darkroom

Darkroom: Timers

As the name implies, a timer is what controls the length of an exposure. A timer can be something as simple as a watch or as complex as a high-end multi-functional digital timer. The advantage of an electronic timer is that it can be connected to the enlarger’s lamp house. 

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Darkroom: Easels

An easel holds the printing paper flat beneath the enlarger. Easels come in many sizes and varieties: two-bladed, four-bladed, borderless and speed easels. A good easel can make printing easy, while a bad one can be a nightmare.

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Darkroom: Editing and Focusing Optics

For previewing black-and-white, color negative or slide film, there is nothing more convenient and comfortable than being able to examine images through a high-quality loupe atop a precise, color-controlled light box. In this way, a photographer can determine which of a series of images is the best composed or sharpest, or which contains subtleties of light or expression that the others lack.

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Darkroom: Black & White Photographic Processing Chemistry

Despite the shrinking availability of black-and-white films and papers, the chemistry available that’s required to process black-and-white film and paper remains virtually untouched since the heyday of what we now refer to as “traditional” photographic processing.

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Darkroom: Chemistry for Processing Color Prints and Film

Nowadays color printing is primarily the domain of commercial labs. But there are still a number of photo enthusiasts producing high-quality color prints in the temperature-controlled environs of their home darkrooms. Happily for them, the film- and paper-processing chemistry they need is still available for purchase by the ounce as well as by the drum.

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Darkroom: Sinks and Water

Most people do not have a permanently installed darkroom space. If you are fortunate enough to own a house or an apartment with the appropriate space and configuration and can dedicate an entire room, walk-in closet or “the room under the stairs” to printing, you are ahead of the game.

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Darkroom: Tanks and Reels

Some of the most under-considered pieces of equipment in the darkroom are the tanks and reels in which film is developed. A good tank-and-reel set is something that you should definitely have for the long run. 

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Darkroom: Storage Bottles, Graduates, Trays and Tongs

Storage bottles and larger storage tanks come in all different sizes and are a requisite component of any darkroom. A sufficient supply, in different sizes, should be kept handy. Bottles should be labeled and dedicated to a specific chemical, consistently. Some bottles come with a blank area for writing dates and other notations.

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Darkroom: Washers and Squeegees

Thorough washing of your prints is critical for proper preservation of the image. Without a sufficiently good wash, residual chemistry can remain on the print surface and over time gradually degrade the image. We have all seen prints that seem to yellow after several years.

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Darkroom: Print and Film Dryers

Drying prints properly, particularly fiber-based prints, is critical in the photographic process. Poor drying can lead to unnecessary curling of the print that can lead to difficulties in mounting and print finishing. The ideal darkroom should have a separate area, outside the wet and dry areas, where prints can be dried, flattened and finished.

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