It’s been a weekend that could have easily supported a blog post a day. But I’m lazy and I really was hoping to get a new photo or two printed before posting…but other things happened and I still haven’t made any new prints. So here’s the updates instead!
This one will be long with a lot of photos…no teaser photo for the front though.
I guess I’ll do this chronologically. As per my last post I ended up going back and buying another tarp at the “Bargain” warehouse for $20 more than the last one cost me. We then proceeded to try and get it up as quickly as possible Friday night in case the wind/rain came back. That was no fun at all. The other tarp went up easier than I had expected, this one fought us every step of the way and the extreme humidity made it just flat out miserable. I soaked two shirts with sweat fighting to get that thing up…and had to take a break partway through to buy more rope because the 100 feet we started with just wasn’t enough. I had planned on treating us to a nice dinner when we were done – but by the time I was done and showered the only place open was Applebees – who set a new low for service that night 🙁 Oh well, at least my “Perfect Margarita” pretty much was perfect and that did help!
The new tarp is on 90 degrees different than the last one, so we’ll see how that works out. If you compare to the older photos you’ll see that the first replacement tarp has tightened up significantly since I put it up there. I’m hoping this one does as well since it’s kind of loose and flappy right now:
Really, I’m not as overjoyed with the new tarp as I expected to be. I was kind of looking forward to the white tarp so there would be better light under the carport for when I work on the vehicles. And yes there is better light…but it seems like too much now. Almost like there isn’t shade at all. From the photos you can see that YES there is shade…but when you’re under there it’s bright. Also means a lot more light coming in through the living room and kitchen windows. Time will tell if I like it or not. I’m thinking the next time we replace them I’ll get two layer tarps that are black on top and white on the bottom so they’ll give more shade but the white bottom will still be nice when working under there.
So moving on to Saturday. We started out the day by going over to look at some darkroom equipment some people e-mailed Amy about after they saw her blog in the paper. We didn’t have very high hopes…but it turned out they were a real friendly couple about our age and the gear was pretty nice. We ended up buying a couple of things:
The Beseler 23C was the enlarger Amy learned to print on…so passing this up would have been hard! It’s in great shape, just a little dusty. Only has the 6×6 negative carrier (but oddly enough only a 50mm lens – 6×6 should have a 80mm lens) but we can get new carriers on ebay I’m sure. We also picked up an orignal pre 45 Weston Master light meter, a Sekonic light meter, a fixed size enlarging easel that Amy liked, an Omega color analyizer and some safelights. While we didn’t NEED another enlarger (I still have another Durts M670 in my parents basement and a Beseler 45 that I’m not sure how I’ll ever get out here since it’s so big!) the 23C does complement my Durst nicely.
The Durst is a diffusion color head with a quartz lamp. That gives a soft light effect which tends to hide dust and scratches a little but at the cost of some fine detail and sharpness. The 23C has a condenser head (though a diffusion head and a cold light head are available used) which gives a harsher light that results in dust and scratches showing easier…but also a sharper final image. So having one of each gives us the best of both worlds letting us pick the right tool for each job!
With the new toys settled in we went out and did a little shopping for a piece of pegboard to hang in the laundry room to organize darkroom stuff, and look for a cabinet to put in there and the final things I needed to finish light proofing and ventilating the room. The new cabinets at Lowes were nice, but more cash than we could justify – espically after having just bought a used enlarger we didn’t really need. But the Habitat for Humanity restore used home improvement store had a few “gently” pre-owned cabinets that looked like they may work…we just needed to double check out measurements and come back the next day since they were closing soon.
A quick stop at the camera store for some more ID-11 and another pack of paper we found that they had another nice safelight on consignment which I picked up and they had Ilford Delta 100 in 120 in stock so we picked up a few rolls to shoot. We went home and loaded up Amy’s Grandfathers Rolleicord and my Lubitel – then stopped back at the shop to put the Nikon 6006 my mom had given Amy a few years back up for sale in hopes it will help some student just getting started. We then proceeded to snap a few shots around the river and downtown before coming home to dunk them in the developer.
We both managed to overexpose most of our shots. Mine I was aiming for about 1 stop over exposed so I wasn’t surprised, they’re still very printable and I’m dying to see how a few of them enlarge. Amy’s were a bit more overexposed than either of us expected, not sure if it was due to the odd aperture/shutter choices available on the camera, Amy’s unfamiliarity with the camera and light meter, the shutter possibly being a bit slow on the 75+ year old camera…or a combination of one or more of those. It also seems there may be a small light leak in the camera, but it could just be Amy’s unfamiliarity with 120 film loading/unloading. We’ll see after I get to run a roll through it. She also only got 8 exposures due to us not realizing that the Rollei had a frame counter and automatic film advance stop that we were supposed to use instead of the red filter peep hole on the bottom. oops.
On the plus side the lens is VERY sharp and she did get a few good shots. I’m looking forward to being able to share them here soon!
Sunday we went back to the Habitat store and for $15 picked up a cabinet. Loading it into the truck I started to have second thoughts though as part of the toe kick fell off. The whole thing was pretty shakey. And before we got it out of the truck the concrete and ceramic top (which we had planned on removing anyway) was falling off. In fact the whole thing was in danger of collapsing under it’s own weight. There was no back and the old particle board it was made of was not holding together very well. I didn’t get a photo of it in it’s original state but here it is with the top and toe kick removed as Amy starts to clean it in preparation for paint:
We gave it two good heavy coats of Kilz premium primer to seal in any mold or mildew that may have been lurking within it – and to keep out any that conditions in the laundry room / darkroom would subject it to. We then decided to give it a coat of the light blue paint we had originally bought for our spare bedroom but decided not to use. With the nearly full gallon sitting there I decided to just bite the bullet and paint the laundry room as well. One less salmon colored room! Only two left! Our own bedroom and the back bedroom. Our bedroom won’t be getting painted for awhile due to lack of space to move stuff around in there. The back bedroom will probably wait as well since we have plans to make some major modificaitons back there semi-soon.
The laundry room feels a LOT bigger and cleaner now with the fresh coat of light blue paint! It’s not perfect, I still have to trim around the fold out ironing board and above the washer dryer…and I was too lazy to move the washer dryer so there’s still salmon hiding behind them and the washtub…but overall it’s a BIG improvement!
I also finished installing the bathroom fan I bought a week or two ago – and you can see how we put a safelight bulb in one of the two overhead lights in the laundry room. When we moved in we thought it was silly that there were two light circuits in such a small room – now it’s just what we needed!
I know, I still need to wire the fan in. I also want to add an outlet for the timer in that area and I want to move the lights and outlets in this room onto their own circuit anyway since the one they’re on now is shared with the kitchen and IMHO way overloaded. With no attic access in this area though it won’t be much fun to pull the wires 🙁
The duct from the fan goes out to an old dryer exhaust duct in the water heater closet. It had one way flaps on it so I know it wasn’t there to allow air to come in for the water heater vent and works perfect for our needs, I do want to fill in around it with some expanding foam though to block out any final light leaks and make sure it’s a good permanant seal. The path the duct takes should prevent any light from coming in through the fan itself – and if not that duct will easily expand enough that I can reroute it to make sure no light will get in:
There’s another vent near the floor in that closet which probably does let air in for the water heater. It also lets in a lot of light. So I got another set of the one way flaps to go on the inside of that duct….but need a bit more duct to get them installed still. I also added a new threshold at the base of the door for that room which probably seals the light leaks sufficiently that I won’t need the flaps after all. Have to wait and see.
The “new” cabinet I fixed up with some hardboard on the back and pine stringers across the top (the original ones were badly warped) which stregthened it up a LOT! It went from barely able to support it’s own weight to something I would stand on. The toe kick wasn’t necessary for the height we wanted but I did have to shim out the one corner to make up for it:
Yeah, we probably should have painted the bottom as well….but it will be ok for now. After that I screwed our chunk of counter top to it and we now have a very stable and sturdy cabinet for darkroom supplies, I do have to scrape the paint off the hinges still:
I still need to trim the shims I used to level it…but hey at least I did level it!
Finally I made one more upgrade to the laundry room / dining room door to seal some final light leaks there:
I still have to paint it but it seems to block out the last of the light leaks quite effectively! Oh yeah, we also put one of the safelight bulbs we acquired the past few days into one of the fixtures in the dining room so we have a semi-dark antechamber before entering the real dark room. The dining room much like the laundry room has more lights than make sense for such a small room. There’s a “normal” overhead fixture that we never use. A track light which we never use (where we put the safe bulb) and a big skylight that has a flourscent light in it with a stained glass design under it – which is the light we tend to use the most since it gives the most usable light, makes the stained glass look nice, and lights up our backyard Ficus tree nicely giving some gentle light near the back door so we don’t stub so many toes!
Wow! What a weekend! I’m exhausted! But I’m still going to go try and do a few quick prints tonight to celebrate having the darkroom pretty much “done” and fully usable complete with nice safelights now!
Oh yeah, that’s one last thing I forgot to mention. The back bedroom was wired kind of odd. Most of the outlets were half always live and half switched by switches on the wall above them. I took advantage of that with setting up our safelights. 2 of the switched outlets now control safelights so they’re on wall switches, and the 3rd switched outlet is where I plugged in the extension cord for the vent fan…so it’s on a switch as well. This winter when I rewire this part of the house the fan will get it’s own switch in the laundry room – but for now at least it has a switch!