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Thread: Mobile darkroom - wet plate - ideas??

  1. #1

    Mobile darkroom - wet plate - ideas??


    So this is a question I would really like to ask, and see what ideas people have come up with when it comes to collodion wet-plate photography in the field.

    I've seen multiple videos and read lots of forums on mobile darkrooms. Each has there pro's but most have lots of con's. I know Large Format Photographers are an inventive bunch and I would really like to see peoples ideas on this matter. The more simple and practicle the better.

    I've researched this a little now. The 'ESKIMO' brand ice fishing tent seems to be a popular option. The downside to this is it would get very hot where I live. I think this tent would be great in cooler climates. Has anybody used this tent idea in warmer areas say like Florida or North Australia? Has anybody created a ventilation system to assist with the heat?

    Another idea I really like is the portable darkroom by Lund Photographics. Very simple and well thought as all of his products are. Has anybody used these and what do they think?

    I would even like to here from people who have started down the tent/portable mini darkroom and just decided its all too much. Than have decide to builder a complete trailer to tow around. I've heard stories of people just getting tired of the tent idea and built some really amazing trailer concepts.

    Please include photos, links if you can.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Re: Mobile darkroom - wet plate - ideas??

    Have you looked up Luther Gerlach?
    Last edited by Mark Sampson; 4-Mar-2018 at 18:41.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Northwest of Chicago

    Re: Mobile darkroom - wet plate - ideas??

    I don't know what she is doing today, but Sally Mann was using some sort of dark tent—which I assume she made or caused to be made—in the back of a Chevy Suburban. The tent doesn't have to be big enough for a person, just the plates and chemistry.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Equally far from everything

    Re: Mobile darkroom - wet plate - ideas??

    I bought a red children's tent from Walmart (Lightning McQueen) and covered it with light tight material from Freestyle photographic. The fabric is pretty light so I tied weights into the corners to keep the wind from blowing it up while I work. I now have a cap on the back of my truck so it fits inside already set up. I can be ready to shoot in only a few minutes.
    Pros - super cheap, quick setup, 4 x 5 feet of room for plates up to 11x14, contains spills.

    Cons - tent durability in question. Tent poles are weak. The tent was $10 so I bought a few. Still on my first tent but on my 3rd set of tent poles. I also have to lean into the tent to work which makes my back tired if making a lot of plates.

  5. #5
    Graflex Wayne Aho's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    New Hampshire

    Re: Mobile darkroom - wet plate - ideas??

    I have not used the Eskimo, but know a few who have. They are hot in the sun, even up north. They also have light leaks at the seams that need a sealing spray almost every time they are set-up, and they leak light along the base so some use rocks and logs to hold the flaps down. Aside from that, they make a great walk-in darkroom for ultra-large plates. One of the better and easier methods is a portable dark-box, takes about 20 minutes to setup. Some folks use their car trunks, or a dark box in the back of an suv or pickup.

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