Tag Archives: darkroom

Link Roundup 08-23-2010

Okay… these are a little old, but I’m just getting back on the ball with my feed reading and link sharing. I have plenty more coming, but I didn’t want to push them all out at once.

On a side note, we’re also going to get the Flickr Challenge going again. The current challenge is “environmental portraits” — you can read the announcement here and see the current entries in the pool. I’ll be choosing the winners sometime this week.

Link Roundup 06-27-2010

Link Roundup 05-15-2010

My Photography Resolutions for 2010

New Year’s Resolutions… so cliche, I know. But you can’t deny that the turn of the year is a good time to evaluate your life and make some goals for the next year. I’m in the process of defining my photography goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, in part thanks to Andrew Boyd and his list of “Photographer’s New Year’s Resolutions” (and it seems as though his goals are very much in line with my own). I find that writing them down helps me out, so here are my big ones for 2010.

TAKE MORE PHOTOS

Shooting the Argus C3

After pulling together my favorite photos from the past year, I realized that I had been very passive about taking photos. Several months were filled with family photos, but no art/commercial photos. The reason for this is because I didn’t make the effort to get out and take photos of new things. So this year, I’m planning on getting out there more often, either by myself or with friends.

I also want to get the kids taking more photos. They both shoot 35mm now, and they love to print their stuff in the darkroom. The problem is that I don’t take them out enough to have a good base of negatives to choose from.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

At best, I can probably afford to get out once each week with the the cameras. At worst, I should be hitting twice per month. I’ll be making an effort to head out each weekend, even if just for a local walk-around to fire off a single roll of film. I’m also going to be bringing the kids with me more often so they can start building up their archive for printing. And every one or two months, I want to do a bigger outing that requires me to be out most of the day shooting.

PRINT MORE PHOTOS

The Darkroom

I’ve been investing a lot of time and money into my darkroom, so I should make better use of it. At first, I was getting in there a few times each week learning how it all works. Lately, I’ll be lucky to print something once every two months. This sucks, mostly because the chemicals go bad before I can finish them and I waste even more money. And now that I’m almost ready to print color in addition to b/w, I’ll need to be a lot better about conserving money for those expensive chemicals and papers.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

I think at least one night per week is a reasonable goal. This will allow me to keep producing a constant flow of prints (most of which are for my personal portfolio or living room wall). I’ll probably also have to allot one of these nights per month to develop film since I’m doing my own b/w and color stuff now. The rotary processor will allow me to run more rolls at once, so a month’s worth of film in one night shouldn’t be unreasonable.

NO NEW EQUIPMENT

I Don't Have A Problem...

I have a confession to make… I have G.A.S. Yes, it’s true. I can’t help myself when I see a good deal on a great piece of equipment — I just have to buy it. I do use most of the stuff I’ve purchased, but I also have a cabinet full of cameras that rarely get used because there are so many of them. At this point, I pretty much have all the cameras I could need. The only thing I’ve been craving lately is a large format camera, but that needs to be put on hold for a while.

I’m also just about there with the darkroom and I don’t anticipate needing any big ticket items. The last outstanding item is a power supply for the dichro head. After that, I’m all set for b/w and color, film developing, and prints up to 16×20″. This is another reason I don’t want a large format camera yet — my current setup is only good up to medium format (large format will require a whole new enlarger).

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

Well, hopefully I can resist the temptation to buy new toys. I’ve been really good about it lately, and the last purchase was the rotary processor for the darkroom. I haven’t bought any cameras for a while, so I think I’m in a good position to keep it up. I’ll have to keep buying film, paper, and chemicals, but the cost of developing my own color film should go down from $4/roll (at the lab) to $1/roll (in my darkroom).

TURN MORE PROFIT

Analog Fruits

There are two ways to turn a higher profit: make more money, or spend less money. So this resolution includes a little bit of both. I’ve been doing the photography and blogging thing for a few years now, but I don’t have much to show for it. My hobby barely pays for itself at this point, but I’m also spending every bit of my free time doing it. I wouldn’t mind making a few extra bucks by the end of the year.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

The “spend less money” part is basically the point above: no new equipment. If I can manage to follow through, my profits should be considerably higher. The “make more money” part needs to come from selling photos and selling advertising space on the blog (I actually make more with the blog than with my photos). I’ve been slacking on my ImageKind uploads and Fine Art Photoblog posts (I don’t do stock, I just can’t get the hang of it) — so I need to spend more time on those things. I also need to make this blog more profitable because I know it makes far less than what it could. I have a plan for this point, but I’ll lay it out later this month.

MAKE TIME FOR BLOGGING

Brian Auer

I spend far more time blogging about photography than I spend actually taking or working on photos. This thing is a huge time-sink, but I won’t give it up anytime soon. I’ve learned so much and met so many awesome people through blogging. My problem is having enough time to do it. I would love to spend every night with a clear agenda and a head full of ideas to write about, but that just isn’t the case.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

First off, I need to be more productive and more organized about my time spent blogging. I usually just get around to it whenever I can, writing up the articles right before I publish them. This is not a good way to blog. I need to set aside at least 2.5 nights per week to write content, answer emails, update software, brainstorm, proofread, feed-read, etc. Eventually, I need to work my way back up to having a few finished articles in the queue at any given time.

MAKE MORE TIME OFF

Jake

I have a full time job, a family, plus all this other junk. So I thoroughly enjoy my time off when I can afford to take it. Every once in a while I’ll just drop everything and lay around for a few days watching movies or playing video games… then I spend a solid week catching up on things. This sucks. I need to give myself breaks and nights off here and there so I don’t burn out and go AWOL.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

It ultimately boils down to the fact that I need to schedule my time better. Work time means work, lazy time means no work. I’ve scheduled my time in the past, but it never stuck because it was either too aggressive or too inflexible. Having a family to look after means that my time comes second, so I have to be flexible with it. But seriously, I love turning off the computer and wasting time with movies and video games.

THE FINAL VERDICT

It’s obvious to me that I need a schedule of some sort. Like I said, I want it to be somewhat flexible, but I also want to cover my bases each week so I don’t put off the important things for too long. What I came up with is a method of blocking off 2 or 4 hours at a time for individual tasks (and the day job eating up 8-9 hours). Some of the pieces can be moved around from day to day so I can adapt to my seemingly chaotic life. Here’s a sample of what my week might look like… keeping in mind that “day job” and “family” time blocks are universal constants and completely inflexible.

I’ll have to give it a shot for a few weeks to see if the time blocks work out for me. But the idea is that each block of time can be moved around to any day of the week to accommodate my life at that time. Oh, and this is also assuming about 16 hours of blocked time, 6 hours of sleep, and 2 hours of “who knows what” time that manages to escape me every day (probably eating food or something else stupid like that).

What about you guys? Do you have any “New Year Resolutions” for 2010? And are you so busy that you have to schedule your time with chunks of paper?

Special Offer: Analog Prints for $25 Each

Old Bessie

After spending countless hours in the darkroom over the last few months, I’ve come to a point where I’m ready to offer up a few prints at a discount. I’ve learned a lot of new things and I’ve experimented on a fair amount of prints. At this point, I’m comfortable making a good looking print from most of my shots (there are a few that I still can’t get totally right).

Taking a look back at my film shots, I’ve picked out 10 photos for this print offer. These 10 either did well on Flickr (lots of interest in the comments), or they’re a personal favorite of mine. In any case, I tried to choose a good mix of genres and subjects — so hopefully you can find something you like.

LIMITED-TIME OFFER

I’ll be taking orders for this special offer for 2 weeks — so the cutoff is around April 17, 2009. This is a one-time offer for these particular prints, though I may or may not do something like this again in the future with different prints.

As an extra-special offer, I’ll throw in a second print of your choice at no additional cost — but only for the first 3 days! So if you want two prints for the price of one, get your order in by April 4, 2009. Just purchase one print and I’ll email you asking for your second selection (they can be two different prints). UPDATE: The 2 for 1 deal is over, but you can still get single prints!

ABOUT THE PRINTS

Again, all of these prints are produced in the darkroom using an optical enlarger with high quality lenses. These are not digital prints from film or print scans — I’ll be creating each one by hand using the old analog techniques.

The paper measures 8″ x 10″ and the prints have a 3/16″ border all around. This leaves about 7-5/8″ x 9-5/8″ of actual print, and most 8×10 frames are 7-1/2″ x 9-1/2″ so they should fit perfectly without showing border. The square prints measure 8″ x 8″.

The photos are printed on Ilford MGIV Deluxe RC Pearl Finish paper, so they have a little bit of shine to them while being a bit more scratch resistant than glossy paper. Though the paper is not archival quality fibre paper, I would expect these prints to last many years without signs of aging.

The prints are not signed, and they are not limited editions. If that’s what you’re looking for, you can still get one at regular price any time — but I may do a similar special offer for discounted signed prints in the near future.

PRINT SELECTIONS – $25 EACH

What you see below is pretty much what you’ll get — these are actually print scans and I tried to match the tones as close as possible. That said, the prints still look different… but in a good way.

To purchase, just click the button next to the print and you’ll be whisked away to PayPal for the transaction. Once that payment goes through, I’ll email you with a confirmation. I’ll ship to anywhere in the world at no extra cost. If you guys have any questions, just let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: The print offer has officially passed. If you would still like a print from the images below, please contact me directly.

AUERPRINT-081029-11

“A Dreary World”

AUERPRINT-081029-05

“Metal and Glass”

AUERPRINT-090228-04

“Broken Phone”

AUERPRINT-080901-05

“Sailfish”

AUERPRINT-080629-28

“It’s Lonely Out Here”

AUERPRINT-090117-13

“Reaching Rays”

AUERPRINT-080816-08

“Merry-Go-Round”

AUERPRINT-080601-08

“Big White Boxes”

AUERPRINT-080601-33

“What Lies Beyond”

AUERPRINT-080802-05

“Rescue Board”

NOTE: Feed readers may not be able to display the purchase buttons — please visit the website to order prints.

Build a Film Developing Kit for Under $50

12-step bathroom-sink-darkroom program
Creative Commons License photo credit: willsfca

The intent of this article is to present a list of one-time expenses for developing your own black & white film. I would guess that many people shy away from film photography because of the cost or difficulty. And I agree that it can get quite expensive if you have somebody else develop your film (if you can manage to find them, especially b/w).

But film photography doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve already shown that there are a huge number of film cameras out there for under $50, and I wanted to see if I could put together a list of film developing supplies for the same price tag. After a few minutes of research, whad’ya know? Again, for under $50, we can put together a set of black and white film developing equipment. So let’s dig in!

THE BARE ESSENTIALS

LARGE MEASURING CUP

You’ll need at least one of these measurement cups (or beakers) to measure out the water for your chemicals. I’d suggest getting a 600ml version so you can use it for double batches or 120 film. You can get 3 of these (1 for each chemical solutuion), but if you’re cheap (like me) you can use old plastic cups for holding the chemicals after they’ve been measured.

$9
SMALL GRADUATED CYLINDER

This guys is used for measuring out the concentrate chemicals, since you might be needing anywhere from 10-100ml of concentrate (if you’re using liquid concentrate supplies). Just be sure to rinse between chemical pours and clean very well before measuring out the developer.

$3
THERMOMETER

These cheap-ass thermometers work just fine. They take a while to register the actual temperature, but they work. They’re also a handy little stir stick.

$5
FILM REEL

The cheap film reels will bend-up pretty easily, but something is better than nothing. Just like lenses, buy the best you can afford (you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration).

$10
DEVELOPING TANK

I’m hooked on the steel tanks. You can beat the hell out of them and they keep on truckin’. You can really slam them down on the counter to knock the air bubbles off of the film after your inversions.

$10
HANGING CLIPS

I use these clips for film and print. They’re pretty gnarly, but they have quite a grip. Useful for when you’re wiping down the film at the end.

$6
DRYING CLOTH

I’ve tried the film squeegees, but they always seem to leave a bunch of water spots. I like to wipe down the non-emulsion side of my wet film with a good clean micro-fiber cloth to take care of water spots.

$5
TOTAL $48

OK, so those are the absolute minimum equipment requirements for developing your own black & white film. There are definitely some other items that will make your life easier, but those things aren’t always necessary. Again, these things above are the one-time equipment costs. Immediately below, you’ll find a list of consumable items that you’ll have to buy up-front and periodically throughout your film developing adventures.

CONSUMABLES

DEVELOPER

Use whatever developer you want, but I prefer to use Ilford’s Ilfosol 3 solution for most of my film. The stuff works great on fine-grain film. The only downside is that it’s less versatile than other developers… and it’s a one-shot.

$8
STOP BATH

Stop baths aren’t as important as the developer, but they do a critical job. I like to stick with the Ilford stop bath just for consistency. * Water can also be used if a stop bath is not available.

$6
FIXER

Like the stop bath, fixers aren’t extremely important, but I like to stay with my brand. You can choose whatever fixer you want. * To clarify this statement, I meant that which specific fixer you choose isn’t as important as which developer you use.

$10
WETTING AGENT

For those of us with really hard water, a wetting agent can be a life saver. This little solution helps to clear your film of hard-water deposits while making it dry faster.

$8

* Added for clarification based on reader comments

Remember, these are things that you’ll use-up over and over again (in addition to film). They’re actually pretty cheap, but you have to remember to keep them stocked so you don’t run out and inconvenience yourself. In addition to these consumable items, I’ve got a list of “luxury” items below that might make your “film developing” life easier, but they aren’t completely necessary (unless you’re a film addict).

LUXURY ITEMS

CAN OPENER

These are nice to have when trying to pry the bottom off the film cassette in complete darkness. But you can also use some types of regular bottle openers to get the job done.

$11
DELUXE REEL

Like I said before, buy the best reel you can afford. Get the cheap ones and you’ll be fighting with the film after a couple of rolls. These expensive ones are built to take typical abuse.

$20
DOUBLE TANK

If you shoot a lot of 35mm film (or medium format film), you might consider buying a double tank rather than a single tank. These guys will fit two 35mm reels or one 120 reel. Handy for saving some extra time and effort.

$14
MEDIUM FORMAT REEL

And of course if you’re shooting medium format, you’ll need a medium format film reel. These guys are easier to load than the 35mm reels, but sill buy a decent one.

$13
CHANGING BAG

Changing bags are helpful if you don’t want to seal off a whole room (which is a requirement for loading film on a reel). I don’t have one of these, but it sure would save me some time.

$16
ARCHIVE SHEETS

Of course, after you develop you film you’ll need somewhere to put it. Use archival quality sleeves to preserve your negatives. And use the 7×5 sheets so you can make contact prints later in your career (yes, I made the mistake of using 6×6 sheets and I’m now regretting it).

$10

I could probably go on and on about all the other pieces of equipment that would make developing easier, but we’ll cut it off right here. The point is, you can shoot and develop your own black and white film for a relatively inexpensive upfront cost. Operating costs beyond that are fairly minimal, with the actual film being the most expensive component.

Birthday Gift #3 – Three Analog Prints

Analog Fruits

These are NOT the prints I’m offering, the photo above is just for illustration purposes. Winners of the raffle get to pick ANY photo of mine to be printed.

So… I’ve been wasting spending a lot of time in the darkroom over the last few months, and I think it’s appropriate that I offer up some prints for a birthday present. Here’s the deal — I’ll give out three 8×10 black and white prints, the winners get to choose the photo… any photo. These aren’t pre-printed, so I’ll make the prints once I pick the winners and they choose the photo they’d like. And the catch? Well, the prints won’t be signed and they’re printed on resin coated paper rather than fiber paper.

Metal and Glass It's Lonely Out Here A Dreary World Cruisers Subway Shuffle Rescue Board

What’s all that mean? They’re basically just decoration photos — they’re not worth much from a collector standpoint. I’ve already decided that I won’t sign anything but fiber paper. It doesn’t mean that the prints won’t look good or last quite a while. It just means that they’re not signed, limited, and guaranteed to last longer than you. So if you’re up for a free decoration print, feel free to browse my stuff on Flickr:

Take your pick, anything goes… except for photos of my family and stuff. The b/w photos will look pretty close to what you see on Flickr. The green xpro photos tend to turn out pretty cool too — really high contrast. I didn’t include regular color film in the links because it doesn’t turn out well when printed in b/w.

TO ENTER THE RAFFLE…

Just leave a comment on this post and let me know you’d like a print of your choice. Worldwide raffle entries are welcome. I’ll choose the three random winners in one week from this post date.

And I’d appreciate hearing from you which print you might like to have. This type of feedback is useful to me so I can better understand what people are interested in. And if you’re looking for a signed limited print… I just might offer up one of those in another post… who knows?

Will You Help Me Stock My Darkroom?

I’ve got an enlarger and a whole mess of film, so it’s about time that I start making black & white prints. This is something I’ve been anxious to do since I started shooting film earlier this year. The problem is that I’ve only got the enlarger and none of the other items necessary to make a print.

It's Lonely Out HereWhat Lies BeyondMetro TimetablesKiteboarderMarlinSubway Shuffle

After pricing things out, I’ve determined that it will cost about $300 to have a fully stocked darkroom (aka the kids bathroom). That’s a chunk of change that I can’t fully justify quite yet, so I’ve devised a plan that could make it possible — but it all depends on you guys.

Big White BoxesRescue BoardThe LifeguardBeach GhostsLifeguardCount the Lines

I’m considering offering black & white prints (silver gelatin process using traditional darkroom methods) at a seriously low price for a very limited time. My hope is that I can raise enough money to cover the cost of the darkroom supplies and maybe a little extra so I can buy film developing supplies too.

IF there seems to be enough interest, I’ll probably offer the following items from my collection of public b/w film photos:

  • $20 for an 8 x 10 print, not signed
  • $100 for a 16 x 20 or 11 x 14 print, signed and limited

The price includes shipping, to any location (I’m assuming that the average cost of shipping will be less than $10). If I go ahead and do this, I’ll probably take orders for a month or two at the rates listed above. After that point, only signed prints will be available at the typical $300+ range (because they are limited prints, typically 30 to 50). So…

{democracy:58}

And as always, feel free to comment on this little experiment before I decide to pull the trigger.