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Author Topic: Reviving an inert darkroom...  (Read 6271 times)
Schewe
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« on: October 28, 2011, 12:08:45 AM »
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Just thought I would do a post about reviving an inert darkroom that hasn't been used for 12+ years...

As you might expect, when I switched to digital I let my chem darkroom become the place where I stored boxes for digital stuff. Earlier this year a flood in Chicago forced me to toss a lot of crap. Seems the 18 inches of sewer backup didn't completely kill my old darkroom but made me toss all the stuff that was stuck there...

Fast forward to the fall semester and it turns out my daughter needed an art elective to finish out here credits (graduating this Dec we hope). The class she chose (among other last minute classes) was Photo 101. Guess what...the school proved Vivitar 35mm cameras with a bad lens and told the students they were going to shoot 35mm Ilford HP5 film, process it reels & tanks and have to make traditional B&W prints for the class.

So...after 12, 13+ years (and post flood removal) it seems my old chem darkroom has been resurrected...

Truth be told my daughter still can't load film on Nikkor reels (I've been doing it for her but she does the processing) but she is doing her own contact prints and using my Omega enlarger to make 8x10 prints.

She recently shot the Occupy Chicago protests and got some good shots–although I pulled out my old manual Nikon F3 camera for her to use instead of the crappy Vivitar camera (which even I couldn't focus well).

So, I've been spending some quality time teaching her how to dodge & burn and make good prints (admittedly on RC paper cause I gave away my fiber paper print dryer and RC is quick and easy).

Real nostalgic experience (although I'm complaining cause she brings in her iPhone to listen to music and the tone quality sucks–might have to get an amp with speakers).

The big problem I've had is that the old temp mixer in my stainless steel sink is screwed...so all we have is a single faucet to switch between faucet, film washing and print washing. Not sure I want to re-plumb the 4 station water distribution I used to have.

I'm about to teach her about cut out neg carriers and full frame rough edged prints for her next assignment, "street Photography"...

I would post some examples but that would mean I would have to scan stuff–something I swore off years ago...

(guess I'll have to each her how to use the scanner too)

The funny thing is she's been shooting digital since she was a kid–it's FILM and PRINTS that has been the challenge...learning F stop, shutter speed and how to focus manually is a real technical problem (a Canon Rebel with auto everything is too easy).

I actually grabbed the camera from her a couple of time to shoot something and I immediately tilted the camera forward to chimp before I remembered it was film not film.

:~)


Ah the gold old days...I really didn't miss it till I did it again. BTW, spotting prints sucks (something I haven't taught her yet–easier to clean the negs before printing).
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 07:04:43 AM »
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I actually grabbed the camera from her a couple of time to shoot something and I immediately tilted the camera forward to chimp before I remembered it was film not film.

Priceless. I once was asked to quickly come to a neighbour to shoot his kid's birhday party. Since I was working on something else, I absentmindedly picked a body from the body closet, a lens from the lens closet and joined the party. The balance didn't feel right but I was still absorbed in my thoughts. I actually took a shot and that's only when I heard the noise that I thought "something's wrong with the camera". My mind went blank for 30 seconds before I came to grip with the situation.
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feethea
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 08:32:16 AM »
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You are so right about the gold/good old days. I didn't realise how much I missed film and film processing until I started on a GCE 'A' level photography course (in the USA that'd be a course taken by 18 year olds before going on to University) this September.

Our class (and at 58 I'm by far the oldest member) had an introduction into the darkroom at college - I was bitten and now three film cameras later (Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya 7ii and a Nikon F5) I'm loving taking  and developing my own monochrome negs again after a break of some 10 years. Not going to get into the darkroom area just yet, but you never know, as my Nikon Coolscan 8000ED is cleaner and easier than trays and chemicals.

Barry
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John.Murray
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 11:14:30 AM »
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I actually grabbed the camera from her a couple of time to shoot something and I immediately tilted the camera forward to chimp before I remembered it was film not film.

:~)

PLAUSIBLE EXCUSE #1:
You were checking the film counter.....
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