Digital To Darkroom

Digital Photography Meets Traditional Silver Based Techniques

Today has all been about darkroom experimentation, and what a blast I have had. As a photographer I still like to shoot film and you can’t beat that feeling when you open the dev tank after you have shot a processed a roll. If your anything like me I can’t wait to get into the dark room and print a contact sheet and chose the images I want to print. This got me thinking; I want to make prints of some of my digital work. “So just print it, the printer is next to you on your desk” I hear you cry. Its not that simple, I want to print them in the darkroom. I want to bring the traditional silver based method into my digital photography, and today I have…

I started by picking two images from a recent shoot I did and opening them up in Photoshop, these are the two I picked.

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Next was to make the negative so I made sure they where both converted to greyscale. I then inverted the images and adjusted the curves to bring up the contrast. IMG_8524-Edit IMG_8588-Edit Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 16.55.56 Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 16.56.15

After I had made the adjustments I printed both negatives on to transparencies and cut down to size. I had made both 8×10 ready to fit the paper I had in my darkroom.

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So off to the darkroom with my digital negatives in hand and proceeded to make test exposures to make sure I have the correct setting. As these negatives are 10×8 I needed to make contact prints and once I had everything set correctly I made my first full exposure of the first negative. I worked out that with the No 5 Filter and the smallest aperture setting on my enlarger the exposure time would be 14 sec.

14 seconds went by and into the developer goes the paper and wait with bated breath; a couple of seconds went by as if by magic the image begins to appear. The paper getting darker as this most wonderful of chemical reactions takes place, done we have a print so into the stop bath for about 30 sec then into the rapid fix bath. At this point I know
I have a image printed but under the red light of the darkroom you don’t get the real sense of what you have just printed, so I left it in the fix for a little longer then transferred the print to the water bath for a quick wash.

Now time to take a look so I get the print from the water bath and take it into the daylight, I couldn’t asked for anything better as this is a complete first attempt at processing a digital image this way. I was blown away with the results so back into the darkroom to print the next negative I had made, keeping everything the same I made the second exposure, and again I was blown away with the finished print. I have 2 really cool prints that were originally digital images shot on my Canon EOS.

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