Hey everyone! I haven’t posted anything in a little while and it’s been for good reason - my wife and I closed on our first and moved in over the last month. One of the reasons we were so excited about the house is it would give us each a room for our hobbies, of which we both have many. This meant a photography room for me with space for a closet darkroom! I’ve had darkroom equipment for 2 years but never had space to use it, so while I’ve developed many rolls of film so far I have never actually done a darkroom print. Last night I was finally able to change that.
I have so far only used caffenol as a developer, which is a homemade brew of coffee and vitamin C that actually does a pretty good job with black & white film in my experience. Since I had nothing else on hand (and the darkroom closet isn’t really ventilated yet) I decided to whip up a batch last night and try out the enlarger for the first time. For paper I have about 100 sheets of old kodak paper that came for free with one of the enlargers. I had no idea if the old paper would even work, let alone when developed in caffenol. To my surprise after a minute or so of sitting in my coffee soup I actually started to get an image. It works!
I’ve got a lot to learn... I realized only afterwards that both images were printed mirror image to what they should be, so the text is backwards. Oops! The images were also fairly low contrast, which I’m guessing could be the old paper, the weakish developer, or any number of things. Still, I can make prints! In my closet! With coffee! Much more experimenting will have to commence soon. I’ve already ordered a couple more 8x10 trays so I can add some water baths between steps and a bottle of real ilford developer. I want to compare the caffenol with something commercial and standard, but ideally I want to continue with the coffee soup as it doesn’t really smell much and there’s no bad fumes. I used citric acid as a stop bath and plain Hypo fixer, neither of which smell much so the whole thing was pretty closet friendly (not to mention cheap). So cool!
The other half of the room has my computer desk for digital editing, film camera collection storage, and a small studio space where I’m playing around with product photography. I’ve got my first ever art display coming up next month at a local coffee shop, so I’ll soon take over the space with matting supplies. Too bad I have to leave the room and go to this “work” thing...