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Photography Question 
Cassandra E. Davis
 

How to Work in My Darkroom


Last year I bought darkroom equipment, because it had always been my dream to have my own darkroom. However, after countless tries of making a clear print I have had no success. The most I get is a shadow of the pic ... it usually turns out a dark purple. I have played with the times, but it always comes out the same. Is it possible I received some bad chemicals with my darkroom set? I have no idea what I should do. I don't even know where to get chemicals or which chemicals go with which type of paper. Can someone please help me out?


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10/15/2004 8:58:46 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Is this black and white or color printing?


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10/15/2004 2:58:29 PM

 
Cassandra E. Davis   Black and white


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10/15/2004 7:08:46 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Where to get them: Look in the phone book Yellow Pages under photo supply/retail.
What to get: Kodak polycontrast black & white and Ilford black & white are good papers - simple to use. They are good for beginners but not so basic that they aren't good for anything else. (There are some that are categorized as fine art, but other types still make good prints.)
Chemicals can be bought at places that sell paper, usually. If there are no stores nearby, then try online - like Adorama.com
Why they're purple, could be old chemicals and/or old paper. A purple tint makes me think it's mainly the chemicals, but the developer turns dark when it's getting old, like tea. Are they turning the purple color in the developer, or does it start to do it when it gets in the fixer?
One test to do: Put a section of paper straight out the box in the developer and see if it stays white. And also, try it without the safelight on, stick in a section and wait awhile, then turn the safelight on and see if it starts turning purple after the safelights turned on.
Third test: Stick in a section in the fixer, wait a few minutes, rinse and put it in the developer with the lights on, and see if it turns dark. That's a way to test fixer strength, that's if you don't have a bottle of fixer tester. That you just add a couple of drops to your fixer and if you get a white precipitate (white solid forms) means your fixer needs to be replaced.


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10/15/2004 10:56:59 PM

 
Norbert Maile   Go to Ilfords web site and register with them on their ILFPRO Club. When you do that, they will mail you a free book which will soon become your printing and developing bible. It will show you the difference in developers, papers,film etc. etc. Then it will not be a frustration anymore, but a pure pleasure. Once you get the hang of it you can switch to Kodak products if you want. Norbert


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10/19/2004 7:00:52 AM

 
Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004
  Cassandra,
Gregory, and Nobert have some great ideas. Now concerning your unsharp images. I would like to suggest you go into your darkroom, at the normal time you print and set down a chair. Turn the lights off and sit down. Wait five minutes and look arond to see if you have any light leeks. If you don't keep your lens cap in place and turn on your enlarger. See if you have any light leeks from it. A thought here, what color are your walls. A good dark room has flat black walls. Fix all your light leeks. You can use a black "gaffers" tape for this. Last turn off your enlarger and turn on your safe-light. Do you have any light leeks? What kind of unit is it? Is it new or used. IF it is used did you change the filter? What wattage of light bulb are you using? In addition check the optics in your enlarger to make sure they are in the correct place, and take out your enlarging lens and check the front and rear elements for finger prints. Clean the lens.
Hope these ideas help.
Good Shooting.
Doug


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10/19/2004 6:47:23 PM

 
Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004
  Cassandra,
Gregory, and Nobert have some great ideas. Now concerning your unsharp images. I would like to suggest you go into your darkroom, at the normal time you print and set down a chair. Turn the lights off and sit down. Wait five minutes and look arond to see if you have any light leeks. If you don't keep your lens cap in place and turn on your enlarger. See if you have any light leeks from it. A thought here, what color are your walls. A good dark room has flat black walls. Fix all your light leeks. You can use a black "gaffers" tape for this. Last turn off your enlarger and turn on your safe-light. Do you have any light leeks? What kind of unit is it? Is it new or used. IF it is used did you change the filter? What wattage of light bulb are you using? In addition check the optics in your enlarger to make sure they are in the correct place, and take out your enlarging lens and check the front and rear elements for finger prints. Clean the lens.
Hope these ideas help.
Good Shooting.
Doug


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10/19/2004 6:47:24 PM

 
Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004
  Cassandra,
Gregory, and Nobert have some great ideas. Now concerning your unsharp images. I would like to suggest you go into your darkroom, at the normal time you print and set down a chair. Turn the lights off and sit down. Wait five minutes and look arond to see if you have any light leeks. If you don't keep your lens cap in place and turn on your enlarger. See if you have any light leeks from it. A thought here, what color are your walls. A good dark room has flat black walls. Fix all your light leeks. You can use a black "gaffers" tape for this. Last turn off your enlarger and turn on your safe-light. Do you have any light leeks? What kind of unit is it? Is it new or used. IF it is used did you change the filter? What wattage of light bulb are you using? In addition check the optics in your enlarger to make sure they are in the correct place, and take out your enlarging lens and check the front and rear elements for finger prints. Clean the lens.
Hope these ideas help.
Good Shooting.
Doug


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10/19/2004 6:47:26 PM

 
Norbert Maile   Good point. Your equipment has to be good. As for the darkroom, I once had one in the basement of an old house. My walls were old dark,(not black) bedsheets mostly for dust control. Slight light leakage from under a door is ok for paper as long as the safe light out powers it, but not negative development. You need total darkness for that like a changing bag. The pics were tac sharp. Remember that Ansel Adams did it on his dinning room table under a blanket, (developing that is). Norbert


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10/20/2004 6:06:50 AM

 
James Scott Stone   We talk about light leak in,or it might check water temperture is set right for rigt film be used. I rember this from my college instrustion. Scott Stone.


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5/2/2008 9:31:52 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi Cassandra,

Darkroom help:

Likely purple results are due to chemical contamination, likely iron. Another possibility is the paper has gone bad.

The rules are: Concentrated chemicals (these purchased) should be reasonably fresh and the packaging in good order. Containerís tight closed caps on tight. If the bottles are plastic, squeeze to expel excess air. Read mixing directions, follow carefully. Mixing containers, utensils, funnels, stirrers, measuring cups etc. should be plastic or glass. Metal containers and utensils are to be avoided unless stainless steel. Chemicals should appear clear to be slightly colored but always transparent.

Mix to make a stock solution (intermediate concentration) at the recommended temperature. Store stock solution in glass or plastic tightly capped. Photo chemicals spoil over time due to contact with air (oxidation). Spoiled chemicals are dark. Darkened solutions function substandard and they stain film and paper. Shelf life is reduced in a partially filled bottle. Add marbles or squeeze plastic to expel air.

Photo papers expire after a time, so use fresh paper. Refrigeration extends shelf life. Two general types of paper are commonly sold. Enlarging paper, a higher speed paper used in conjunction with the enlarger. Contact paper, a slower speed paper used to make contact prints. While it is possible to interchange, I donít advise a beginner to attempt.

Mix stock solutions to make a working solution. Note solution color and inspect making sure all ingredients have properly dissolved. If your water source is suspect, use bottled water throughout. Iron is a common contaminate in public water sources. Discard working solutions after the session. Use glass, plastic, or stainless trays.

Check dark room integrity. With lights off, lay a sheet of paper on the work area. Place a coin on top. Add a coin, every minute, continue for 10 minutes. Develop the paper in the normal way. If light leaks are present you will see outlines of the coins. If leaks are detected, patch it up.

If you continue to have problems, supply details as to chemicals and paper being used and you printing equipment, also more about trays and utensils being used.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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5/3/2008 8:15:54 AM

 
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