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  1. #1

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    Darkroom advice for a beginner

    Tomorrow I am going back to school to study A-Levels, one of mine is Photography It's the first year the course will be run and the school seems to have really made an effort, they've converted the old DT rooms into a Photography classroom (I haven't had a proper look yet but I think there might be a kind of studio too). Anyway one of the new additions for Photography that has really got me looking forward to the course is the lovely new Darkroom On Friday I managed to go in and get a short tour by one of the Art teachers. Unfortunately I'm sure they haven't yet got all the equipment to go in the darkroom, I expected to see lots of various bits of equipment and a string or some kind of rack to dry the prints, however there was just one small sink and one large sink which I assumed was for the trays.

    As I am a complete beginner I have no idea what should be in a darkroom, I'm sure I will get taught this but I would like to hear from some of you first to get some information and knowledge about what I should expect to find in there when it's all set up, and also a short explanation of what purpose all the different bits of equipment have if that's possible.

    One last question, when I went into the darkroom and turned the light off, I noticed that a fire exit sign had been fitted on the inside and it had a quite bright green LED light, a safelight is meant to be red right? So surely the green sign will ruin any film?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    James

    My 500px Profile --> http://500px.com/James_EG

  2. #2
    fotch's Avatar
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    A darkroom cannot have a lighted exit sign because it would no longer be a darkroom.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by fotch View Post
    A darkroom cannot have a lighted exit sign because it would no longer be a darkroom.
    That's what I thought, thanks for the reply. I will ask the teacher about it and see if it can be switched off.
    James

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  4. #4
    Truzi's Avatar
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    There is probably some sort of safety requirement for lighted exit signs. So long as they use light that is safe for paper you should be ok, though I don't think green would be safe. The university I attended had red safe-lights in the darkroom, but there was a small room, more like a walk-in closet, for loading film on the developing reels. This was completely dark (no safe-lights) but was so small there was no mistaking how to exit.

    Make sure you eat before entering the darkroom. In my undergraduate I took a photography class, and I became "lost" in the darkroom - enjoying it so much I always lost track of time. My jeans would be noticeably more loose by the time I left to return to my dorm room.
    Truzi

  5. #5
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    A lit EXIT sign is mandatory in public spaces such as a communal darkroom. Hopefully the school as separate small "film rooms" in which the light can be turned off when loading or developing film.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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    tape a red gel film in front of the exit sign if it cannot be shut down/covered. That should do the trick.

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    James, regarding your other questions, the thread linked below includes some beginner-level darkroom resources from Kodak and Ilford. The various publications can give you the basics of what equipment is required to develop film and make prints in a darkroom, darkroom design/lighting, etc.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum216/...resources.html

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all of your replies, there was actually another room before I got into the darkroom with no lights that was very small, like Truzi said similar to a walk in closet. I didn't think it was related but that must be what it's for! The door into it does have a small window but that could be easily covered with black paper or something. Michael R 1974 - thanks for the link, I will read through it!
    James

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  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    James:

    You are in for a lot of fun!

    Darkrooms can vary greatly - I have worked in everything from my current converted for temporary use bathroom through a small 4' x 6' room with no plumbing under a set of stairs to a moderate sized special purpose three room set complete with water temperature controls and all the way to darkrooms supporting an extensive photography department in a large daily newspaper (15+ photographers) shooting black and white film exclusively.

    To get a sense of the variety, I would suggest browsing through the Darkroom Portrait threads and the Bathroom/Temporary Darkroom thread at the top of the Darkroom Equipment subfolder here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/

    Don't get too concerned about the diversity of examples - it just shows the opportunity.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2



 

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