Using Nova processor in complete dark
I had my first session with my nova clubmate (4 slots), and faced difficulties while plunging the paper in the successive slots.
In total darkness, with a 12x16 paper, when I raise the paper and move it forward to the next slot, it is hard to estimate when the paper is right above it, because the paper is wide and a bit floating, and it's not possible to check the position or guide the paper with a hand, as both hands are holding the handles.
As a result, two times the paper went directly from the dev slot to the blix slot, instead of the stop bath (on this subject, do you think the dev-polluted blix should not be reused ?)
I was thinking of building a kind of guide, that I would move to alternatively cover the slots...
I'm also thinking of sticking phosphorescent strips between the slots, but I'm afraid that the light of these strips would be visible on the paper...
How do you, Nova users, manage to accomplish this in the complete dark ?
Another question, how do you count the time, without a free hand to activate the timer, do you use an expansive timer with footswitch ?
Thanks for your help.
Why total darkness? If its B&W paper then this is completely unnecessary. The safelight can be quite bright and if it's RA4 then the safelight can also be quite bright if it's a sodium light like a DUKA or I think Thompson in the U.S.
Failing that a dark green colour safelight will give you enough light to see the Nova sufficiently well to move the paper from one slot to the next.
I have a DOKU sodium safelight that is actually safe with colour materials providing the light is not direct. I also have small adhesive spots on the edge which show where the different chemical baths are, however with the safelight these are not visible to be of any use. There has never been a problem with them. Although I cannot see them the light would show on the papers if they were bright enough, but they aren't. I also use my left hand to guide the paper into the next slot, although to be safe I wear a surgical glove when I do this to stop my skin being affected with the chemicals.
I have a repeating count down timer which I start immediately after immersing the paper into the slots. As soon as the beeper starts I take the paper out and slide it into the stop bath slot. A couple of seconds will not make any difference. Stopping the timer resets it to 45 seconds.
After picking it out of the first slot, let go of one end of the paper while raising the other end, and let the chemical drain back into the first slot via the lowered corner of the paper. Then, using the free hand, guide that corner of the paper into the second slot, then assisting it, get the paper level again as it is lowered.
Don't have one although I have thought of buying one, anyway, since you in complete darkness, I cannot imagine any other method.
I use a Nova. Put the paper in the dev slot with it's back towards the other slots. As you lift out the paper with the paper-clip thing, slide the back of the paper against the sharp edge of plastic, in order to squeegee a little of the chemical off. Tilt it a little in order to drain from a corner if you wish. As the paper comes over the edge of the lip you will feel it drop in to the next slot, insert and agitate as normal - practice in the light! Nitrile gloves (I always use them for RA4) are a backup in case you need to 'rescue' the paper in some way but, in principle, you don't need to get your hands wet.
If you have a process timer of some sort, or a couple of cheap separate kitchen-timers then you can set them to go five seconds before you need to remove the paper. So.... bleeeeeep, stop the timer, start the next one, all the time mentally counting to five, lift the paper, lower the paper, agitate as required, wait for the next bleeeeeep.
Alternatively, buy/make a timer with a footswitch - timers are popular electronic-kits so a visit to your local electronics hobby-store will set you up with a kit (or two), some cable and a footswitch. This assumes that you are happy soldering or know a tame hobbyist of course.
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When working without a safelight, I find that examination gloves are easier to use than tongs.
I had assumed RA4 process from the mention of BLIX...
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
When I have done RA4, I used a small LED safelight that emitted a yellow(ish) light. Adjusted for a faint glow sufficient to illuminate a small area, I found it adequate for what I was doing. RH Designs do several models, including one for colour work - Quite possible that there is an equivalent product in the USA..
Jobo use to have safelites for color paper.
Originally Posted by paul_c5x4
Thank you all for your responses. Indeed I'm talking about processing RA4. These RH safelight would be fine and are inexpensive (compared with the DUKA ones which seems to have a more suited spectrum, but for which spare bulbs are expensive). But according to Kodak these LED have an impact on colour paper (http://motion.kodak.com/motion/Suppo...ion/page33.htm).
Originally Posted by paul_c5x4
I wlready tried to raise the paper and slide the back of the paper against the sharp edge of plastic, but then I don't feel the paper falling into the next slot, maybe because it's 12x16 and it's wet and it then has a kind of motion inertia.
However, I will try to hold the paper with one hand and guide it with the other one.
OP, you haven't said this but I assume that in the U.S. in your own particular circumstances any kind of safelight is too expensive for you which I can understand but is a pity.
If you have decided that colour print processing is for you and will be a full part of your set-up then unless you believe that total darkness is convenient for you, I would suggest that over the long term the price of a safelight might worthwhile but of course this can only be your decision.
My DUKA lamp was also quite expensive when bought in 2004 in the U.K. and RA4 processing isn't a major part of my darkroom work but if I had to work in total darkness to do RA4 then frankly I'd give it up but maybe I find total darkness much worse than you which is fine
I wish you well in working in total darkness