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  1. #171
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Here's a couple pics of my newly constructed portable darktent for doing wetplate collodion in the field.

    The tent frame is constructed of inexpensive pvc pipe and the fabric is lightproof blackout curtain material. Lots of Velcro surrounds the removable inner and outer front doors. I've included an optional shelf scavenged from a cheap modular shelving unit and also have rigged in a paper towel rack. Since these pics were taken, I've also added a removable 12" x 18" red acrylic window in the ceiling. It is very bright inside due to the light tone of the fabric. I can also cover the window with a small piece of the blackout fabric and it becomes a nice darkroom for loading ULF film holders in the field. It also makes a nice big reflector for doing portraits.

    The tent measures about 45" wide x 45" deep x 75" high, and eats Harrison changing tents for breakfast. It is roomy and comfortable to stand in. It takes about ten minutes to set-up or tear down. Several of the frame pieces are different diameters and nest inside one another for transport. The disassembled frame fits easily within a Calumet light panel frame bag and the fabric fits a small duffle. For transport, the window (and an 8x10 tray) velcroes to the lightweight shelf.

    I used it two days ago for the first time on location and it functioned well. I will probably add a large zipper to the front door to make access a bit easier.

    Joe
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails frame_02.jpg   Darktent_open.jpg  

  2. #172
    kwmullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
    A darkroom with a fireplace. I like that.
    I wonder if the light from a small fire in the fireplace would function as a safelight? Hrm...

    -KwM-

  3. #173

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    I don't think it would be a problem when I'm printing carbon. Tha lights in the cealing are already yellow bug lights cor carbon already. It might even help when drying tissues. Just too much trouble to move everything to build one, besides I have one in the livingroom and bedroom if I want one.

  4. #174
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Just don't try to do wet plates when there's a fire in the fireplace...

    Hey, Smieglitz, has it occurred to you that you could probably sell portable darkrooms like that one for several hundred dollars apiece? Not to me -- I don't got that kinda money, and I'm on a first name basis with PVC anyway (right, Poly?) -- but there are lots of ULF photographers who a) find a Harrison too small, and b) seem to have far too much money they're trying to get rid of...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  5. #175
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Oh, and what I came here for. I finally managed to remember to take a few pictures of my darkroom when it was set up.

    I use the larger bathroom (we have 1 3/4 baths in the house we rent), with a simple slip-in window cover, weatherstrip and matt-board baffling around the door, and a towel to cover the gap under the door. A piece of scrap "engineered lumber", lifted from the dumpster during construction of the house next door, converts one of the twin sinks to counter space for three 8x10 trays, and another tray under the bathtub faucet provides print holding, then in rotation with a second, washing.

    The Omega D2V (pictured here with 50 mm f/3.5 El Rodagon installed) sits on a kitchen cart and wheels nicely in and out of the narrow bathroom door, as well as snugly fitting the space between the commode and bathtub. Safelight is via a 50 year old red bulb in a brand new (as of a few weeks ago) reflector clamp fixture attached to one of the shelves I put in to clear bathroom stuff of the counter around the sinks (no medicine cabinet?!); not bright, but adequate most of the time (and, I've recently discovered, bright enough to very lightly fog my RC paper if I have it out for a long time while recutting to smaller sizes, with the light shining directly on the work area so I can read a ruler).

    Under the enlarger, on the lower shelves of the cart, you can see my paper safe (3-shelf 8x10, will hold 100 sheets on each shelf -- cost me $10 when a local camera store closed the lab, but the paper inside was thoroughly fogged, panchromatic, or RA-4 type -- turned black in the Dektol). Below that is a snap-lid storage tub the holds negative carriers, lenses on boards or cones, spare cones and boards, etc., and leaves room for trays to stack when stored. Behind the paper safe are my two contact printing frames, set of Kent Printing Masks (about 50 years old, precision cut red construction paper to make neat, even borders on contact prints of various sizes), and storage for the safelight and extension cord.

    There are two power strips; one distributes power to the cold light head heater and the other power strip, the second acts as an accessible switch that can handle the current draw of the cold light. Exposure timing is by counting seconds (one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, etc.), or by stopwatch if longer than about a minute, while hand holding acetate lighting filters under the lens for split filtering. Development timing uses the same stopwatch, actually the stopwatch function of a wrist watch I can no longer wear due to a broken spring pin socket.

    My total cash outlay for this conversion, not counting the enlarger and other equipment that will be useful in my next darkroom, was about $20 -- foam core and matt board for the window cover, weatherstrip for the door, and about 1/2 roll of black masking tape used to assemble stuff.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PICT0152-web.JPG   PICT0153-web.JPG   PICT0154-web.JPG  
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  6. #176
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Qualls
    Just don't try to do wet plates when there's a fire in the fireplace...
    BOOM! Gotcha.

    Hey, Smieglitz, has it occurred to you that you could probably sell portable darkrooms like that one for several hundred dollars apiece? ...
    My mind doesn't work that entrepeneurial way. That's why I'm a starving artist.
    :rolleyes:

    Actually I probably have about $175 in material costs into it (cheap pvc pipe but lots of pricier fittings, the fabric, shelf, lots of velcro and contact cement, acrylic) not counting the labor. The frame was easy and quick but the fabric labor was considerable.

    Still, it comes in a lot cheaper than a Harrison and I can't imagine loading 11x14 or 8x20 holders for my cameras in one of those.

    It is also very kewl looking through the large red plexi window at the world. It is a giant contrast filter.

    I've also been kicking around the idea of covering the window and doing some camera obscura pinhole photography with it. Multi-tasking.

    I also came up with a design for a new wetplate accessory and am getting a materials/fabrication quote at a local shop. That item might be somewhat marketable and I presume once I unveil it every modern (non-reenactor) wetplate photographer should want one. That should immediately create a market for 5 or 6 units.

    :o

    Joe

  7. #177
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    Nice Idea

  8. #178
    Calamity Jane's Avatar
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    Just posted a tour of my new darkroom fer any what's interested http://www.geocities.com/winnonad/newdarkroom/nd1.html

    (If the bandwidth is maxed out, try again later - I'm too cheap to PAY fer extra!)

  9. #179
    Curt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oriecat
    Wow, those are nice. I better not check out this thread too much or I will come to hate mine. It's just in the basement, not closed away from the rest of it. So I just have two benches, one dry, one wet and some shelves and a utility sink. Totally beginner darkroom 101.
    What does it matter, your doing it right? I used a bathroom to get through collage and the professsors didn't know the diff. It's what you think and that you actually do it that counts. Not your space.
    Curt

  10. #180
    panchromatic's Avatar
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    A little update on my darkroom... Its about 90% done. Walls are up and complete, 1 of 3 counters are up. Sink and water lines are in and work. Electric is in and working. New enlarger is waiting to be built into one of the counters(omega d6!) All I need to do is put the other two counters in, and finish light proofing (I got about 3 small leaks that expandable foam should take care of) I even tapped into the air conditioning/heater duct and have a vent. I'll have to post pictures soon. I'm sooooo excited i haven't done any printing or developing (exception of color at my work) in about 4 months so I have like 15 rolls of film and some sheet film!
    --Ryan

    "The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." ~Ansel Adams



 

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