Friday, May 24, 2013

My own darkroom! Really!

Remember when we used to take our 35mm film to the local drugstore for developing? When I wasn't looking, film developing became a boutique service not easily found in my town. Only one store handles film, and it costs about $15 to develop a roll and get the photos on disc. Sending my film out took a month and cost $12 per roll. The results were great, but the cost and turnaround time were frustrating.

As you know, I recently rediscovered film photography about two years ago. I own a bunch of nifty Lomography cameras, an Electro 35 from the early 70s, and a Canon Rebel SLR. I have been experimenting with different films and processes, but never at home. Then I did the math and realized how inexpensive it would be to set up a home dark room.

I started with this Pinterest board, where I pinned all of my research and created my own little self-study course. I watched dozens of videos, visited a camera shop, and talked to film veterans who knew a thing or two about processing.

Then I went shopping. Before I knew it, I had my own little darkroom, complete with developing tanks, reels, chemicals, and all kinds of helpful little gadgets. It looks something like this:

I am starting with C-41 processing, which is what you use with color negative film. I also want to try E6 for cross-processing when I gather more confidence.

A camera store owner in York, PA recommended this tank and reel set, so I can develop 120 and 35mm film:

I added some Lomography posters for inspiration...

And now I am ready to go! And yes, I do realize that I am the only person who repurposes a perfectly good third bathroom to make a dark room. I am awesomely weird that way.

Check out my Pinterest board for links to some helpful and interesting tutorials, videos, and how-to guides that will get you started with film developing. And watch this blog for updates as I dive into the deep end of home film processing! Thanks for reading!

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