The Online Darkroom Store

Monday, December 5

Yet another darkroom update

I know, I know. When's the bloody thing going to be finished? I can't say I'm working flat out but it is getting there. The US presidential election was a major distraction. Not just the final run-in, either. I was addicted for many months. I have a policy of not talking politics on the blog as I know people get fed up being force-fed that sort of diet when they just want to read about photography. So, unlike Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer, who likes to tell everyone about his politics whether they want to hear it or not, you'll be getting nothing like that from me regardless of how tempting it may be.

And back to the darkroom! The pic above is of the left wall as you enter the room. That's the Leica IC and the Paterson/Philips PCS 130 looking quite handsome in a soft, overhead beauty light. The IC will be used with graded paper, probably Ilford's Galerie, and the PCS, which handles 35mm to 6x6 (6x7 with the right condenser which I don't have), with multigrade.

On the opposite wall is the Durst L1200 for anything from 35mm up to 5x4 and the Hasselblad Xpan format should I ever manage to get one of those. I've come close to an Xpan on two occasions. About ten years back after weighing up the pros and cons of getting a Pentax K10 DSLR or the Xpan and a couple of lenses, I put in a bid for the latter on Ebay and won. The seller reneged so I went ahead and bought the K10D.

Then a few years ago, an elderly photographer friend who had an Xpan but liked to buy the latest, top-of-the-line Canon DSLR, said he was thinking about trading the Hasselblad in for a high-tech plastic thingy. I said I'd happily match or beat the trade-in offer and he said he'd keep me in mind. As it was, he forgot all about me when it came to getting the DSLR and went ahead with the trade-in. So two close shaves but no cigar. 

I was going to keep the Ic, the PCS 130 and the V35 in the darkroom and sell the L1200 but I had a rethink and have relegated the V35 to the camera cupboard. If I decide to abandon 5x4 altogether at some point then I'll get rid of the big Durst and the V35 might see the light of day again.

You'll be astonished to learn that I've also got far too much darkroom equipment, the result of winning local auctions for lots that come with the item I want and sometimes lots of stuff I don't want into the bargain. For instance, I've got 13 developing tanks, probably at least the same number of measuring cylinders, ten paper safes, seven safelights and two identical, wooden-based, paper guillotines. Most of it will need to go as I'm rapidly running out of space.

Above is a view through the open door into the darkroom. To the left and right are the worktops you can see in the first two pics. The sink I'll be building will fit in against the far wall and between the worktops. I think it'll work out quite well but, as ever, it won't be until it's all up and running that I'll be able to say for certain.

It's certainly not a spacious room but is bigger than it appears in these iPhone pics. I know Phil Rogers would like to be able to print without having to kneel down so there's no way I'm complaining.


tjen said...

Looks good - ready for the job of artist !! Good luck - Glad to hear from you !!
If I could place a photo of my little workspace ; but don't know how... Today start with Acrylgel on photo and Toning ....
When they ask me why analogue then I'm answering " To understand the present I must have notices of the past ...." What was done earlier with handcraft is now developed by bites and bytes .. So for me is now the moment to work with my hands ...

tjen dezutter

DavidM said...

Very wise decision of yours on the POTUS election. As someone said: a contest to find the second-worst person for the job.
Darkroom looking good. Wise decision to retain flexibility as that X-pan may be only a stocking away. (ha!)
Once again, iPhone pictures looking good... You might have to start a second blog...

Herman Sheephouse said...

How did you end up with so much gear? I've only got two developing tanks - the oldest, early 80's and my 120 one was bought at a carboot in the late 80's . . . and that's it - positively spartan.

And yes you're right - your space is a positive mansion compared to my wee kneeling place!