Here in Minneapolis we have IFP-MSP, a group that provides "public" darkroom space. $70/year(ish) if you're a student.
It's over on University near 280.
Also, MCP on 13th st in NordEast will be opening their darkroom in the spring.
For processing film all you need is a changing bag and a Jobo processor (could use a Paterson or similar daylight tank + a bowl of hot water, but the Jobo comes in use again later), plus graduates, thermometer, stirring rod etc. These you can use with plenty of ventilation: outside in the garden if you wanted, so no problem with chemical odours. You load the film into the Jobo reel and put the reel in to the drum inside the changing bag: no need to sit in the dark at all.
For printing you need space for an enlarger with a colour head - a large closet will do - the bathroom is traditional! In total darkness you expose the print and then load it into a Jobo print drum. That's the total amount of time needed in the dark. Lights on, open the windows for ventilation and pour and dump the chemicals in to the Jobo drum at the right times (if you get a Jobo with a lift, this is easier and more accurate to time.
As all the processing chemicals are inside the drums or in capped bottles except when pouring & dumping them (and you can have as much ventilation as you like during this time) and you are operating in daylight for everything except the actual paper exposure, its all much more civilised than using smelly trays in total darkness.
Chemicals can go in a lockable box - you only need about 1 - 2 square feet of shelf space.
Cost? Check previous auctions on eBay for Jobo CPE-2 (go to the Advanced Search section - it allows you to select 'Completed Auctions Only'). Ditto colour enlargers. Although your details say you shoot 35mm, I'd suggest at least a 6x6cm enlarger - 4x5 inch if you can afford it and have the space these beasts take up (and can source one locally - too big to ship halfway across the States!). The whole lot, Jobo with a 6x6cm enlarger and assorted odds and sods can be had for about 200GBP on ebay UK - probably about 300USD given that these things are generally cheaper in the US.
Good luck! Cheers, Bob.
I find colour [C-41 and RA-4] easier then B&W.
You don't need a processor. The same Jobo tanks will work on a motor. For the water bath my setup is a coleman cooler. A fish heater. Works just fine. It's no more work then a Jobo processor. It keeps temps in control just fine.
I'd take the money saved on the processor and get something like the colorstar 3000. My last one cost me $67 used.
My start up time with colour is longer then B&W but that's all waiting for the bath to heat up to temp. My clean up time is much less. The setup needs less room then my B&W setup. In the space I'd put two trays I've got basically everything for colour. Colour also seems cheaper [paper and chemicals] then B&W. But it's not much of a difference.
doc bob, what is up with that wall paper?
Originally Posted by dr bob
We're just about the opposite in that respect -- I'm much more at ease planting myself in at 8th and Nicollet Mall at noon than I would ever be out in the refuges.
Originally Posted by anyte
Although, I would love to get some shots of the egrets and herons next year. Have you found a good place to shoot the big waterfowl?
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Thank you Clint, Bob, and Nick for the input. I'm getting what I need bit by bit and soon will take the big plunge into developing my own slides and prints.
I've been told the MN Valley Nat'l Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Bloomington provides a lot of photographic opportunities - they have an observation platform. The address is 3815 E 80th St. in Bloomington. Further south, off 169 & 101, is the Wilkie Unit. There is a large nesting colony of Great Blue Herons there. The area is closed from March through August. Out here in Carver (Chaska Unit) and Jordan (MN Valley State Rec and Louisville Swamp) I regularly see Great Blues, Egrets, American Pelicans, Killdeer, and I've seen large numbers of Double Crested Comorants. On a rare and considerably lucky occassion I have seen a Green Heron.
Originally Posted by zenrhino