Home developing in less than ideal conditions

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mesh

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I have had an itching to get into TMAX 400 for ages... partly because I'd like to learn how to process at home, and also because the small amount I have shot with it a while ago turned out pretty nice. Trouble is, my home is in the middle of Australia, in a desert with dust storms almost daily :smile: To make matters worse, our 'house' isn't what you'd call sealed... I can hear the cries of "don't do it" already! :smile:

I know this is a very hard question to answer, but (bearing in mind I am hardly an award-winning photographer) do you think I should even bother? I'd love to hear experiences from others who have developed at home is less than ideal conditions. Obviously I would do it on relatively still days, and try and seal a room, but how 'easy' to totally ruin films?

I shoot both 120 and 35mm. My current workflow is shoot 400CN, package it up and wait for the weekly plane (if indeed it does arrive)... get it sent to Sydney and perhaps it might come back in a month... it almost makes me want to go digital! Help!!! :smile:

Any assistance and advice appreciated.
 

Anon Ymous

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If I were you, I'd try making a film drying cabinet. If it's well sealed, it should be the best option.
 
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Wirelessly posted (BBBold: BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.297 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

'Course you need to get it to the cabinet.

I envisioned sealing the room. Might be a pain, but if it is practical then I say got for it.

The two things you need to concern yourself with most would be dust and water temperature. If you have no means to maintain 18-25C then there are more exotic recipes that you can make yourself.

Dust and temp. But, oh boy, is it worth it.
 

bdial

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When I lived in the California desert, my major dirt problem was in the water, but next was airborn dust.
If you don't have a filtered water supply, consider getting a table-top drinking water filter like a Brita, or a plumbed-in drinking water filter, or perhaps consider bottled water.
A simple way to deal with drying is to dry the film on the reel with the developing tank inverted over the reel(s). Elevate the reel a little over an inverted bowl or something to a allow a bit of air flow. Fortunately, since you're in a desert, drying won't take long.
The film will be curly from being dried on the reel, but will straighten once you sleeve it.

Another solution is a plastic closet wardrobe bag, similar to the one in the center here; http://www.shopgetorganized.com/item/closet_storage_bags/13959
 

timk

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bathrooms are great for drying film, especially if you have a shower cubicle, Just wet down as many surfaces as possible, use a wetting agent on the film after the final wash to speed up the drying times, shut the door behind you, it's probably going to be dry pretty quick. As soon as it's dry cut & sleeve the negs and put them away where dust can't get at them.
 
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mesh

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Thanks for the replies - much appreciated. I think I will give it a go with the suggestions. Will let you know how I go :smile:
 

Martin Aislabie

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Developing your own film and producing prints from them is terrific fun and hugely rewarding.

It’s really hard to totally ruin a film but it’s quite easy to mess it up enough to affect the quality of your work.

However, with a few simple precautions you will be able to produce workable negatives

The biggest problem you are going to have is dust.

You need to figure out how to keep your Developing Tanks, Changing Bag/Tent and associated equipment clean and dust free when not in use.

Probably need to investigate food containers with waterproof seals to keep the Dev Tanks and Changing Tent inside.

They need to be put away clean and absolutely dry, then when you want to use them, give the outside of the container and rinse under the tap, or a good wet dusting before opening with just washed and dried hands

A Changing Tent is probably better than a Changing Bag as you can easily wet dust (using a wet cloth microfiber duster) the inside of a Tent but not a cloth Bag

I use one of these Harrison Changing Tents - https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_list&c=161

Dust on stuff like Measuring Cylinders is fairly easy – you need to give them all a good wash just before you use them – as they are all designed to be used wet

As others have previously mentioned, a place to leave wet film to hang while it dries is essential, an empty wardrobe is almost perfect. It just needs a wet dusting inside and out before being used.

The whole room in which you are developing the film in and then drying it in will need to be wet dusted before you start – wet dusting gathers up the dust that has settled and gives airborne dust something to stick to.

Bathroom or Toilet is often a good place – somewhere with a sealed or linoleum covered floor – not carpets

All the water you use will have to be filtered for particles.

Temperature control of the Development process is best done by standing the Tanks/Measuring Cylinders and Chemicals in a cool tempering bath and using cooled water for the dilution water. A handy generous supply to ice cubes helps enormously.

For the final rinse (in conjunction with a wetting agent) it will be worth using the purest water you can manage – either Particle then Carbon Filtered or Bottled

Under your circumstances it will be better not to wipe the wet film with anything, so some wetting agent (to break the waters surface tension) for the final wash will be essential. Ilfotol is as good as any - http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/product.asp?n=44&t=Fixers+&+Sundry+Chemicals


Ilford have some quite useful information about how to process Black & White Film here - Dead Link Removed

Good luck :smile:

Martin
 

Willie Jan

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Any assistance and advice appreciated.

If I were you i would move to europe.:D
No sandstorms here (not yet).
2nd you will no longer be irritated by McLeod's Daughters :D

Maybe you should create a "wooden box" in the room which can be sealed from dust. Prevent all durst/sand is a fairy tale. even here the smallest opening causes durst and stuff to come inside when it storms.
Maybe an air conditioner would be nice in your situation.

Prevent that air can move through will prevent the most problems for you I guess. Maybe when drying film, you can use a dry cabinet.
 

Mike Wilde

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I have made a film drier that dries the 35mm/120 film on reels. A coffee can, with a cpu cooler fan in the bottom. A loose net bag of dessicant set in, then a spacer that holds the film reel a few inches above it. Set in the film reel, and put the lid back in the can. Open a day or two later. Some of the gelatine stiucks to the reels on the edge of the film, so the negs look a bit wierd on the edges, and the reels have to be washed to get teh gelatine off so it does not loosed and settle into the frame on the next reel processed. The crystals need to be regenerated, and just as I was prototyping the home stove oven was converted as a part of a gas range, so I quit testing once all my crystals soaked up moisture. The prior method was to put the electric stove on self clean with the crystals on an old baking sheet. The negs did dry dust free though.
 
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A drying cabinet and water is all you need. Filter both. Dust floating inside the drying cabinet is death because if it sticks to the emulsion and dries there, it will never come off.

So wipe down the inside of the cabinet witha painters tack cloth or damp sponge, then run filtered air before you put the film in. This should work perfectly if you follow exactly.
 
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mesh

mesh

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So it looks like I might get there with a bit of planning. I didn't even think about using water to wet the sides... I was asleep in grade 5 Science class :smile: Seriously though, you've all inspired me to have a go. Thanks.
 

Anscojohn

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Thanks for the replies - much appreciated. I think I will give it a go with the suggestions. Will let you know how I go :smile:
*******
Mesh,
Your dirt, water, and temp problems will be the ones needing to be solved. As others have said, they ARE solveable.
As a result of years of printing in less-than-ideal darkrooms, especially hotel bathrooms, I can assure you that, with care (and not much expense) professional-quality results are quite possible. Go to it.
 

Kevin Caulfield

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Mesh, where exactly are you? It must be remote if there's only one plane per week.
As you can see, you'll get plenty of help here, so keep asking questions and we'll try to help you.
 

removed account4

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you can get a plastic storage closet at a home goods store, and not put the shelves in it
they are less than $100 usd, and take about 20mins to assemble. put string across the top or
framer's wire and a few clothes pins .. you are in business.
they weigh about 10lbs ( if that ) and are easy to move around too. i have one and it works very well.

good luck!
john
 

mopar_guy

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I bet you could "make" a drying cabinet with visqueen plastic sheeting and duct tape. All you would need would be to build a frame for supporting the plastic and hanging the film. Should be easy to wipe down.
 
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