This weeks post for our darkroom series, where we are finding out more about some of our customers home darkrooms, is from Chris. He has some interesting methods with different developers, as well as some intriguing tips…
Thanks for the information and sample photos, Chris!
What is your darkroom? A room, closet or bathroom? Please tell us a bit about it.
My darkroom is in the bathroom. It’s quite handy if I have the sudden urge to go. Not so handy when someone else does.
What’s your process? Tell us a bit about your developing routine, especially if it’s tricky.
I shoot with my crappy toy and pinhole cameras during the day and develop at night. I have some stainless steel tanks and reels that I stole from my sister. I load them in a changing bag since my “darkroom” can’t actually be made dark. (Stupid skylight!) I have an iPod Touch that I use as timer. I use the Massive Dev app which automatically times the developing and has numerous film/developer combinations. (I used to use the clock on an old Tamagotchi as a timer, but I forgot him on the counter one day and he died.) After developing I hang the film to dry in the shower and hope that no one decides to have a late night shower or cover themselves with talcum powder. From there the negs are scanned with an Epson Perfection V750 using SilverFast 8.
What is your go to developer?
I use Diafine if I’m feeling lazy. You don’t have to mess with temperatures and you can develop different films in the same batch. I also use Blazinal, a.k.a. Rodinal, Ilfotec DD-X and occasionally I mix up my own Caffenol.
What is your all time favorite Film/Film developer combo?
I’ve developed a lot of Fomapan 100 in Diafine recently. I also Like T-Max 100 in Caffenol.
What result/look does this give?
With the Fomapan in Diafine I get nice even tones, highlights don’t get blown out and shadows have nice details. It’s especially good when shooting with pinhole or toy cameras.
Have you or are you into any alternative processes, such as cyanotype?
Caffenol is the most alternative process I use. 10 tsp washing soda, 1 tsp Vitamin C powder and 16 heaping tsp of no-name instant coffee in 32 oz of water. 12 1/2 minutes at 20 ℃ develops T-max 100 and gives the film a nice stain. When scanned in colour the results can be interesting. Just hold your breath when using it, it smells like concentrated dog vomit.
What is the best processing tip you can give?
If you can afford it, pay someone else to do it. Otherwise, experiment and go with what works for you. Oh, and don’t waste too much time reading the advice of idiots online.
Here are a few great examples Chris has sent us!
Fomapan 100 in a Debonair toy camera and developed in Diafine.
T-Max 100 shot in a Diana toy camera, developed in Caffenol.