Film I miss my film darkroom

Location
Kansas
Name
Mel
Back in the 70s and 80s,
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I had a great setup for processing black and white and color film and enlargements. I had two enlargers, a Philips 130/150 Dichroic color enlarger with Philips color analyzer for the color prints, A Beseler 23 also with a dichroic head but used for larger frame black and white and some color. I had all the things necessary such as paper safes, grain focusers, timers and just barely visible on the right was a Jobo color processor which had a water bath surrounding the rotating drums which could process film and with other tanks, enlargements up to 11X14. I had many different tanks for processing different format films. More importantly, it had a receiver with a pair of Snell speakers for those times waiting for the process to end. I had a faceplate made that I taped over the receiver's original one that blocked any light. I miss those days of quiet and the smell of Cibachrome chemicals--wait that smell was not that good. :)
 
Location
Vancouver BC
Name
Graham
I had a really well set up B&W darkroom that let me turn around work really quickly. Enlarger was a Durst 305. I had nice paper safes, lighting and all the other goodies plus really nice compact speakers that piped music from the stereo in the living room.
There was a local company that rented both B&W and color darkrooms and processing. You could machine process Cibachrome and color negative prints. I also had connections to a commercial darkroom that would let me do my own really large color prints from negatives. The late 70s and early 80s were awesome for darkroom work.
 
Location
Kansas
Name
Mel
I had a really well set up B&W darkroom that let me turn around work really quickly. Enlarger was a Durst 305. I had nice paper safes, lighting and all the other goodies plus really nice compact speakers that piped music from the stereo in the living room.
There was a local company that rented both B&W and color darkrooms and processing. You could machine process Cibachrome and color negative prints. I also had connections to a commercial darkroom that would let me do my own really large color prints from negatives. The late 70s and early 80s were awesome for darkroom work.
I married a lady in 2000 who owned a professional color lab with Kreonite Processors, Fuji Frontier printing along with another printer that did 40 inch wide by as long as a roll would go, 100 feet. She never printed that large but did many 30X40s. some big banners and posters. She had drum scanners and all of a sudden my darkroom was packed up where it still resides in my basement. She also had a photo studio. She saw the writing on the wall when she was made a Fuji distributor of their digital pro cameras and soon she sold the lab and concentrated on her studio.
I found I had no real need for the darkroom other than an escape place. I keep saying I will return to a darkroom and have bought E-6 and C-41 film developing kits but digital has made me lazy.
One thing that my wife found out was that individual pro photographers had to be watched carefully when it came time to pay bills. One large outfit which used to pay about 20K per month closed without warning and left her with 45K to eat. Several other ones did it on smaller scales. She learned to concentrate on larger corporations and sponsored photogs. She did a lot of work for those who were Fuji sponsored.
 

donbga

New Member
I'll be retiring within the next 2 years- plan on setting up a B&W darkroom again.

Good quality Enlarging lenses are cheaper than ever. I have El-Nikkor 50/2.8 and El-Nikkor 50/4 bought for the price of the 39mm bubbles they were stored in.
Well one of the problems for me is not having a nice darkroom, I have one. The demise of so many enlarging papers has been very discouraging and the co$t of light sensitive materials is breathtaking. 5 rolls of Ektar was over $55.00 and that was down from 2 rolls for almost $100. For 4x5 I use TMAX 400 and I'm pretty satisfied with it but at times I'd like to see a touch of grain. So yeah I've gone digital.

This has allowed me to print digitally enlarged negatives for use with alternative historical processes. I love my Olympus Pen-F digital for beautiful B&W JPGS out of camera. I am considering purchasing an Olympus Pen F (half/frame) and use some Lucky film to get some genuine film grain in my prints - perhaps more than I wnat with that film but it's inexpensive - relatively speaking.
 

ac12

Regular
I love your pegboard setup. Makes use of the wall space that I've always thought of as dead space.

Even with the computer and all its advantages, I miss the calm peaceful environment of the darkroom.

I have the stuff to set up a darkroom.
I just have to build the room under the house.
Maybe during the summer, I will have enough time to myself that I can do that.
 
Location
Kansas
Name
Mel
I love your pegboard setup. Makes use of the wall space that I've always thought of as dead space.

Even with the computer and all its advantages, I miss the calm peaceful environment of the darkroom.

I have the stuff to set up a darkroom.
I just have to build the room under the house.
Maybe during the summer, I will have enough time to myself that I can do that.
I liked the solitude. I had a stereo system in the room with the lights taped over so it stayed on one station. I did not like the total dedication to the timer. Often I would get the feeling that my life was ticking away one second after another. I have always been impatient with my time and am not perfectly happy waiting for something to happen. I was married at the time to a woman who had no interest at all in the darkroom, a camera, taking a photo or looking at what I had completed. That was okay but my present and last wife is even more interested in everything photographic than me. She was a photographer for a mid-sized daily newspaper before meeting me and she did her share of darkroom work on what she said was a sorry-ass darkroom setup. When she bought the color lab, she worked mainly with the large processors doing color prints on the automated enlargers. She was the go-to gal for the editing and photoshop work.
When I showed her my darkroom set up, she told me that I had her with the smell of fixer. :) We have been partners since our marriage and we still get the darkroom urge but we look at the packed equipment, look at the work needed to do a decent wet side, we both agree---digital is the way.
 
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