Well I guess the question says it all. :>)

Actually I have discovered or perhaps learned three important things that I wish to share with you and am getting a bit lazy about waiting for an appropriate thread to post them to. So here are the tips for everybody.

The first is that I am frequently emailed about how to seal leaky Unicolor paper drums when developing film. Like most of use that use this technique (Unicolor drums) I have tried a few different methods with limited success. The second to last thing I tested was adding a second gasket (polished ring) to the inside of the drum lid. It not only did not work but made it almost impossible to close the lid. This surprised me a bit that the tolerances of the lid/gasket combination are so fine for a leaky lid. I then completely removed the shiny ring (gasket) and also the rubber under ring (another gasket) and smeared a very, very thin coat of clear silicone around the perimeter before where the rubber gasket sits.

Problem cured! This drum has continued to work for the last three months without a single leak. You do need to be careful about how much silicon you spread because it takes the thinnest of coats to make this work. I used a cheap painter’s water brush (like kids use) which I trimmed down to just very short bristles to smear the silicone around. The lid is quite tight to twist on but not so tight that I am worried that I might break it. In fairness I believe that somebody else had previously posted an answer like this but I wanted to add a bit of detail so others will have an answer where I can point them.

The next trick that I learned was that I had a new Gitzo CF tripod that had one of the rubber grips come loose from the carbon fiber. I was looking and asking for “glue suggestions” that would work and would also have a long enough open working time so that I could manipulate the rubber ring back into place before everything dried. The Unicolor drum gave me the answer. That damn silicone sticks to everything and most of you would know that if you have ever caulked a window or bathtub surround. So I used clear silicone and it worked like a charm. A perfect and cheap product for attaching loose rubber like photography parts back on to metal of carbon fiber and perhaps other materials. The fix has been there for two months without a problem.

The final thing I wish to share is a new toning technique I discovered this week. I have began to teach a fall session in photography and wanted to display to the students some photographs that have different degrees of toning as well as toning different grades of the same print.

I thought about the work ahead that I would need to do in order to present the various combinations I wanted to do. After a bit of contemplation I realized the obvious. Make test strips of the photo with different paper grade settings. I also made test strips of the negative with different amounts of exposures. Now I just finished toning the test strips and the students can now see all of the variables and the effects.

In the future I will use this to help me determine how much added exposure and perhaps if I wish to use a different paper grade to tone a fine print that I wish to keep. Much easier than printing, developing and toning individual prints until the combination is correct.

Well sorry for the long post but I am hoping that there are some valuable tips for others. Perhaps you can append to this any little tips and tricks you have learned this year.

Kind Regards,