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Photography Both digital and film. Discussions about cameras, gear, exposure, technique, and sharing your photography

Experience in the dark

View Poll Results: How much darkroom experience have you had?
Yes, lots, but b/w only 38 22.09%
Lots of b/w and color 22 12.79%
Lots of color only 2 1.16%
I've done it, but not very much 54 31.40%
Never 56 32.56%
Voters: 172. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-20-2002, 11:07 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Grand Junction CO USA
Posts: 676
Thanks to the good old USN, started in 1958, B&W, then on to color slides and color prints. Did what we called still photography (thats with just a regular camera, 8x10, 4x5, 120 and 35mm), aerial (with film in extreme sizes, either 10 inch wide by 500 feet or 5 inch wide by 6000 ft), lots of copy work up to 20x24, then at my last command, movie printing and duplication.
Since I retired from all that and opened my own business, we had a full service darkroom for about 15 years then switched to digital because we wanted to get more into event work. Also the EPA regs were getting to us. We had to move (or close down) the darkroom at one point. In this county you cannot have a darkroom in a building that is serviced by a septic tank. There has been talk of not allowing any commerical photo lab to have access to any of the sewer systems also.
Proper disposel of used photo chemicals is very expensive and is subject to a bunch of rules and regs. Just something to be aware of.
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Old 06-26-2002, 07:35 AM
Kristin Kristin is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4

Five years ago I took an introductory course in photography and b&w processing at our local college.

My daughter and I went off to Ireland for 3 years and unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any courses there because of the cost and time commitment. Black and white hand processing is really an art. I never got as far as using filters. I used natural light when shooting, partially because I couldn't remember what the teacher had taught us about using flash! (Terrible isn't it!).

It's another hobby that I can lose several hours without realizing what time it is. I think there is nothing sweeter than the first time you see your sheet of paper dip into the developing tray and the magic of an image appears!

After doing a few spotting touchups, I can honestly say I'd rather touch up in Photoshop than by hand!

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Old 06-26-2002, 10:30 AM
Mogens_Bohl_P Mogens_Bohl_P is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vest-Sjaelland (West Zealand), Denmark
Posts: 3
Re:Experience in the dark

I started as a teenager in the late 1960's - beginning of the 70's with an Opemus 6 by 6 cm enlarger equipped with a Nikon elnikkor objective.
It was only bw work, 6 x 9 cm and 35 mm negatives. Mainly Ilford paper with corresponding developers and fixers.

Colour equipment was very expensive and therefore beyond the reach for a teen-ager, well at least for me and my friends.

For the last couple of decades I have used dias-film (Kodachrome) or Kodak negative films all processed at professional firms.

Today: digital darkroom with scanners.
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Old 06-26-2002, 02:22 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Location: Metro Phoenix area, Arizona
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I took a community college class about 5 years ago -- never developed my own (can't roll the film in total darkness and not interested in learning), but got a lot of practice printing b/w only. Loved seeing that image appear on the paper! The experience taught me some of what could be done AFTER the image is captured, but taught me a lot about how important it is to spend time and thought BEFORE pressing the shutter. I already was using Photoshop, and the lab experience helped me understand that PShop was doing the same things that photographer/printers had been doing for decades -- but without the smell of chemicals (for some, the chemicals are a turn-on -- not for me, however).
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Old 06-29-2002, 08:10 PM
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Leigh Anne Leigh Anne is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 12
Lots of b/w darkroom experience for the high school yearbook, but not much since then. I never imagined that my home darkroom I always dreamed I would have would be my computer!
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Old 06-29-2002, 08:13 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: northwest Indiana, about 45 minutes from Chicago, IL
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Originally posted by CJ Swartz
(can't roll the film in total darkness and not interested in learning),
You can learn to roll film in total darkness, but you might not be interested in learning. If you're afraid of the dark, get yourself a changing bag. Then only your hands will be in the dark!

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Old 07-01-2002, 05:59 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 709
When I was learning to roll film in the dark, first I spent a lot of time just rolling an old scrap roll of film onto a reel in the light to get the feel of it. I carried it around with me in my purse and played with it whenever I was idle for a few minutes. Then I practiced with my eyes closed and finally I practiced with it in the dark. By the time I actually rolled a real roll of film, it was very familiar to me and seemed easy...
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Old 07-01-2002, 06:47 AM
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PixelMover PixelMover is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Them Netherlands
Posts: 87
Done it until I couldn't stand it anymore in uni.
B&W, C-4, E-6, Cibachrome (now ilfochrome)...been there, done that.

Since 99% of my work is slide (even B&W I do on slide) I don't bother developing them myself, the lab does it for me.

However, I still have a small darkroom where I sometimes make nice B&W prints for my own pleasure. Much more fun if you don't HAVE to do it
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Old 08-24-2002, 11:44 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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Is this thread posessed or something???

(nee nee noo noo Twilight Zone music playing in the background...)

It keeps popping back to the top even though I can't see any new activity on it for more than a month!
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Old 08-28-2002, 07:10 PM
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Kevin Connery Kevin Connery is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 82
It did pop up, so I figure I'll answer.

About 3 years worth of 8 hours/day b/w work spread out over a 5-6 year period, and a smattering--small smattering--of color work.

None of it recent. The last darkroom I owned was almost 20 years ago, and the last time I used one was nearly 5 years ago.

I did a lot of special effects work--lith film interneg/positives, unsharp masking the old way, color key posterization, etc., in addition to lots and lots of plain ol' develop and print with burn/dodging.
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