Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

Started Jul 24, 2014 | Discussions
fmian
fmian Senior Member • Posts: 1,551
Re: I think you had to be 13

Toccata47 wrote:

PS-the lab techs use to keep a box of "personal" photos they would cull as they processed negatives by hand...for qc purposes, of course. Totally gross.

Not surprisingly that still happens in the digital era.

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lumigraphics Senior Member • Posts: 2,843
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

I shot probably 100,000 images on film over the years, mostly Kodachrome 64 on 35mm and Provia 100 on 645. I never had any real problems getting good results. Other than my gear using autofocus now, I shoot pretty much the same way as I always have.

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David M. Converse
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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 19,099
Film is easy...

...I tend not to do darkroom work anymore...other than processing my b&w film for scanning.  Film however is easy.  Shoot it.  Send it in for processing and download the scans.  Dirt easy.

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bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: I think you had to be 13

MatsP wrote:

I have no statistics but my impression from travelling in the US, Canada and lots of European countries before the digital era is that Polaroid caneras were much more common among Americans than others. In my own country they were not very popular. People here used Instamatic or film compacts.

You traveled to America and Canada, but you didn't travel to every European country. You spoke of Europe as if it was somehow a country. Did you also travel to those countries in Europe with the purpose of gauging Polaroid use? As far as I know Polaroid was popular around the world. It filled a photographic niche that is not defined by borders, immediacy of results. That appealed to anyone. Even serious and professional photographers liked fooling around with Polaroids.

Regarding making enlarged prints: It's not very difficult make one technically. But I know of many talented and renown photographers who didn't trust their own skills but gladly handed over the print making to specialists to get the best out of their photos. One example is Christer Strömholm.

sure. Just saying darkroom printing is not difficult. It's just time consuming. It requires a lot of patience and discipline, something most younger people of today do not have.

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,694
my teaching frustration
2

I was teaching photography at a university back in the film days. One of the great frustration for me and my fellow teachers was the number of visually talented students who could not master the mechanics of photography. That and the number of talented photographers who gave it up after they no longer had access to a college darkroom.

In that sense I'm very pleased to see photography reach a point where almost anyone can express themselves.

Of course this is bad news for the old-timers who got by on technical facility. Very tough for those who made their living by this path, but on the whole good for photography, I think.

Gato

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"We paint with our brain, not with our hands" -- Michelangelo
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bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: I think you had to be 13

Toccata47 wrote:

bford wrote:

it wasn't even really worth developing your own film since it was so cheap just to get the film developed. Then you could do your own printing. The printing was the fun part.

I worked in a photo lab in college and can count on one hand the number of times someone asked for such.

I know many people who did that, especially for color negatives. It was economical to do so. I used to get film developed for a buck a roll. Well worth the time and hassle it saved.

It makes a lot more sense to pay for development in the digital age because scanners don't require dark rooms and associative chemicals. If you have those things already, you might as well save yourself a couple of trips and do it yourself in less time.

the point of getting my film developed at a lab was to simply save time and hassle. I paid little for the film to get developed and then I was ready to print. Printing was fun for me, not developing film.

PS-the lab techs use to keep a box of "personal" photos they would cull as they processed negatives by hand...for qc purposes, of course. Totally gross.

well, a person would be a fool to take such personal photos and have then developed at a lab

bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: I think you had to be 13

PVCdroid wrote:

bford wrote:

it wasn't even really worth developing your own film since it was so cheap just to get the film developed. Then you could do your own printing. The printing was the fun part.

As a teenager I used to buy my Tri-X in large rolls and load my own cartridges and then develop my own film. I would count to 40 or 42 clicks on the film roller and then get 38 shots to a roll of 35mm. That was pretty simple and saved quite a bit. If I were an adult at the time I probably would have had that paid for though but I didn't trust labs much except for color work.

Loading your own film cartridges was hardcore, even for those who developed their own film.

film developing would simply have taken up far more of my time than I felt was worth. I paid a buck a roll to get my film developed. The time and hassle to develop 10 rolls of film wasn't worth me saving 10 bucks, even back then. My darkroom was set up to do just the thing I enjoyed most, printing.

I do miss it. Perhaps in the future I may do it again. Right now though I'm really enjoying digital capture, editing, to traditional photo paper. I'm currently getting my prints done on Kodak's Endura. It's really nice paper and so far looks like it gives noticeably better pop than the Fuji's more commonly used Crystal Archive paper. I never could have imagined back in the film days getting so much better and easier results, especially for color. I'm stunned at how much better my scanned film prints look compared to the same prints done by the labs back then, even many of the professional ones.

bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

lumigraphics wrote:

I shot probably 100,000 images on film over the years, mostly Kodachrome 64 on 35mm and Provia 100 on 645. I never had any real problems getting good results. Other than my gear using autofocus now, I shoot pretty much the same way as I always have.

that's an impressive amount.

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David M. Converse
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bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: Film is easy...

Dave Luttmann wrote:

...I tend not to do darkroom work anymore...other than processing my b&w film for scanning. Film however is easy. Shoot it. Send it in for processing and download the scans. Dirt easy.

Yeah, but I think when people speak of film they are talking about analog for the whole process.

bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: my teaching frustration

Gato Amarillo wrote:

I was teaching photography at a university back in the film days. One of the great frustration for me and my fellow teachers was the number of visually talented students who could not master the mechanics of photography. That and the number of talented photographers who gave it up after they no longer had access to a college darkroom.

a shame since it was so easy to set up your own darkroom, even without the dedicated room. My first darkroom was in my bathroom and to save space my prints were developed in Cibachrome tubes on a rotary base. It took only a few minutes to set it up and put everything away.

In that sense I'm very pleased to see photography reach a point where almost anyone can express themselves.

yep.

Of course this is bad news for the old-timers who got by on technical facility. Very tough for those who made their living by this path, but on the whole good for photography, I think.

definitely, although I would like to see ink jets disappear though. The printer industry chose the wrong technology. They should have went with dye sub for continuous tone, better detail, and no clogged ink heads, among other reasons. A real shame since that forces me and many other people to continue to rely on labs for prints.

Gato

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"We paint with our brain, not with our hands" -- Michelangelo
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bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

PenPix wrote:

I worked most of my career processing film and printing pictures in commercial bulk, custom B&W, and 1-hour labs. Now i'm neck deep into digital printing. Contrary to your argument(?), I have seen photography improve with the introduction of digital cameras.

Because people are able to see their images right away, they are also able to retake and correct the mistakes they made. The result…. I see fewer garbage pictures than I did with film and I see more quality images than I did I did with film. instant feedback is an powerful learning tool.

Open your eyes and LOOK at the amazing pictures that are taken with digital cameras today. It's the artist who makes the painting, not the brush.

true. The level of quality photos has dramatically gone up.

(Just for the record I do not miss the film and chemistry days. After 15 years of that, digital is a breath of fresh air… literally. Some of those chemicals are dirty, noxious, and toxic.)

I"m guessing most were. I cringe when I see old movies of photographers putting their hands into the developing tray to grab their prints. I had the safest method of developing my prints since I used Cibachrome tubes for my b/w. Never got any of the chemicals on me and never had to work under a safe light.

bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

PVCdroid wrote:

PenPix wrote:

I worked most of my career processing film and printing pictures in commercial bulk, custom B&W, and 1-hour labs. Now i'm neck deep into digital printing. Contrary to your argument(?), I have seen photography improve with the introduction of digital cameras.

Because people are able to see their images right away, they are also able to retake and correct the mistakes they made. The result…. I see fewer garbage pictures than I did with film and I see more quality images than I did I did with film. instant feedback is an powerful learning tool.

Open your eyes and LOOK at the amazing pictures that are taken with digital cameras today. It's the artist who makes the painting, not the brush.

(Just for the record I do not miss the film and chemistry days. After 15 years of that, digital is a breath of fresh air… literally. Some of those chemicals are dirty, noxious, and toxic.)

Absolutely. These young whipper snappers (lol) don't know how easy they've got it. It was a PITA and required patience and a real dedication to the hobby or profession. It's a very simple process now. I would estimate most on these forums would not have gone to that extent.

yep. Young people today don't even have the patience and discipline to put their phone down. Sad.

Clearly there were labs for professionals and amateurs, especially for color and few did their own color work. What is lacking now is a creativeness to the process. I see so many that are so involved in pixel analysis instead of the creative nature of photography. I view photographers now as nerds. I viewed photographers before digital as artists.

Yep. I like getting the best technical quality pictures that I can get but it amazes me today how so many former computer geeks now see themselves as all knowledgable photographers just because photos are digital and instead of a darkroom software is being used to develop their pictures.

bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: One word: POLAROID

contadorfan wrote:

Weegee wrote:

Finally, there was nothing like an evening set aside to make prints. The tools included a bottle of Jack Daniels, some Miles Davis vinyl 33rpm albums and a good sodium vapor safe light. At the end of the night I had 7 good prints and 40 mediocre ones in the wastebasket.

Those were the days!

You sound more like W. Eugene Smith than Weegee. Except I think he liked vodka. In his later years, he had a tv with a red cellophane wrapper on the screen so he could watch tv while printing.

lol, that's funny and awesome.

But music was a favorite companion in the darkroom.

definitely. The same still goes in my light room.

bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

MisterBG wrote:

star shooter wrote:

While it's sad to see the demise of film, chemicals and darkroom work, I wonder how many could master film as good as they do now with digital. Not many I reckon.

Don't judge others by your own ability

Digital has in many ways, allowed many more to ge into the art but it has also made us lazy too, in the way we expect an instant picture and if we don't like we take another.

Nothing wrong with that. With film you had to wait hours or days to see your results, by which time it was too late to take an alternative.
If digital has opened up the possibility of photography to many more people it can only be a good thing, but please don't mistake it for art.

But let's roll back to a time when you had no idea if the image was good until the film was developed and fix then inspected under the enlarger. Back then those who could take on a job and produce results and when a prof. photog. was in great demand, are all gone.

Professional photographers used to take hundreds of shots in the hope that a handful met their brief.
Amateurs could not afford that approach.
With digital there is the ability to take as many shots as you like, effectively at no cost.

not entirely true. Digital cameras also have limited shutter activations. It's actually quite easy to reach such limits with the way so many people take pictures today. But yeah, still easier and much cheaper than with film.

In the days of film I was always aware of the cost when I pressed the shutter release, and I was slightly inhibited by it.
The advent of digital has allowed me to experiment much more and I believe my photography has improved as a result.

In a world that expects instant results, digital photography has unfortunately, created a race of mind-sets that after a few takes, they go about calling themselves 'prof. photographers' How pathetic.

Agree, but I'm not sure that you can blame digital specifically for that.
Many people seem to append the word "photography" to their signature as if it makes them something special.
The definition of "Professional Photographer" is simple - it is someone who earns the majority of their income from the business of photography.

Look how the wedding photog. industry has suffered from el cheapo digital shutterbugs. More and more of the profession is being lost to those who think because they have a wiz bang setup, they're God's gift to the art. How pathetic.

Wedding photography is not "art" it's purely record photography.
Any "art" might come from the ability to arrange poses and settings.

PenPix Senior Member • Posts: 3,261
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

bford wrote

I"m guessing most were. I cringe when I see old movies of photographers putting their hands into the developing tray to grab their prints. I had the safest method of developing my prints since I used Cibachrome tubes for my b/w. Never got any of the chemicals on me and never had to work under a safe light.

You're right about early photography.  Chemistry at the turn of the century included potassium cyanide and chlorine!

For modern chemistry, Kodachrome was the worse while black and white is actually quite safe in comparison.  If you read the MSDS sheets for modern ink printers, the adverse effect is "irritant".  Much better than death by cyanide.

The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 19,099
Re: my teaching frustration

bford wrote:

Gato Amarillo wrote:

I was teaching photography at a university back in the film days. One of the great frustration for me and my fellow teachers was the number of visually talented students who could not master the mechanics of photography. That and the number of talented photographers who gave it up after they no longer had access to a college darkroom.

a shame since it was so easy to set up your own darkroom, even without the dedicated room. My first darkroom was in my bathroom and to save space my prints were developed in Cibachrome tubes on a rotary base. It took only a few minutes to set it up and put everything away.

In that sense I'm very pleased to see photography reach a point where almost anyone can express themselves.

yep.

Of course this is bad news for the old-timers who got by on technical facility. Very tough for those who made their living by this path, but on the whole good for photography, I think.

definitely, although I would like to see ink jets disappear though. The printer industry chose the wrong technology. They should have went with dye sub for continuous tone, better detail, and no clogged ink heads, among other reasons. A real shame since that forces me and many other people to continue to rely on labs for prints.

A little homework would bave shown you that current inkjet tech offers higher resolution the dye sub.

Gato

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bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: my teaching frustration

Dave Luttmann wrote:

bford wrote:

Gato Amarillo wrote:

I was teaching photography at a university back in the film days. One of the great frustration for me and my fellow teachers was the number of visually talented students who could not master the mechanics of photography. That and the number of talented photographers who gave it up after they no longer had access to a college darkroom.

a shame since it was so easy to set up your own darkroom, even without the dedicated room. My first darkroom was in my bathroom and to save space my prints were developed in Cibachrome tubes on a rotary base. It took only a few minutes to set it up and put everything away.

In that sense I'm very pleased to see photography reach a point where almost anyone can express themselves.

yep.

Of course this is bad news for the old-timers who got by on technical facility. Very tough for those who made their living by this path, but on the whole good for photography, I think.

definitely, although I would like to see ink jets disappear though. The printer industry chose the wrong technology. They should have went with dye sub for continuous tone, better detail, and no clogged ink heads, among other reasons. A real shame since that forces me and many other people to continue to rely on labs for prints.

A little homework would bave shown you that current inkjet tech offers higher resolution the dye sub.

my Epson sprays down to 1.5 pico liters and it doesn't come close to the continuous tone of dye sub.  my old little portable $100 Kodak dye sub printer had far better detail.

Gato

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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 19,099
Re: my teaching frustration
4

bford wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

bford wrote:

Gato Amarillo wrote:

I was teaching photography at a university back in the film days. One of the great frustration for me and my fellow teachers was the number of visually talented students who could not master the mechanics of photography. That and the number of talented photographers who gave it up after they no longer had access to a college darkroom.

a shame since it was so easy to set up your own darkroom, even without the dedicated room. My first darkroom was in my bathroom and to save space my prints were developed in Cibachrome tubes on a rotary base. It took only a few minutes to set it up and put everything away.

In that sense I'm very pleased to see photography reach a point where almost anyone can express themselves.

yep.

Of course this is bad news for the old-timers who got by on technical facility. Very tough for those who made their living by this path, but on the whole good for photography, I think.

definitely, although I would like to see ink jets disappear though. The printer industry chose the wrong technology. They should have went with dye sub for continuous tone, better detail, and no clogged ink heads, among other reasons. A real shame since that forces me and many other people to continue to rely on labs for prints.

A little homework would bave shown you that current inkjet tech offers higher resolution the dye sub.

my Epson sprays down to 1.5 pico liters and it doesn't come close to the continuous tone of dye sub. my old little portable $100 Kodak dye sub printer had far better detail.

Gato

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"We paint with our brain, not with our hands" -- Michelangelo
Portrait, figure and fantasy photography at Silver Mirage Gallery:
silvermirage.com

The Epson can lay down, with piezographic inks, over 720ppi in rez...more than your Kodak dye sub...in fact, even with K3 inkset, it'll beat your Kodak dye sub. Sorry, but you are completely mistaken.

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bford Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: my teaching frustration

Dave Luttmann wrote:

bford wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

bford wrote:

Gato Amarillo wrote:

I was teaching photography at a university back in the film days. One of the great frustration for me and my fellow teachers was the number of visually talented students who could not master the mechanics of photography. That and the number of talented photographers who gave it up after they no longer had access to a college darkroom.

a shame since it was so easy to set up your own darkroom, even without the dedicated room. My first darkroom was in my bathroom and to save space my prints were developed in Cibachrome tubes on a rotary base. It took only a few minutes to set it up and put everything away.

In that sense I'm very pleased to see photography reach a point where almost anyone can express themselves.

yep.

Of course this is bad news for the old-timers who got by on technical facility. Very tough for those who made their living by this path, but on the whole good for photography, I think.

definitely, although I would like to see ink jets disappear though. The printer industry chose the wrong technology. They should have went with dye sub for continuous tone, better detail, and no clogged ink heads, among other reasons. A real shame since that forces me and many other people to continue to rely on labs for prints.

A little homework would bave shown you that current inkjet tech offers higher resolution the dye sub.

my Epson sprays down to 1.5 pico liters and it doesn't come close to the continuous tone of dye sub. my old little portable $100 Kodak dye sub printer had far better detail.

Gato

-- hide signature --

"We paint with our brain, not with our hands" -- Michelangelo
Portrait, figure and fantasy photography at Silver Mirage Gallery:
silvermirage.com

The Epson can lay down, with piezographic inks, over 720ppi in rez...more than your Kodak dye sub...

sounds good, in theory.

in fact, even with K3 inkset, it'll beat your Kodak dye sub. Sorry, but you are completely mistaken.

No, I'm not mistaken. My eyes can clearly see the difference. Inkjet is not continuos tone. Dye sub is, and so is traditional photo paper. If you only view your images from a distance then inkjet would work for you.

With dye sub you also never had to worry about banding, clogged ink heads and color shifts under different lighting conditions. Inkjet is also a money pit for the average consumer.

JoEick Regular Member • Posts: 175
Re: Film Photography: How any could masrer film and darkroom work?

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