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Thread: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

  1. #61
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Quote Originally Posted by HMG View Post
    It's an intriguing idea. But a couple of things concern me given that fact that you anticipate a move.

    First, a 40' container will be more difficult to site and to move. Even if it fits where you are today, it may not fit the home/land you move to. A 20' container would be much easier and still provide a pretty large darkroom. If that much space is truly needed, 2 20' containers might cost more to buy, but give more flexibility.

    Your initial outlay is relatively low but build-out cost may be significant. The cost to move may be significant and your lifestyle plan makes moving a near certainty. An RV style shell that can be towed with a 3/4 ton pickup might have a lower overall cost.
    Good thoughts, thanks for your reply

    Any darkroom setup as spoken about here would be built once a place to stay has been found. This thread is all somewhat hypothetical at this point and time. However, one consideration would be to put my shop's contents INTO a container here in LA then have the container dropped at the end location. Not very hard to do, not cheap, but it would cut out the cost of moving truck, fuel for truck, etc. Again, all hypothetical at this point and time. Just fountaining ideas that might come forth, for public discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by faberryman View Post
    What is the cost comparison with a prefab two car garage
    Well, this is something to consider as well. Having grown up in LA, most structures are built with wood frame construction. Can last a good long while, but termites, wood rot, etc can become a hassle. In addition, I'm not much for "normal" architecture anyhow. I like different modes of building, much like how many of us photograph differently. To me, architecture can most certainly be seen as "art", completely subjective and what suits one persons tastes might not suit another at all.

  2. #62

    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    I believe finding an old rural warehouse or derelict building and renewing/refitting would be a better fit for your aspirations. I would certainly do this if I didn't plan on taking all my equipment around with me - have attempted to do something similar with an old railway site and gallery.

    You should investigate such options, there may even be grants or incentives available. I wouldn't limit yourself to the square footage of a container if you don't have to!

    Bests,
    Caleb

  3. #63
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Hi Caleb,

    Yes, I know there might be(seemingly to most people) "better" options, but to be quite frank, (I) find less limitations when I purposefully limit myself. This means contact printing LF negatives, and enlarging MF negatives. B/W darkroom work, and inkjet printing for color. I find this un-limiting, as it gives me less to worry about.

    Since I plan the darkroom space to primarily house 1 person(me), I don't need it to be big. I don't need it to have fancy gizmos outside of what I NEED. I want to turn 180 deg from where I am standing on the dry side and slide that sheet of paper into a tray of chemistry. Less steps, less sq footage needed.
    The house can be used as a "gallery" of sorts, the darkroom is used for printing.

    Now, if a certain young lass should come across my path, and she wants to print with me, so be it, I am flexible. However, I can only imagine darkroom time being primarily a solitary pursuit.

    I don't plan to haul a darkroom around with me. This would be on-site, at home on my property one day. Stationary, fixed, and not designed to be "portable". Trips and expeditions would be for photographing, then bringing exposed film home to process once done.

    Now, IF I were to ever entertain the idea of hosting get-togethers where other people might come and attend, printing sessions and such, then that's another matter, and I would cross that road accordingly.
    Having grown up and lived the vast majority of my life in the big city(LA), I yearn for simple living. I dream of the day when a slow pace lifestyle that allows me to pursue what I truly want to do: MAKE STUFF, becomes reality. Be that photographs and fine prints, or custom gear to support other photographers in their work, worldwide.

    -Dan

  4. #64
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    I learned darkroom work in a 4x6' darkroom which was a bit crowded with two of us. When I finally could plan and build one for myself, it was 8x12' with room for MF and 5x7 enlarger and a desk for writing and electronics repair. Two people had plenty of space to work together. It lacked running water, which is no great inconvenience for personal work. After a fire wiped out that darkroom, I built a much smaller one without a desk. It also was big enough for two people and two enlargers. By considering the basic requirements for darkroom work, we can eliminate many of the space consuming gadgets that contribute nothing to the quality of the finished photographs.

  5. #65
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    I told you about my big shed. It has spray foam insulation under the floor from the builder.

    Now I have a dilemma. The rest is uninsulated, with a dark grey shingle roof and light green walls. Studs inside.

    For 2 years I use it in varying weather conditions and keep a thermometer i read from inside my house.

    If the air is 25 F all night the shed is close to that, but on a sunny 25 F day it can rise to 50's which I consider warm for work in the shed. If I insulate the whole thing I worry I will lose that free heat.

    In summer it cools all night and get I in there early. But again insulation may affect that. It does rise to 110F at times. Shade trees are helping.

    Soon I will install an exhaust fan on the south end with vents on the north end. With a thermostat. That will help summer mornings,

    What I might do is build an inner sanctuary box with heavy insulation and a heat pump. Both heat and chill.

    I want to keep 16 ft for garage on the north end. Have a easily controlled shelter in the middle and work benches area in the south end. It's 16 X 40 ft.

    Add water and sewer later. A few bigger propane tanks. Emergency portable generator that runs on gas, propane or NG.

    Yet keep all of that quickly transferable to my cargo trailer or truck.

    The truck I keep topped off. It holds 36 gallons and I can drive 800 miles on that at 65 mph loaded. With trailer that becomes 400 miles.

    Now how about that Faraday Cage...
    2022

  6. #66

    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Sorry I was referring to everything; more so than just a darkroom, eg your home or business sowing equipment, where will those be? Do you want to expand capacity? (I thought you mentioned that earlier etc) My first darkroom I made was 1x1m ample enough for me, something like a laundry or garden shed from home depot could be suffice.

    Considering other options is always good.

  7. #67
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Other option would be a wide-span style barn, sub divided into differing areas, one for sew shop, one for wood shop. Darkroom wouldn't be too hard to finagle in there I guess.

    House would be a separate structure entirely, as I gravitate towards single-story structures for living in. Not afraid of heights, it's just easier that way IMO

    -Dan

  8. #68
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Sounds like what you need is a ranch style house on a full basement. Shop downstairs is good if the terrain permits ground level entry, similar to what we finally got when buying our last house.

  9. #69

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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Now how about that Faraday Cage...[/QUOTE]

    Randy has a point. I've had to run a phone line over to my darkroom because a cell phone will not work inside. If something was to happen before I got the phone installed, I'd have a big problem.

  10. #70
    B&W LF
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    Re: Setting up a darkroom inside a shipping container

    Just skimmed through the thread, but did not see mention of the old military container darkrooms, only 12 ft x 7 ft.
    ( ES-82A Darkroom, Photographic, Transportable )
    e.g. https://petapixel.com/2012/01/11/us-...minum-shelter/ or https://imgur.com/a/Ag0gz
    https://gizmodo.com/for-sale-slightl...sified-5875395

    I saw one for sale on craigslist back in VA a few years ago and they have been on ebay. A bit older but with full electrical, water, AC and other hookups.

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