Despite my major in college I ended up no pursuing photography as a living. I found that I really only enjoyed shooting for myself and not for professors, or clients Photography was still a major interest of mine though, and the beauty of the southwest desert constantly called to me. But between the limits of rental housing and the lack of local supplies - and the fact that most of my photos were shared on-line rather than in person...it just made sense to shoot digital. I still yearned for good old Silver Halide and vowed to one day setup a darkroom once again when I owned my own house. Meeting and marrying a woman who also has a love for photography and traditional darkroom practices only made that vow seem all the more likely to come to fruition.
When a local couple opened up a camera store that included a darkroom section - I knew the time had come! I picked up some fresh paper and chemistry that day and went home to start figuring out how we could make a darkroom happen now that we own our own home!
It's far from ideal....and not as specialized as my first darkroom. But it's ours and will only continue to get better now that we're enjoying shooting film again!
Our house has a 3rd bedroom which was an addition and is only accessible through the laundry room. It has only one window (and a dog door) and it's own A/C unit. We have plans to expand the room at some point in the future and those plans now include a bathroom that will have some special features allowing it to double as a darkroom. But for now we have a temporary setup that is functional.
Some aluminum foil and aluminum tape took care of the one window. The doors had almost 2" gaps under them - so a little bit of wood working and a good amount of weather strip was required to get them light tight:
The tiny laundry room had two lights for some reason...which never made sense before. But now works out perfect with one converted into a safelight. I have to finish wiring it - but a bathroom fan was added that exhausts through the water heat closet to an old unused dryer vent:
My durst was setup on an available table (I'd like it higher but my wife prefers working while sitting. Someday I'll make an adjustable table to please us both.)
And a small piece of counter top was installed next to the wash tub to make room for some trays...it's a tight squeeze...and I only had 2 trays so we had to improvise for the stop and wash:
It worked well enough that the next weekend we did some upgrades. A used cabinet was bought at a local thrift shop for $15. We painted it and the laundry room, hung some peg board over the sink, hung a spare timer on the wall and had a much nicer though still cramped setup ready to go:
My wife is a copy editor at the local paper and mentioned our darkroom project in her blog. On a slow news day the paper ended up running it as a story and we've been contacted by some local people with equipment they no longer want. While I still have my D-II back in Ohio in my parents basement...it will be a few years until I drive a U-haul with it and the rest of our old furniture out here. So we picked up a used 23C-II from a local couple.
Oddly though it only had a 6x6 neg carrier and a 50mm lens. So I'm waiting for my old 90mm lens to be shipped from Ohio before I can do much printing.
Since getting back to film I decided I don't want to shoot 35mm much anymore. My wife has an old Rolleicord that used to belong to her grandfather that we've been using, and I have a Lubitel 166 which has managed to surprise me with what it's capable of. I also bought myself a used Bronica ETRS - but it has a problem with the darkslide/shutter interlock so I'm looking for another body now.
It's good to be back and I look forward to becoming a part of the community here!