favorites: Non-traditional Darkroom Supplies

Someday, I’ll have millions of dollars and a beautiful custom darkroom all to myself. Until then, here are a couple of my favorite, cheaper alternatives I’ve discovered.


Dark cloth: Yeah, you could spend a chunk of money on a ~professional~ dark cloth, or you could buy a couple yards of cosplay fabric from a local fabric store and save a whole lot of money (plus feel 10000 times more magical). I snagged two yards of this amazing fabric for use with my 4x5 camera, and another 3 that I use with my darkbox. Other than being very stylish, the material is meant for making costumes so it stays fairly cool underneath and is sufficiently opaque.

Stained glass panels: Quickly after starting to build my portable darkbox, I found out how expensive safelights and/or filters can be. Since I’m currently only using the box for tintypes, I knew I could get a little more creative with my light situation. A 12” x 12” amber glass panel for $8 does the job perfectly at a fraction of the cost.


Creamer bottles: This one didn’t occur to me until recently, but I’m sold on it. We’ve suddenly become creamer users, and I can’t bear to get rid of things that may prove to be useful/reusable later, so that’s how I ended up with a middle of the night idea, and a brand new fix bottle. I don’t know how well these guys would hold up to long term storage, but they’ve been awesome for small batch sessions. The pour spout is top notch, plus the lid snaps open and closed with one hand. Cut to me at the grocery store, spending way too long analyzing the size, ergonomics, cap color and (less importantly) flavor of each creamer bottle. shrug

I’m sure that this post will only continue to get longer as I look around and realize more odd things I’ve adapted. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, right?

experiment: Camera Obscura

In the midst of all my theory and reading heavy courses this semester, I’m getting the opportunity to take a studio class. It’s been interesting to get back into the swing of making photos with stipulations (and for a grade) again. Our first assignment centered around exploring the human body, and pinhole photography.

Just in case our neighbors didn’t think we were weirdos yet, I covered our bedroom window and got to work.

2019: Word of the Year

I was resistant at first, but the trend (is it still a trend at this point?) of choosing a word to guide your year has really grown on me.

2017 was all about commitment. Beyond the obvious part where I got married, I spent a lot of time making decisions and working toward a relatively small amount of goals. In 2018, I did the opposite. The concept of more really stuck out to me in a big way. I said “yes” way more than I ever have, tried all the new things and did A LOT. Both were awesome, but I’m feeling somewhere in the middle for 2019.

Sadly underexposed, but still a fun plate from a few days ago.

Sadly underexposed, but still a fun plate from a few days ago.

Patience sounds nice, but I don’t think it quite fits. Admittedly, all of my activities lately have been helping to cultivate the feeling - crocheting, lettering, job hunting, tintypes…

Even though it feels a little more fitting, follow through doesn’t have a great ring to it. I want to multitask less, and focus more. That even includes only reading one book at a time, which is WAY out of character for me. I may have to bust out a thesaurus, y’all.

Anyone have any good words to share, or suggestions for me?

experiment: Seagull

There's nothing quite like finding a gem in a pawn shop. I spotted this Seagull one day while on the hunt for a new 35mm and was immediately fascinated by it. I'm already a sucker for a TLR, but I especially can't resist one I've never encountered before.

Lucky for me, Hutch snagged it later (for much cheaper than it should have been. Score.) and brought it home as a half birthday gift. The mechanics remind me of a large format camera, and it has a mask that allows you to shoot either 6x6 or 6x4.5 *major heart eyes*. 

In my typical fashion, it took WAY too long to get the film developed. I'm just glad to see it works, no matter how weirdly I messed up the first roll. That's what happens when you count exposures incorrectly and don't discover the mask situation until after you finish the roll. Whoops. 

fixation: Last Frame

I can't speak for anyone else, but on the off-chance I don't shoot the last frame on a roll of film I'm really excited about, I have a tendency to get impatient and just take a picture of the first thing that comes to mind. Sometimes, I get good things. Other times, I start to notice patterns.

Like the fact that I have a gazillion pictures of the fridge. It started off so clean and empty, and just gotten worse even since the most recent of these images... Maybe it's time to take everything down and start fresh. Or start using that last shot for something else.

12 in 12: June 12