The mysterious red room

AndrewFlannigan

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#2
Even before digital many if not most people had no ideas how photographs got on paper. Nowadays I'll guess that about 1% or less of the population would have any idea what this was all about. In that context the questions are quite sensible.
 
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#3
Agreed. If anything, the show in question (Stranger Things) might make the younger generation more curious about film photography.
 

excalibur2

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#4
Well in the darkroom, printing for B\W, was\is done usually with a red safety bulb...but no light bulb for colour printing (well there is but it's so faint you can't see anything properly).
 

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#6
I'd guess yes. The only films that you can develop in a red light used to be ortho ones. Black and white enlarging papers aren't (very) sensitive to red. Can you use a red filter with XP2 and still get an image? If so, then red light will have some effect.
 

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AndrewFlannigan

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#10
Oh happy days in the darkroom.
To be quite honest: if I never find myself in a darkroom again I'll count that as a win.

:tumbleweed:
 

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#11
To be quite honest: if I never find myself in a darkroom again I'll count that as a win.
Fair enough; but it's still the easiest place I know to load 10x8 darkslides.
 
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#12
Early darkroom had red lights
in my photographic student days darkrooms were though to have red lights for other reasons too.
There were supposedly entire districts with red lights.
 
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#13
I couldn't afford a Paterson safelight when I built a darkroom in the loft as a youngster, so used a bayonet bulb holder fitted with a red pygmy lamp bulb. That seemed to work well enough and I never noticed any fogging on the black and white photo paper I used.
 

West Camera

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#14
I loved the atmosphere of my red room (darkroom) when I did it all myself. The aroma of the chemicals is a touch no one will appreciate unless they actually do it themselves. The real struggle for me was hanging the prints to dry while trying to keep them from rolling up. That seemed almost anti-climatic an end for such a fun adventure.
 

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#15
Fair enough; but it's still the easiest place I know to load 10x8 darkslides.
This is true but the question then arises: in a digital world with image quality more than good enough for any practical purpose - why would you?
 

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#17
This is true but the question then arises: in a digital world with image quality more than good enough for any practical purpose - why would you?
"Quality" is almost a meaningless word; everything has qualities of some sort. The simplest way I can put it is that to my eyes, with my size of print, I can see a difference between an image from one of my large format negatives and one from a 42mp Sony a7rII. And I prefer the look of the former. Why not switch from "any practical purpose" to "any artistic purpose" and consider if you're saying the same thing? I don't think that the phrases are interchangeable.
 
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#18
This is true but the question then arises: in a digital world with image quality more than good enough for any practical purpose - why would you?
Because photography isn't just about the convenience. There is joy to be had in the process (at least for people doing it as a pastime - admittedly it may be different for commercial photographers).
 
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AndrewFlannigan

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#20
Can you use a red filter with XP2
Quite right. By definition panchromatic films are sensitive to red and XP2 is a panchromatic film.
The red safe light is used to protect the photo printing paper and has nothing at all to with film developing.
Black & white printing paper is manufactured so it is not sensitive to red light, hence the use of a red safelight.
Exposed undeveloped film is always loaded into the developing tank in total darkness because obviously film even black and white film is sensitive to all colours of light.
 
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#21
"Quality" is almost a meaningless word; everything has qualities of some sort. The simplest way I can put it is that to my eyes, with my size of print, I can see a difference between an image from one of my large format negatives and one from a 42mp Sony a7rII. And I prefer the look of the former. Why not switch from "any practical purpose" to "any artistic purpose" and consider if you're saying the same thing? I don't think that the phrases are interchangeable.
Said it better than I could. People often talk about the quality of digital being better and what they mean is sharper or something equally as meaningless.

I can’t wait to build my dark room and create some prints. I much prefer shooting and the results from film and am very much looking forward to my next trip and shooting many, many rolls.
 

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#22
Because photography isn't just about the convenience.
I'd suggest that for a very large majority (possibly nearly all) that's a very important part of modern photography.
There is joy to be had in the process).
This is obviously true for you and a very small number of others. I also get a great deal of pleasure from finding and framing a picture but the idea of going back into a darkroom fills me with horror. Different strokes for different folks.
 
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StephenM

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#23
As a pedant, I will just point out that it's still possible to buy orthochromatic films, which can be developed with a safelight. "Orthochromatic" means "correct colours", presumably an original marketing spin to imply that using ortho film gave the correct colours in a black and white print (!); when it was coined, ortho was an advance over the previously "blue only" films. Panchromatic ("all colours") came a bit later.
 

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StephenM

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#25
Ilford still sell it as well. Knowing the special qualities (THAT word again) I've often thought about using it for some types of photography.
 
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#26
I'd suggest that for a very large majority (possibly nearly all) that's a very important part of modern photography.

This is obviously true for you and a very small number of others. I also get a great deal of pleasure from finding and framing a picture but the idea of going back into a darkroom fills me with horror. Different strokes for different folks.
If you're referring specigically to the act of loading dark-slides then, yes, I agree that this is a relatively small group of individuals (of which I'm not one - I dodn't shoot LF and my other film is all lab processed). But that wasn't my point, which was much broader.

The process doesn't just have to refer to the darkroom, it can refer to many, many aspects of photography (or indeed many other activities). Travelling hundreds of miles to a location for a landscape shot, or waiting hours, waiting days for a photo of rare wildlife, or standing in the same location on a street waiting hours for a decisive moment are hardly convenient and might result in a wash-out, but people enjoy them nontheless. Likewise baking your own bread from scratch, enjoying music on vinyl, or tinkering with a classic car for example - each have more convenient alternatives, but there are other reasons to take the more complicated route.

For some, the whole start to end process of large format film photography is an enjoyable thing in and of itself. It may not be for you or me, but surely you can understand that it might be pleasurable for others? Sometimes the journey is as much (or more) fun as the destination.
 

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#27
For some, the whole start to end process of large format film photography is an enjoyable thing in and of itself. It may not be for you or me, but surely you can understand that it might be pleasurable for others? Sometimes the journey is as much (or more) fun as the destination.
Oddly enough, I'm in the camp of not particularly enjoying the process of large format film photography. For me, it's rather like British Rail - not an enjoyable (or cheap!) way to get from A to B, but sometimes the only way to get to your destination (in my case, the print).
 
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#28
It would be rare to use a "red" safelight for anything these days. The usual colour for graded and multigrade paper is amber. but some papers, notably Agfa are somewhat finickity about the actual specification, or they can fog. so it is worth testing when you introduce new papers into your darkroom.

A black and white darkroom should be as well lit as possible for maximum comfort, and easy of working for long periods. Except around the enlarger the walls should be white.
It makes it easier to dodge and burn it the light nearest the enlarger is either dimmed or switched off during exposure. This can be wired into your system.
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In all my professional darkrooms that I have built, I have had the safelights controlled by an over head pull cord running horizontally over the entire length of the wet bench and the white lights controlled by a cord running the length of the dry bench. so both can be operated wherever you are in the room.
I have always preferred long narrow dark rooms with the dry bench one side and the wet the other with the wall mounted enlarger fixed to the end wall and surrounded by paper shelves. at the opposite end to the enlarger I put my 3 gallon tanks for film developing. It is handy to have the print wash tank feeding directly through a light trapped wall directly to the finishing area and next to the flat bed and drum dryer. (In larger operations the Film development should take place in its own darkroom)

The advent of colour printing and processing minilabs, has changed the entire process , And Darkrooms became largely redundant except for larger hand made prints.
Inkjet printing has mostly taken over the bespoke large print market.
Darkrooms of any kind are becoming a rarity, but not extinct.
 

AndrewFlannigan

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#29
but surely you can understand that it might be pleasurable for others? Sometimes the journey is as much (or more) fun as the destination.
I agree and I thought I made that clear above when I wrote...
This is obviously true for you and a very small number of others... ...Different strokes for different folks.
 
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