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I miss the stink

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Old 12-08-2005, 05:27 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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I miss the stink

I was cleaning my coffeepot this morning (1/3 vinegar, 2/3 cold water, run once) when I caught a whiff of steam and was instantly reminded of Kodak Indicator Stop Bath, and of the alchemal wonderland that was a real (non-digital) darkroom. There used to be a nerd mystique to photography. It required mastery of the dark, and arcane chemistries. I guess its just about as much possible to do all this today, but now it seems more anachronistic than anything else. Perhaps even semi-luddite. And a lot of the best (ie: most harmful to your health) smells have long been banished for our own good: the ammonia of the fixer, the acetic acid of the stop bath, and the unmistakably acrid yet wonderful fumes of Dektol.

They say no other sense is so directly tied to memory as smell. So why do we try so hard to get rid of it? Or perhaps that IS why.
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Old 12-08-2005, 10:33 AM
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D76 where are you now!
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Old 12-08-2005, 12:48 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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And do not forget the rather light skin color of those of us that worked in the dark for 8 hours a day!

And if you had a really bad hangover, working in the dark was really nice for your eyes.......
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:09 PM
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I swear I got so I could actually see in pitch dark. I'd know exactly where something was, reach out, and there it was. And I loved the glow of the ember safelight, too. I once visited a medical darkroom where they had a very expensive safelight that was incredibly bright but issued such a narrow spectrum of light it was still safe. It wasn't nearly as fun as my own little dim beacon.
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Old 12-08-2005, 06:20 PM
rondon rondon is offline
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all lit up

I used a Dark room for awhile in my teens .. never very well but your sensitive night vision reminded me of something that happened not long after.

I was relieved of night watch and made my way back to my tent during monsoon in the dark and was marveling at how well I could see in the darkness. once in the tent I made my way to my corner (big tent) and as I turned on the light I realized I could even see outlines inside the tent.

The light didn't work so I felt around and opened my cupboard for my flashlight. The world exploded in white blinding light, I was still standing so I tried to knock down the fire that seemed to hang in the air after the blast!

Then I heard laughter... Some one had wired one of those large flashbulbs to ignite as I opened the cupboard. I could still see the glow as I fell asleep some time later.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:23 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Ok, you guys brought back the memories, so here goes......

When I first got glasses, I found that even if I was working in total darkness (with film or color printing) I had to wear the glasses. I would loose my sense of balance if I took them off, even tho I could not see anything. Told that to the eye doc once, he just about threw me out of his office......

The really bright safelights where made by Thomas. I introduced them to a lab I was working in and the boss was a real oldtimer that believed a 15W bulb in a safelite was good for any size room up to 50 by 50 feet. I will never forget the look on his face when he first saw that Thomas lite. We ended up putting a sheet of paper on a table, covered part of it with the box it came out of, and left it there for 8 hours, then developed it and there was no fog on it. He watched the whole thing and still did not believe it......

One of the first darkrooms I worked in had about 5 or 6 safelights, all could be turned on from one switch. So of couse we opened them all up, took out the screens, replaced the 15W bulbs with the old flash bulbs that were about the same size (and had the same base) of a 100 W light bulb. Then we turned off the white lights and called our victom into the room. As he came through the light trap we kind of casually said, turn on the safe lights, not the whites! The screams could be heard for miles

I could go on but will spare you
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