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Building a darkroom

Slawek Dejneka · July 10, 2023 · Darkroom · 0 comments

It happened to me recently that I started building my darkroom. This post will be about this exciting journey ending with new lovely place where I can create new prints.

De Vere 705 enlarger

This is my De Vere 705 darkroom enlarger that I have from my Friend. It has an LED light source that I bought on Amazon. If you need one, I recommend to choose the model with 5500K (Kelvin) or higher light temperature as light that it gives is quite soft and you need that extra contrast. Since photographic paper is sensitive the most to the blue light to give higher contrast, the higher the light temperature the more color it gives goes towards blue. You won’t see it with a bare eye, but that’s true. You’ll get easier prints of good contrast, which you can lower with filters if you need.

Usually you need to increase contrast rather then reduce it, so it is easier this way…

The whole journey about building a darkroom

has started with this 150 years old garage. It has an original flint wall and needed a lot of attention before can be used as a darkroom.

garage converted into darkroom
Garage that is going to be converted into darkroom.

Its content had little to do with a darkroom.

converting garage into darkroom
Garage before it’s been converted into darkroom.

The whole roof had to be taken down and all tiles needed to be taken off the roof.

Roof before commencing the work.

After a few long weeks

…my darkroom has started resembling a darkroom. It was long period it was great to see how all wall, floor and everything were going to be finished soon.

Darkroom in its early stage…

Here is an evidence that I had a night visitor when the concrete floor was still wet… a cat popped in to check the progress 🙂

Cats finger prints on the floor.
Focomat IIc and ProCo film dryer.

Here are two Leitz Focomat IIc enlargers. My dear Friend years ago has advised me that, it is a good idea to have each type of light source if you have enough space in a darkroom. It happened to me that I have enough space. I have one Focomat with Ilford Multigrade 500 light head. The other one has an original condenser head, which is superb and gives really different look of the final print – more grainy and ‘harder’ I would say. It gives however, around 1 step higher contrast, but it is giving also higher local contrast, you have a feeling that the whole print is much more contrasty then it actually is.
If you haven’t tried this, do that as soon as possible so you can make different prints depending what you want to achieve.

Richards darkroom sinks

Here are my sinks and developing trays where I make all images. All still needs time to find its places, but I’m getting there…

I already know that lots of things will change yet, including part of the layout as my Friend has promised me some gifts…. 🙂

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