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Thread: Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

  1. #71

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    Jim, that's a good idea; I may have to work on that.

    Another brief session on Sunday morning. My Grandson stayed the night, so he was an obvious candidate for being another photo victim. Unfortunately, I didn't get fill lighting into his eyes, so they're completely dark.

    And my printing technique, using the Polaroid camera as a mobile, solar-powered contact printer, works okay, but I haven't yet calibrated it for contrast filters. I used grade 2 RC paper for negatives, of course; but for prints I'm using multigrade pearl finish warmtone Ilford paper; I need to work out contact printing exposure times with various filters.

    Anyhow, here's a scan of the resulting contact print, including border trimmed with craft scissors. It's nothing to write home about, but I do like the rounded corners of the Polaroid's film gate.

    ~Joe Attached files

  2. #72

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    And a shot of the set up in my front courtyard. I'm now using a plastic storage bin for the miscellaneous doodads. The folding camping table works great.

    Attached files

  3. #73

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    On this run, I made sure I monitored the developer temperature prior to using. It was a bit cool, having sat in the garage darkroom overnight, so here I'm using the sun to warm up the chemistry. In this shot you can see the developer is yet only 60f on the thermometer dial. The white clipboard on the left, which I use to squeegee the paper onto, is also used as a reflector, to get the sun into both sides of the chemistry bottles. It only took about 15 minutes to get them up to 68f.

    The two tubs seen here are great, having locking lids with o-rings seals. The one marked "rinse aid" is taller than it is wide, and a 4x5 negative will stand in it diagonally. Then I transfer it, after a few minutes, to the wash tub, within which I agitate the bejeezus out of the paper, since the lid seals tightly. A good way to save water on remote locations and still adequately rinse the prints.

    ~Joe Attached files

  4. #74
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    looks great Joe!
    I love the folding camping table! I might have to get one of those for my collodion darkbox. looks really nice!

    tp

  5. #75

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    Just a brief note; I was on a road trip to Arizona this last week, stopped off in Flagstaff and visited a photo gallery in the old historic district that had a working chemical photo booth. The service guy was there doing some maintenance on the machine, and I got a chance to glance inside, and ask some questions.

    It uses photo paper that is directly processed to a positive image. Not sure if it uses a reversal process or if it's the special direct positive paper, but he did say the paper comes from Europe (I suppose all paper comes from Europe these days.)

    Uses a carousel of little chemical pots that rotate, and a dip-and-dunk mechanism for the paper strip of 3 images. He said the paper gets dunked 3 times in each pot.

    I suspect they're using direct positive paper, which I may attempt to make work in this project, using the Efke paper that I've worked with previously. If it works it would permit direct to positive images with no printing sequence, although I would not be able to retain control of a master negative for making prints later, hence each image would be one-of-a-kind.

    ~Joe

  6. #76

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    Yesterday I did some still life images in my front courtyard, using my standard grade 2 paper negatives but without preflashing. Due to the extreme brightness (a beautiful spring day) the images came out too contrasty, but I posted them anyway to the alternative B/W image forum here.

    Today (another beautiful spring day) I loaded the whole kit-and-kaboodle into the TDI Jetta and headed to a local park. I set up the table under the shade of a tree, and proceeded to take park images. These are also posted in the alternative B/W forum here, here, here, here and here. The last two are especially interesting as they are action sports shots, taken with paper negatives on a Speed Graphic using an improved lens.

    It was fun to do this in public, yet removed enough from the bustle of a public sidewalk or other more crowded venue. I did have the opportunity to talk with passers-by in the park who were curious about that weird man with his arms in that funny wooden box. I left the Speed Graphic setup on the tripod with the shutter and lens wide open while processing paper, so folks who wandered by could look at the upside down view on the screen.

    I took enough gear with which to also do printing, but I ended up only shooting 6 negatives, 5 of which I posted today.

    I did some calibration tests of an in-camera preflashing method. I figured if I used an exposure that was 5 stops below zone V, it should be pretty close. I placed a piece of 1/8" thick frosted white lucite plastic over the Kodak Ektar 127mm lens, pointed at the sun, and exposed the negatives at F32-1/30th. Then the normal scenic exposure followed, after moving the tripod and camera and composing for the shot.

    I must also mention that all the shutter times listed in my posts, when using the Speed Graphic, are what it's supposed to be, according to the shutter time chart posted on the brass plate on the top of the camera. But I know the shutter is slower than its posted speed, so there's a bit of over-exposure on these negatives, resulting in highlights that are a bit too close to be blown out for my taste. But the preflashing did help improve the tonal range immensely over the results I had yesterday.

    Attached is a shot of the portable Dark Box setup under the shade of a tree. There's a pitcher of water in the background (behind the box) that is staying warm in the sun.

    ~Joe Attached files

  7. #77

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    Impressive! Makes me want to make one.

  8. #78

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    wow,
    really nice, i got the same projet with gelatin coated glass plates but never got the time to realise the box (i even got a really small lens that can be used as a pinhole with exposures of 20 secods max)

  9. #79
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    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    Joe, and what about a watertight camera (with some inlet and outlet tubes) used as a developing tank itself, immediately after the exposure...? You could have the chemicals in bottles which would make the camera easily transportable and there would be no need to operate manually inside the camera... At least the negatives could be developed almost on-site this way.

  10. #80

    Portable Paper Negative Darkroom

    Yea, I keep thinking about this concept. I'd like one of those light-tight pour spouts found on 35mm day tank developing bottles, where liquid goes in and out but not light.

    And then there's the problem that one couldn't (or wouldn't want to) use sheet film holders with an in-camera developing system. So then you're back to a one-shot box camera, which you'd have to load and unload in a changing bag (or, for 8x10, a changing tent). Still, it has possibilities.

    Just a brief update, I've used this processing box several times over the winter to process paper negatives in the comfort of the kitchen, rather than having to clean and warm up the garage-based darkroom.

    I also bought a 3-drawer plastic storage cube big enough for processing 5x7 negatives, which I can also use in this same processing box to develop paper negatives from my 5x7 foam core sliding box fresnel lens camera.

    ~Joe

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