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Thread: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    I bought some of that black stuff they sell at Home Depot in the gardening department. It's used for potting plants I think. It comes in rolls wider than a door. I cut it to fit around the door, rolled it up like a bed roll and put a couple pieces of tape on the roll to hold it in place above the door. I removed the pieces of tape and let it drop down when I needed to use the darkroom and left it rolled up above the door the rest of the time so it didn't interfere with anything. Worked fine for many years. But if all you're doing is loading and unloading holders it might be easier to just go in a closet and sit on the floor at night with the room dark if that's possible. I did that for some years too.

    I don't care for changing tents myself but to each his own.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Victoria, BC

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    Thanks everyone! Great advice! I have a changing bag already, but will look into a tent. I will probably end up using while in the field, but for when I am staying pretty local I think I will use my bathroom and try the weather stripping plan.

  3. #13
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Temperance, MI

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    What Brian said.
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    klamath falls, oregon

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    Does your bathroom have a window? I have a bathroom without a window off of another room, and I feel like I've done fine so far by simply waiting until after dark, turning off the light in the exterior room and just closing the bathroom door. Maybe I'm not very discerning and am getting some fogging that I'm not aware of, but I don't think so.

    I hadn't read Brian's suggestion before writing this the first time, but what I am suggesting sounds like his suggestion about using a closet in a dark room. It is a bit inconvenient to have to do things after dark, but if all you are doing is loading and unloading film it is not that big of a deal.

  5. #15
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    Get the 8x10 Harrison tent. You don't think you will need it, but there you are one day trying to load a Jobo drum and you don't have any room . . . .

    Plus, Patti Harrison is a nice person, and stands behind her product. I had one of the old sticky ones. She replaced it (after it was way out of warranty) at a reasonable price.

    All kidding aside, the 8x10 tent is big enough to load whole plate film into a Jobo 3005 drum.

  6. #16

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Olympia, Washington

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    I recently unloaded some film in a closet off of a conference room at work. No windows in the conference room. No windows in the closet. It was quite dark. Half way through the 14 sheets of film, I was sliding some film into the mylar envelope when a bright greenish-white flash seemed to come from the envelope. My first thought was a static charge. I paused, trying to figure out if I had ruined 7 sheets of film. I moved my hand out of the envelope and it happened again. Damn. I put the envelope down and tried to collect my thoughts. It happened again. That's when I saw the same light on some white paper on a shelf. I looked behind me and waited...there it was a bright green flash on the ceiling. I put everything away and turned the lights on. It was the CO2 sensor flashing. The room was so air tight that my hot breath had triggered this flashing light which was bouncing off the mylar. I aired out the closet and unloaded the rest of the film while holding my breath.

  7. #17 tgtaylor's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    I third the idea of a Harrison change tent. I have the 8x10 version and use it to unload and load 4x5 holders as well as loading 35mm and 120 film onto reels and 1500/2500 series drums for processing.

    However, I found loading a Jobo 3010 Expert drum not to be practicable in the Harrison as there is not enough room. It's much easier in the bathroom where I place a black towel on the counter with the drum and loaded holders on top.

    My bathroom, being in a hallway with no windows, is easy to lightproof. All I need to do is to place the shower matt against the bottom of the door to block any light entering from that direction. A convenient hallway storage closet (where I dry roll film) door blocks any light coming down the hall from a living room window. If needed I could tape up a 3ml black contractors trash bag to completely block light from that window (I do this in the bedroom where the enlarger is) but I haven't found that to be necessary.
    Last edited by tgtaylor; 27-Aug-2009 at 09:37. Reason: Spelling

  8. #18
    Wayne venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    A changing bag can not be compared to a Harrison tent. The Harrison tent can go anywhere. Anytime. A truly portable darkroom. Imagine handling film on a longish road trip now that Readyloads and B&W Quickloads are not available. The Harrison tent will expand your capabilites.
    Deep in the darkest heart of the North Carolina rainforest.

    Wayne's Blog


  9. #19
    Paul Cocklin
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Roseville, CA

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Broadbent View Post
    I staple two rows of velcro above the door and hang two overlapping black 'curtains'. The curtains also have a strip of lead beads along the bottom. You walk through the overlap and kick the slack into place. When the wife complains, just strip the curtains off.
    (beside the point, but my camera darkcloth also has lead beads on two edges and a white side to keep things cool)
    This is exactly what I do as well. (alright, not 'exactly', the velcro is stuck onto the door frame with adhesive, it's only stapled to the cloth). Works fantastically well.

  10. #20
    hacker extraordinaire
    Join Date
    May 2009
    North Carolina

    Re: Light-Proofing a Bathroom

    Take Eric's advise and sit/stand in the room for a while. It can take up to 10-15 minutes for your eyes to get completely dark adapted. Look carefully at the edges of the door...
    A darkroom may not have to be, and cannot be, 100% light proof. Even if you think it is, there is surely some light sneaking in that you just can't see. It would be a coincidence if the exact amount of light that caused fogging happened to correspond to exactly the amount that you can detect with your dark-adjusted eyes. I convinced myself that small light leaks around my door are not a problem after I realized even with the light leaks, if I was to take a picture of the film-handling area with my camera, I would have to leave the lens wide open for many minutes or hours in order to get any density on the negative at all. And that's with a lens concentrating the light...when I'm handling film nothing is focusing light onto the film it's just out in the open.

    I'm often criticized for taking the "mind over matter"* approach to many things in life, but the door doesn't have to be that light-tight afterall. I mean I can see light leaking around my door in multiple places after my eyes adjust, if I use my dark-closet in the daytime and it's really not a problem. You'd be surprised how much light you can have in a darkroom without causing any problems.

    *mind over matter: if you don't mind, it don't matter

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