View Full Version : RV Darkroom

Gerry Harrison
5-Jul-2007, 17:54

Considering buying a Class C RV .....and would love any input or suggestion for those that develop B&W negs 120 or 4x5 in the RV. Eg....water temp control, water shortage for rinsing , times when no power is available. Any gem of information would be appreciated that I can not anticipate at this time. Thanks Gerry

Greg Lockrey
5-Jul-2007, 18:42
If you are just going to process negative, then all you really need is a changing bag. Ambient temps around 68-70 degrees will maintain the necessary temps for developing. I got my start in printing by processing shipmates film in the Navy down in my living quarters aboard ship. Made the prints at home. It's no big deal. You'll need a lot of water if you're going to do color, but B&W the temps are lower and easier to deal with. I used to have a 3 stage color processor that would accept up to 100 8x10 sheets at a time in a basket that had electric temp controls. It's been about 25 years since I had it so the brand name the escapes me now, but it was made in Texas. Only needed the water for the rinse stage. I had my lab in a step van. A couple photographers and I would shoot at trade show events and make 8x10's on speculation. Now with digital, I make event prints on location, mostly horse shows now.

Joe Smigiel
5-Jul-2007, 21:01
I recently converted a 1969 Class-C motorhome into a dedicated mobile wetplate collodion darkroom. It also has the capability of going completely dark to process sheet film or load pan materials into holders. But that's probably overkill for what you'll be doing. :D

Here's a link to an APUG post I made showing the RV conversion:

For roll or sheet film I'd probably suggest just buying a couple 20-liter cubitainers: one for a water supply and one to collect waste water and spent developer & stop. Process the waste back on the ranch and use a hypo clearing agent to cut down on the amount of water needed on location.

I'd also assume that with such a rig you'd often be close to streams and lakes which could supply a source for wash water. I've washed plates in streams before and it sure beats hauling a bunch of water around for the wetplate process. And a llttle hypo coming off the film during washing isn't going to hurt anything aquatic.


6-Jul-2007, 05:42
Joe, that is a really sweet set-up! Thanks for sharing that!

Colin Robertson
6-Jul-2007, 10:25
Absoloutely HARDCORE dedication, Joe. I'm very impressed. Hope you make some great photos worthy of the big truck.