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Thread: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

  1. #1

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    Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    Looking at the rain running down the windows made me wonder if anyone uses collected and filtered rainwater in their film/print processing?

    The domestic tap water is pretty good here (though loaded with iron from the peat), but i wondered if there were any advantages to using rainwater?

    It's a resources we're not short of in Scotland

    Mike

  2. #2
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    No reason why not if you can get it clean enough. It might be slightly acid from pollutants and have fine particulates that may need filtering out but overall not much different from lake water. Folks used to collect rainwater in cisterns for ages to drink.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    Some places it is illegal to collect rainwater

    not kidding
    sin eater

  4. #4

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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    For years we had a Rialta RV which I would convert into a rolling darkroom. Fresh water storage tank was 16 gallons so using it to wash film and paper wasn't an option. I used to wash film and sometimes paper, after a water bath rinse or two, in roadside streams. Never had a problem with dirt or staining. I'd assume that rainwater would be even cleaner.

  5. #5

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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    Those of you familiar with John Coffer (“modern” father of wet plate), should know that he uses exclusively rainwater. Having visited him and taken a course. He certainly has no problem, and like most rain barrels the water is alive little creatures (probably mosquito larvae). He does use distilled water for chemical mixing, and rainwater would add unwanted minerals and probably shorten the life of fixer.

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    Only once -- in Australia back in 1987. Water from roof collection tank of an abandoned house...had to use milk filters (dairy farm) to get out various larva, etc.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #7

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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    My teacher in photo academy would often rinse fiber prints in the sea (not in sea water, no in the actual sea itself!). This was in Portugal where the temperatures of the water would be high enough for a good rinse. Lots of fresh water? Check! Constant agitation? Check! He claimed that the salty water dissolved photographic fix better than fresh water.

  8. #8
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    I've never used rainwater directly, but I have used water collected from a dehumidifier. Both rainwater and dehumidifier water are essentially distilled water (ie, water that was converted to the vapor state, and then allowed to condense back to the liquid form. In our former home, the water supply had high mineral content, and using filtered dehumidifier water as the final rinse before drying prevented mineral deposits on negatives.

    Jeroen mentioned washing in seawater. That's not a strange concept - seawater does act as a hypo clearing agent. During WWII, the US Navy found that using seawater for washing negatives in shipboard processing significantly reduced the demand for fresh water (which is a scarce commodity on board ships). It is said that Kodak used seawater as a guide when they initially developed their commercial Hypoclear solution.

  9. #9

    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    Hi Mike, I have a cabin in the mountains and I have been collecting rainwater and using it in my small darkroom for the last 20 years. Never had an issue. I still use distilled water for mixing my chemicals, but rainwater for everything else.


    Quote Originally Posted by mpirie View Post
    Looking at the rain running down the windows made me wonder if anyone uses collected and filtered rainwater in their film/print processing?

    The domestic tap water is pretty good here (though loaded with iron from the peat), but i wondered if there were any advantages to using rainwater?

    It's a resources we're not short of in Scotland

    Mike

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone use rainwater in the darkroom?

    Evidently my info was very outdated

    Most US states allow rain water gathering with some stipulation

    Colorado WAS the worst

    https://worldwaterreserve.com/rainwa...ect-rainwater/

    But a few allow it to be only used outside
    sin eater

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