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Thursday, 17 June 2010


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It took me about 1/15th of a second to realize this is certainly a great concept. I think I have one of Pete Turner's lens caps around somewhere; that could be another theme.

Ah this brings back memories of Nacco Tray Cleaner, a noxious bleach solution that magically made the black silver disappear, just like Tarnex® did in those old TV commercials.

The red developer tray looks a lot like mine. The yellow one is the best shot IMO.

I love this.

I don't know why.

But I do.

pax / Ctein

I'm not quite as weathered as some of those guys, but my tray is slowly getting there...


Wow! Her portfolio is striking!

developer trays don't gather black silver. It's the fixing trays that do. (This comment may be a little pedantic, but with well over a thousand darkroom hours in my past, I just had to make it.)


Trust the German photographer to have the cleanest tray.

Which gallery is this hanging in, I'll bet that it 's the Tate Modern in london, couldn't see a signature though.

Can't do this kind of work with digital darkrooms.

Ah, I can almost smell the Ethol LPD (I never could get with the Dektol program!).

First semester of college (1972), I enrolled in beginning photography class. Teacher threw a party at his house to kick off the year, and invited all the students. The serving trays for all his party snacks were, you guessed it, his darkroom trays.


Wow, what a concept, much as the fountain pens of famous writers. Do I see amidol stains in some and glycin in others? Does anybody have Edward Weston's trays?

When I look at these pictures of trays all I can think of is what great desktop icons they'd make.

My black rubber 8x10 tray had a killer silver sheen on it. I'm sad it's lost now...

There's nothing like a good stainless steel tray. Feininger knew that. The Cesco's held up well but the Paterson's turned out better than I thought they would.

Wow. I used to think stained trays were generally something to be embarrassed about as indicators of sloppy chemistry procedures or poor cleanup habits. But these photos evoke the same kind of admiration I feel when I see worn-down fingerboards and keys on musical instruments, or brassing on metal cameras and lenses.

Dear Hans,

So, what are the blackish deposits that appear in the bottom of my developer tanks and trays?

I always thought it was silver, but, honestly, I never asked anyone.

Inquiring minds now want to know.

pax / Ctein

Animesh Ray: "Wow! Her portfolio is striking!"

I can't be quite sure, but it looks like images 2 & 3 are of the same street and block as this">http://galleries.moosemystic.net/Brooklyn/People/All%20People/slides/_MG_3316.html">this image I took in 2007. Certainly the relationship to the Brooklyn Bridge is the same.

The area has changed dramatically since her image was made. Mine was taken from in front of a nice bar/restaurant and a high end chocolatier. Just a few feet away, young couples with kids in expensive strollers are buying lattes and pasteries. Other images in that part of the gallery show how the area, part of DUMBO, has gone upscale.

Just a couple of blocks away is a street that dead-ends at the footing of the Manhattan Bridge. In some old shots by famous photographers and in the credits for the TV show Rescue Me, it looks abandoned and a bit scary. Today, it is completely http://galleries.moosemystic.net/Brooklyn/People/All%20People/slides/_MG_3306cr.html" >different!


Dear Ctein & all of you inquiring minds out there,

count me among you! I must admit my comment was (and is) entirely based upon, let's call it educated belief. I am not an analytical chemist of any kind, but I can't see how any silver would be lost or dissolved in the developing stage - nor in the stopping bath. (Nor does it say so here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_bromide) But my fixing bath would at times be replete with silver - so much so that I sometimes threw in a one cent (copper) coin, which would then attract enough silver to make it shine by polishing and cleaning it. And I know professional laboratories regained silver from the fixing baths (either chemically or electrically I dont' know), so as not to waste it. I've never heard of anyone regaining silver from developer. I have no idea what the stains (if I am right and they're not made of silver) in developer trays consist of. Just hydroquinone residue, maybe? I am afraid a true analyst has to give the final answer.

In humble anticipation,


A question from a darkroom ignoramus: is the residue build up to be admired like the stains in a teapot or admonished like those in a coffee pot?
From a purely lab chemistry pov, I'd have tended towards spotless equipment but does that ageing add special sauce to the final product?

I suspect it's just unavoidable. The only developer trays you can keep really clean are glass and high-grade stainless steel ones, but both of those have flat bottoms and sometimes prints will stick in a flat-bottomed tray, so they're not preferred by most people--speed in darkroom work depends on being able to reliably shuffle through a stack of prints in the developer tray rapidly and surely, and the occasional print sticking to the bottom really messes up your rhythm. I've tried to keep Cesco-Lite developer trays spotless and it's virtually impossible.


Coincidentally I saw a similar post at kottke.org this morning:


Le plus que change....

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