After almost two years of shooting film nonstop and more than $1,000 worth of expenses on processing and prints, I needed to reconsider my budget and find a way of being able to shoot more and pay less. I thus began to process my C-41 rolls at home. It’s extremely easy to do and I‘ll show you today how to do it, step by step. Read more…
If you do any darkroom work, you probably regularly print contact sheets to peek at the positive versions of your B&W negative film strips. Did you know that your iPhone can be used as a quick an easy tool for this same purpose? Read more…
Lincoln, UK-based photographer Adam Rhoades came up with an interesting way of printing digital photographs using analog darkroom processes. By mounting his iPhone (displaying a photo) onto a 35mm enlarger, he’s able to enlarge and focus his digital photograph on photo paper as if it were a negative being projected. Read more…
For some reason I only listen to music in the darkroom. I find watching clocks tiresome so I time film processing by music — I have a range of songs of the proper length. Film goes in, music goes on (Tom Waits, Bowie, Bauhaus), song ends, film comes out.
An easy way to find songs with the correct length is to sort your music library by duration.
If you’ve always wanted your own military-grade portable darkroom, today’s your lucky day! There’s a used US Army one for sale on eBay with the starting price of $4,500. The 4,500LB shelter contains 3 rooms with 614 cubic feet of space, and comes with all the darkroom equipment you need, including a fridge, film drying cabinet, film processors, sink, storage spaces, and an escape door! It even packs its own temperate water control system and heating/AC unit. You can find more photos here.
Knowing how long to develop film for is easy if you use popular films and developers, but what if you want to use some obscure combination that isn’t well documented? If that’s you, check out the Photocritic Film Development Database. It’s a simple service that outputs development times for 1440 different film/developer combinations. For combinations that aren’t officially published, creator Haje Jan Kamps has come with a formula that estimates the time — a formula that he says is surprisingly accurate.
Here’s a step-by-step video tutorial teaching how to develop your B&W film using instant coffee and powdered vitamin C instead of actual developer. You’ll still need some darkroom gear and some fixer, but it’s a neat way to experiment with film photography. Photo geeks call this solution Caffenol, and there’s even a special Flickr group dedicated to making homebrew developer.
If you’ve never learned how to process film, this is also a great introduction to how it’s done.
Redscale is a technique where film is exposed on the wrong side — rather than having the light hit the emulsion directly, you expose the film through the non-sensitive side.
The name “redscale” comes because there is a strong color shift to red due to the red-sensitive layer of the film being exposed first, rather than last (the red layer is normally the bottom layer in C-41 (color print) film). All layers are sensitive to blue light, so normally the blue layer is on top, followed by a filter. In this technique, blue light exposes the layers containing red and green dyes, but the layer containing blue dye is left unexposed due to the filter. [#]
The two main ways for doing this are loading the film upside down (if your camera allows it), or by purchasing film that has been “converted” already. A third way is to make DIY redscale film by going into a darkroom, pulling out the film, cutting it, flipping it, taping it back together, and then winding it back into the canister. Messy, but it works! Read more…
Here’s a rare behind-the-scenes look into Ansel Adams’ home in Carmel, California and the custom built darkroom in which most of Adams’ famous prints were created. It’s pretty amazing how much editing Adams’ did in transforming the plain negatives into the beautiful works of art hanging on walls around the world.
The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.
– Ansel Adams
Michael Adams, Ansel’s son and the “tour guide” in this video, also shares some of Ansel’s tools, techniques, and tricks.
Here’s a short video by The Guardian looking at the rapid demise of photographic darkrooms and photographer Richard Nicholson’s project of capturing these spaces across London before they become just another chapter in photographic history.