Advice regarding darkroom setup
Hi, I've decided to set up a darkroom, however, the only options with regard to space is the bathroom (which is very new and I'm renting) which I'm hesitant to use in case the chemicals stain anything, and a small shed out the back.
So unfortuantely it's looking like I need to lightproof the shed and use that.
So....is it possible to use a space that doesn't have running water?
There's also no fan.
Can it be done?
That can be done, although it certainly makes things alot more difficult. The other thing is in a stand-alone shed, without running water, it could be quite difficult to avoid large temperature swings.
I worked for years without running water in my home darkroom, although I did have a laundry sink a few feet away from the door.
It's not that difficult, as long as you have some place suitable for washing.
If your bathroom is easy to make dark, you can consider using that location for work that requires absolute darkness, and your shed for the rest.
“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
Shouldn't be too hard to light-proof a shed, you can even put in a cheap laundry sink and run the drain out into the yard, use a garden hose for water source. You can always run a heavy duty cord out for power.
Do you have wahser & dryer hookups?
If you are the big tree, we are the small axe
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There's power in the shed, but no water, no taps or anything.
I was thinking I could use the garden hose, although what temperature does the wash need to be at?
Last night I read of a few people who put the prints in a cooler and then when they were finished printing took it to the laundry to wash. Hmmmm....I may be able to use the laundry....interesting......
Re: temperature changes, you're right, there probably would be large swings, but I have a couple of heaters stored in there which may help things.
I didn't think of the laundry...there's running water...it's pretty small...I could use a small table to put the trays on for dev, stop and fix... interesting indeed.
Thanks for the brain storming.
This is done in a shed. Power, no water or drain.
I don't need huge amounts of hot water. Nothing an electric kettle can't handle.
I usually wash prints and film in the house laundry area.
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Very nice setup there Graham.
I converted a small bedroom in my house to my permanent darkroom. Getting water to it was no problem. I had hot and cold supply plumbed in from the hot water heater, up through the attic, across the hall and down the wall into my darkroom.
Drainage was similar, but in reverse. I have a drain pump that pumps effluent from my sink up through the attic and over to my clothes washer utility room where it ties into the sewer. You might look into a solution like that if your shed is not too far from the house. My pump is a Zoeller 105-0010 model 53, around $500 installed, if I recall.
Lack of plumbing isn't that big of an issue as long as you have a convenient access near by. My darkroom is in a spare bedroom. It has no sink but I have a bathroom very close-by. For print washing, I go to my garage where print washier is hooked up to an outside bib.
As to venting air.... I mix all of my chemicals in bathroom with a vent. I do toning outside. Usual B&W chemical doesn't produce offensive smell that much. Again, it would be nice but it hasn't been an issue for me.
You can easily do film processing in sink and it does not require a darkroom. The only portion you need darkness is loading of film into a tank. I bought a bunch of black "contractor cleaning bag" from home improvement center. This is a thick black giant garbage bag. Two layers of this stuff efficiently and completely blocks light. I have been using this stuff for two years in hot Florida climate and it has been fine. Maybe you can use something like that to lightproof your shed.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
A note on the W/D hookups... you can very easily plumb your laundry room so that your washing machine remains undisturbed while also having a darkroom sink. I had to pioneer this in my rental home.
You need 2 "Y-hoses", 4 normal hoses and 4 male-to-male couplers. Basically you split the hot & cold lines with the Y-hoses, sending a pair to the washer and a pair to your darkroom sink. For the sink, I bought a $20 utility sink from Ace and chopped off the legs so that it would fit on a table. The sink has a Y-faucet to bring the lines together and to control temperture and then a normal "garden hose" faucet takes care of on & off. Run the drain to the stand-pipe, ideally fitting both the washer & the sink's drain in there (might take some doing).
If you are the big tree, we are the small axe