Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Dark Room

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Today was a dark room session in our photo course. Once again, the time in the darkroom is quite a long one of little light and bad air. And it’s not the most productive time either, as there are all those little steps which you have to remember, from trying to nicely clean your negatives and the machines to avoid little dust-spots on your prints, to figuring out how to crop things, to figuring out a good exposure and gradation. And most importantly not to forget double checking everything before exposing the photo paper (let’s just say that forgetting to set the projector’s aperture correctly is one of my favourite ways of ruining a print).

And while being in the room with five people is quite entertaining, it’s also quite distracting and slows things down even more. But what really pissed me off was another fact: None of the first prints I made really came out nicely. While they looked fine at first, they all ended up being too dark and muddy. Which particularly for photos that are supposed to have an almost white background is a problem. As I am not all that experienced with dark room work, I started checking things like the exposure time, the aperture, my way of handling the paper and so on. But everything seemed all right and I was really starting to be upset. Until someone said that the red light next to my work area looked a bit different from the other ones.

We turned it off which wasn’t too much of a problem as there were plenty of other lights and the eyes get used to such a dark environment really well after a short while. And voilà, photos started turning out much more nicely. Needless to say that whoever thought putting in that unsuitable lightbulb just made a new enemy.

So now I have a couple of over-exposed prints with a touch of grey on them. I’ll see what I can use those for. I think a few of the last prints turned out nicely, but they were still drying when I left so I couldn’t take them with me right away.

A somewhat interesting mistake I made was that for one print I forgot to re-adjust to the aperture before projecting the image on the paper. Meaning that I ended up using f2.8 rather than f11, i.e. too much light by a factor of four. In fact I just saw this going wrong and frantically tried to turn off the projector’s light. But the timer controlling it doesn’t have a Cancel button and hitting it didn’t help (of course I should have just put my hands in the way of the light instead, but it took me a few seconds to figure that out, somehow these days I’m used to having a Cancel button). What I got out of this was an overexposed paper. It looked all black after being developed. But when looking closely, the silhouette of myself (who happened to be on that photo) can still be discerned. It’s actually quite cool to look at. And if it didn’t have some strange spots on it (the origin of which I still have to figure out – perhaps I should have moved the photo more in the developer while it was developing), it’d be rather cool.

On a completely different note: I received my little Snowman buttons today!

Little snowman buttons

And there even was a tiny pack of Gummi Bears accompanying them. Now I can run around wearing the cute snowman. As you have to buy those buttons in packs of five, I have a few ones to spare in principle. Perhaps I should give them away or run some fun competition?

December 7, 2006, 1:32

Tagged as photos.


Comment by elizabeth: User icon

where did you get those buttons! they are so great!

i still haven’t decided on a gig. its too much for my feeble brain!

have a great weekend in beautiful berlin.

December 8, 2006, 2:42

Comment by ssp: User icon

You can make your own buttons at spreadshirt now. Unfortunately in 5-packs only - which is why I have a few to spare. That’s where I got mine.

December 8, 2006, 14:42

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