quickly finished the reel, put it in the tank, closed the lid and inspected the light leak. As I moved around, I realized that from the table level, almost no light came in but at eye level it was plainly visible.
If you have a makeshift darkroom that can't be dark at high noon, you might have to work at night. If you did a good job darkening, you won't see anything except maybe the green glow of a timer or thermometer when you turn off the light switch. Then after your eyes get accustomed to the light, you may see where light gets in.
Moral of the story... A little light is inevitable...
With an uncovered window I'd avoid a clear moonlit sky, especially that period when the moon is from half full onwards but if it has worked in the light or lack of light conditions you have already experienced then that's fine. A thick curtain drawn over the window on curtain rails as you would in a living room can still allow air to get in but prevents light entering as it has difficulty turning corners so as long as the curtain over laps the opening top and bottom and both sides by a few inches I'd think that you are pretty safe
It was a cloudy night and i can see the lighter grey sky out of the open windows. But I could not see my own hands....