Here's a pic of my printing area with nothing but the safelight. Note that you can easily read the clock on the wall.
Analog photography is the most peaceful and rewarding way I've found to fulfill my need to create. I hope it does the same for you.
Good luck to you.
Last edited by largely; 12-09-2012 at 04:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest"........Paul Simon
It doesn't sound like you are going to be setting up a darkroom any time soon. Send your stuff out and concentrate on the shooting end of photography at first. Learn your cameras. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for developing tanks and a dark bag or tent. Once you are ready to tackle film developing, only your hands need to be in the dark to load the film, then the tank lets you develop with all the lights on. You can scan the negs, or have them printed. Once you've got that under your belt, and have connected with local photographers you can decide if you want to tackle a darkroom and printing. I love working in the darkroom (the isolation, my own little space) but there are lots of folks here on APUG who just shoot film for the love of it, and stay away from the chemical side of things.
For color film, take that to a Walgreens or Walmart and ask them to process only and then make you a CD. That will give you digital photos to work with. In the long run, economically you might be better off with an inexpensive point & shoot camera such as a Canon S95 or cheaper. Meanwhile, shooting b&w in old cameras is a lot of fun.
Kent in SD
While I love the dark, I also use an IR goggle. You don't need that kind of expense right now, but they are within reach these days... Back in the old days the technology was outrageously expensive. Now good ones are just a few hundred bucks, or for under a hundred if you get a "toy".
Hi Jack -- Welcome to APUG!
I hope you enjoy your first real foray into film! In all honesty, I think, as others as have said, probably the best thing for you to do now would be:
1. Learn your new cameras, and send the film out for developing. If things go wrong, your own development mistakes would be less one variable.
2. Once you are set up in your new place, consider developing yourself. This used to itimidate me, but it's really easy. I've been developing my own film since 2007 (any surprise that's when I joined APUG?) and I have always loaded my film in a changing bag. Most places I've lived have made it impossible to have a completely dark room, and to be honest, I get nervous when trying to do things in complete darkness, so prefer the changing bag. Just make sure you get a big one -- smaller ones can be awkward and heat up quickly!
3. Working in a darkroom is a lot of fun, but you'll have to determine whether the safelights are enough for you to feel comfortable. If not, there's nothing wrong with having a hybrid workflow (off-topic for APUG, but a lot of people do it here).
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
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I know about phobia... I'm severely clausterphobic. I can't get into some small darkroom because of that.
There's an easy remedy for your problem though. To process film, the only part that require complete darkness is when you open the film canister and load it into a development tank. You can do that in a changing bag (I think that's what it's called) which is like a giant light proof long sleeve t-shirt with the body opening closed shut. You stick your hand into the sleeve backwards. Inside remains dark and you open the canister and wind the film into dark by just touch. You, on the other hand, remain in a lit area. Once that's done, everything can be done in a lit room. When you get to a stage where you are going to print your images, you can get a pretty bright safe light. It's a bit expensive but there are some that are quite bright, almost like night light bright. It's called "Thomas safelight" and you can buy them second hand. It's so incredibly bright. So there are ways around your problem.
This is what chagne bag looks like:
You'll find APUG forum and members are usually quite helpful and willing to help you in more ways than you'll encounter on a typical Internet forum. We have members sharing "stuff" if someone needed an obscure part to fix something. Personally, I've given away some of my stuff and also received some. Also, we communicate via personal messages if something cannot be/should not be discussed openly. Stick around and you'll enjoy it.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Just in case you missed it, two of your three cameras (the Canon and the Retina) use standard, readily available 35mm film that is still easily developed at a number of locations.
And as for darkroom work, which I enjoy thoroughly, I started working in a darkroom over 4 decades ago, at age 11. I say this to give you confidence that it can be done.
“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
Welcome, Jack. Your name just made this website more cool.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
I can't wait to yell hi to you in an airplane. Badumpa!
Welcome to APUG.
Loading and developing black and white film can be done with you completely in the light. Only the film needs to be in total darkness.
Here's a series of four videos that totally demonstrate the process. The guy in the video is a little creepy, but the info is ok.
Welcome Jack! You should grab a few books and get started with black and white, its really quite affordable when you develop and print yourself. I recommend H. Horenstein's a Basic Manual to black and white photography. There are tons of copies in libraries, and for cheap used on amazon. It covers much of the basics of cameras, developing, and printings, and good examples of each. There are many more great books such as beyond monochome, or the edge of darkness, that you should take a look at too if your in the same area in the library.
Plus you can always come here to ask any questions you have as well!