Darkroom Protocols

Following these protocols will not only make it more pleasant to work in a shared space, but they are also essential to ensure the archival quality of your prints.

1. Entering the darkroom

Never enter the darkroom if the door is closed and the light over the door is on! Please knock first to see if it is safe to open the door.
Sign up on the calendar to book the darkroom: http://film.shoot.is/darkroom/booking/

2. Cleaning up

Clean all trays, mixing containers and tongs in HOT water and washing up liquid. (The hot water is even more important than the soap to remove chemical residue). Clean the outsides as well as the insides of trays and containers. Clean and squeegee the sink after removing the trays.

3. Use the same trays for the same chemicals

Red tray = developer
White tray = stop bath
Grey tray = fixer
Green tray = water only

Some of the measuring containers are labelled “fix”. Do not use other chemicals in these, and do not mix fixer in the other containers. Fixer is the most difficult to wash out and can contaminate other containers.

4. Use of tongs

Use the same tongs for the same chemicals – Red for developer, and the darkest color (under safe light) for fixer. Use the tongs only to lift the paper out of the tray; drop it into the next tray without touching the solution. If you do touch the next solution, do not go back to the previous tray without washing.

5. Mixing and using chemicals

Follow the directions on the packages (or find them online).
Don’t use the hot water from the tap. Use distilled water for best results.
Fixer is the most difficult chemical to dissolve (and clean) so stir well or mix by inversions.
Developer should be used within 24 hours once diluted.
Stop bath and fixer can last much longer in using proper storage containers made for that purpose.
Wash the outside of the storage bottles once you’ve poured the solutions in.
Always use the same bottles for the same chemicals.

6. Disposal of spent chemicals

Pour used chemicals in one of the several jugs for that purpose. You don’t need to separate the chemicals (in some countries you do). When full, Efnamóttakan will dispose of them. There is no charge. efnamottakan.is 559-2200.

Stop bath turns from clear yellow to cloudy “beer like” color when spent.
Test fixer by putting a small bit of film leader in and timing how long it takes to become clear. You generally want to fix for twice as long as it takes to clear (so if it takes 1 minute, then fix for two minutes). Once it takes more than 5 minutes to fix (so 2.5 minutes to clear), it is time to replace with fresh fix.

7. Personal property

Label personal items or store your items in a box with your name on it.
Respect all property in the darkroom – all equipment belongs to someone who is personally sharing with the association, treat it kindly!

8. General clean up

In addition to cleaning up trays and equipment, we all need to pitch in and keep the floors swept and mopped and trash emptied. The cleaner the darkroom, the less dust on our prints and negatives.

9. Tips

Wear gloves. You may not notice any irritation now, but sensitivity to chemicals can happen at any time.
Consider using 2 fix baths – the second one with fresh fix. When the 1st bath starts to go bad, move the 2nd bath to the first position and mix and fresh bath for the 2nd fix. Then you are always assured of a complete fix.
Use hypoclear or wash aid to wash fiber paper.
Use a more diluted developer (1:14) for smaller prints (5×7) to avoid very short exposure times.
Don’t leave paper out unnecessarily even under safe light.
When using one of the color enlargers for B&W, use the Ilford contrast control charts for equivalents to the multigrade filters.