Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/01/14

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Subject: Re: [Leica] B&W with no darkroom
From: Kip Babington <>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 13:15:18 -0600
References: <> <p05010400b6878f64c66e@[]>

Let me second Alastair Firkin's suggestion that you at least consider a darkroom
of your own.  When I was on active military duty (a long time ago) I lived for a
couple of years in an apartment in town.  I printed in the kitchen, to get the
benefit of running water for washing prints.  The kitchen was divided from the
living room only by a counter.  There was a large picture window in the living
room and another smaller window in the wall opposite the kitchen, 12 to 14 feet
from the enlarger.  I covered these windows with a single layer of olive drab
army blanket, and although on a bright day enough light came through that you
could read a newspaper after your eyes adjusted, it had no effect on the
photographic paper during the time it was out of its package being exposed and
processed.  (I used a changing bag for loading film into bulk loaders and
developing tanks.)  The lesson:  except for dealing with undeveloped film, you
don't really need total darkness to have a functional darkroom

I used a Durst M600 enlarger, which came apart and stored in a drawer when not in
use.  The safelight was hung from a bent coat hanger that looped over a cabinet
door near the enlarger.  Trays, chemicals and other paraphernalia went in drawers
or in a box that was stored elsewhere.  It wasn't ideal, but it was quite
functional under the circumstances, and darkening the room didn't cost anything
beyond the 2x4 lumber used to make collapsible frames that held the blankets in
the windows (the blankets were "on loan.")

In a similar vein, when my father traveled for Shell Oil in the '30s he had a
large suitcase that held developing tanks, a small enlarger, trays and chemicals,
and he would print pictures (mostly taken with a Leica III) in the hotel rooms
where he stayed.

So look around at your living or other quarters and see what might be available.
It doesn't take a whole lot, and the magic of seeing a print come up in the tray
makes up (for me, at least) for any hassle it takes to get the room set up.


> >I'd like to explore B&W with my Leica but I have no dark room and, I have to
> >admit, really no interest in having one.

In reply to: Message from Adam Bridge <> ([Leica] B&W with no darkroom)
Message from Alastair Firkin <> (Re: [Leica] B&W with no darkroom)