My suggestion above provides total darkness in my darkroom that has two doors and windows almost the entire length of the room. The sheeting overlaps on to the floor. When I develop film I do it in total darkness with no safelight and when printing my enlarger timer automatically turns off the safelight during the exposure.
My childhood darkroom was the laundry room. There was a window in the door. That got something (blanket?) hung over it. There was a window in the wall. That got a piece of plywood leaned against it from outside. And I only used it when it was dark outside.
Originally Posted by Necator
It was fine for practical work and learning. I'm sure there would have been issues as a production space. And I can't say whether it would have had issues for fine art prints.
I'm told Weegee sometimes worked out of the trunk of his car.
On a lighter and very serious note, there is some light, one just can't get rid off.
<There are many things in photography that people sweat and fuss over but which ultimately turn out to be moot most of the time. This is not the right profession for worry-warts: their creativity can simply grind to a miserable halt. There are just too many potential technical pitfalls to obsess over: MLU, 1/FL, aperture for best MTF, center post or not, base fog... etc. etc. Best policy is to experiment, establish your own best practices, and go with what works for you.>
I'm with you on this one Keith...
Me too, as long as it is not an excuse to avoid learning and understanding, which eliminates so many unnecessary problems. Let's not confuse serendipity with creativity.
Originally Posted by Mahler_one
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Black is black. I think of a darkroom as the inside of a camera. Would any level of light leak be acceptable? A changing bag for loading film in a daylight processing tank would be safest if the darkroom is not 100% dark.
As others have said, this may eliminate the ability to do some things like tray process. I myself always try for perfection even though its seldom achieved.
So, "Don't slack, make it Black" . It is not that hard to do and you only have to do it once.
One trick to use when jury rigging a darkroom is the application of rubylith masking film to windows and other light sources that you cannot permanently block. Rubylith film is basically just a large filter that blocks the wavelengths to which your photo paper is sensitive. For instance, I have a small window in the basement where my darkroom is. It would be easy enough to board over it...but it is not my house, so I cannot. Also, it is nice sometimes to not completely block out a light source, but to simply filter it and use it as a safelight. What I did is to coat a pane of Plexiglass with it to make a giant filter, and I wedge this against the window. You can also apply the rubylith directly to a window, if it is your house. I also stuff cracks with aluminum foil. It is cheap, easily formable, and does not require any adhesive.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
I agree, of course. One must learn what matters and what does not.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
When I started b&w, I obsessed over every millidram of each chemical, the temps, vacuuming my bottles etc. Over time I started to sort the technical issues into things that matter a lot, things that matter, and things that don't matter at all... and started to spend time on the former. The whole process then became far more enjoyable.
FWIW I can offer an analogy to sculling, which I used to teach quite regularly. A beginner reluctantly gets into that little scull, has a death grip on the oars and every little ripple throws them into a mad panic. 99% of the coaching boils down to convincing them that the scull wants to stay upright, the water wants to carry them on, and any instability in the rig comes from them and their nervous reactions. So too photography: it's easy to sort out what matters and what doesn't, and if one has an attitude of fretting over the things that ultimately don't matter, then the whole process is less enjoyable. Some people have a remarkable ability to find problems where none exist.
So again, all I am saying is: there are a whole lot of variables at play in the whole process. Perhaps too many to count. If one obsesses over each and every one then one simply won't have time to clear your head and think as freely and creatively as one could.
One could of course say that you might have extra base fog from some minor light leak in your darkroom. But "might" isn't good enough, if you think it's an issue then check it out, it'll take no more than a few minutes to develop a test strip and see. I am not saying take it on faith, I am saying you know damn well how to find out if it matters, so just do it and move on.
Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte had the same arrangement (I haven't been in their darkroom in ten years so this may no longer be true). I prefer this to the revolving doors that we had at Delmar and Appalachian State because those often resulted in unexpected collisions.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
...or what part of dark do you not understand?
Originally Posted by fotch
I would also suggest a furnace filter built into the intake for the room. Everywhere light can leak in (with the exception of a window) dust can follow especially if there is suction. Dust, pet hair, etc. do not make for pretty negatives or prints.