Could I Build a Darkroom in a Storage Shed?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mvocouch, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. mvocouch

    mvocouch TPF Noob!

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    I am not a photographer; I am a writer. I am currently participating a story project with other writers where each writer writes a story about a storage unit in a storage facility.

    The character who owns the storage unit is a photographer, and I wanted to see if he may have turned the unit into a dark room. So far I have determined: no. There is no running water, and no ventilation. It just wouldn't be a practical space. But if it is at all possible to get around those problems, the character certainly would, so I wanted to check with some actual photographers.

    If all else fails I will simply have the unit be a storage space where he keeps his dark room supplies.


     
  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Depends on how elaborate you want. You can have a "darkroom in a bag" if all you want to do is develop film. I had a darkroom in a small closet for awhile, until I could afford to build larger space, and utilized a buckets for water when needed.
     
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  3. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    maybe you can write it that he just drops it off at the lab *LOL*
    i wouldn't use a darkroom with no ventilation or running water.
     
  4. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, while running water is necessary as a final wash for film and prints, one can perform the final wash in a different facility as long as the film/print doesn't dry out. For printing, you will have four trays, one for developer, the second for a stop bath or water rinse, the third for fixer and a fourth for transporting the fixed prints for a final water bath. i.e. Dump the prints into a tray walk outside to a hose, turn on hose, put hose into tray. Viola! A water bath. Film is even easier. The main problem for printing is dumping the liquids from the trays as spillage is easy. But, as this is a storage facility ... who cares ... :cool-48:

    The awkward part of using a storage facility is dumping the used liquids. A trash can lined with a plastic bag would have a large opening to minimize spillage and the trash bag is easily removed and disposable. The photog would need additional bags for the trays as they would need to be rinsed after every use. A large tupperware type container (one with a watertight lid would be most useful transporting the wet prints to the final wash. Jugs of water can be stored in the unit for dilution of developer and rinse for film and prints. Another hurdle is the storage unit should be HVAC-ed as temperature is some critical for film development. In a city like San Diego, HVAC would be as critical as HVAC in Chicago/New York/Et Al.

    As you are the creator of the photog and darkroom, with a simple flourish of the hand, you can bestow a MacGyver-esque ability/charm to your photog, with which the photog can MacGyver stuff to overcome the limitations of a storage unit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  5. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    My darkroom is a converted bedroom. No ventilation, no running water.

    And I do juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust fine!
     
  6. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When I was shooting news, working out of a field office ... say in Africa, I've used many darkrooms without ventilation or running water. No big deal.
     
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  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I say yes, he very well could do.

    If that was the only space that was available, he could overcome the inconvenience of no running water and no drain. Carry the water in when he goes in, and carry the waste water out when he leaves. A couple of 2-1/2-gallon jugs with handles seems plenty.

    Ventilation is for wimps.
     
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  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A backyard shed? I suppose someone could put in ventilation or run a tray of prints to the house/utility room or use an outdoor faucet or whatever. Depends on the climate.

    But a unit in a storage facility? I can't imagine why that would be rented for that purpose. I suppose you could find some oddball that would do just about anything but I can't imagine someone not just figuring out a way to set up darkroom space at home rather than rent a unit for that. Maybe it would make a good episode of Storage Wars. I suppose someone might store a darkroom's worth of equipment in a unit if the person expected to be moving to a larger apt. or house or whatever and is storing it for future use.
     
  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I can. There could be any number of reasons he doesn't want to operate a darkroom where he resides. Think subterfuge.
     
  10. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, it can be done. Matter of fact I have a 10 gallon and 15 gallon plastic tanks with spigots that I used for my water when I had a portable darkroom. I used a large fish tank heater to heat the water to proper temp (100) for initial rinses, 2nd tank was back up and not heated, for additional washes if I wanted. I had a 25 gallon grey water rolling tank for the drain fluids (made for RV and campers). There are purpose made immersion water heaters but I found a fish tank heater turned to max heated the water to proper temp, and much less expensive by a large margin.
     
  11. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hence the story line.
     
  12. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Most storage units don’t have electrical ... so a battery operated heater.
     

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