The Road to Glacier and Rocky Mountains (portable darkroom) - Part 4

July 05, 2015

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The excitement is building as I am only two weeks away from my departure for the Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park. In fact, I can barely focus on a daily basis I am so excited.  I have been very busy planning and preparing all of the equipment and supplies that I will need for a four week road trip.  The pre-planning that is involved is a major effort within itself.  I am not staying in hotels with room service.  I am on the road for a month in my Sprinter, so everything from getting good rest, eating well, and taking care of myself is very important so that I can enjoy the epic landscapes.  

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In this article I am going to share my most recent modification to my portable darkroom that I have been using for years. Using a wardrobe box that I purchased from my local hardware store, I reinforced the inner walls with thin plywood and then I secured window darkening material (interior) with red cloth (outer) with 2"x2" pine.  I drilled holes in the pine and in the wardrobe box with the plywood using 2 inch bolts.  I lined the edges of the wardrobe box with gorilla tape.  I drape the light tight material around my body and fold in back into the dark box for a darkroom with no light leaks.  

Because I am going to be creating some 8x10 and 11x14 black and white negatives using film, paper and x-ray film, I wanted to be able to make some fine art contact prints while on the road in the Rockies and Glacier.  I suspect I will likely be the only guy with a large format portable darkroom that can develop all film types and make prints in the Rockies later this month. If not, send me a note and let's connect. 

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I will be developing all of my films (E-6, C-41 and B/W) in my Jobo on the road and I didn't want to have to wait to get back to my darkroom to create some prints.  I have been developing my films on the road for a long time, and I also have developed some positive black and white prints, but being able to make contact prints while on the road is something new and exciting.  

In order to do this, I made a simple modification to my existing portable darkroom.  I purchased a utility light and removed the silver reflector ring.  I cut a small hole in the top of the dark box and mounted and secured the lamp.  I will be using a low watt bulb on a cord that has a dimmer and on/off switch.  The lamp runs on A/C power that I have right next to the dark box.  I am bringing 8x10 and 11x14 contact printing frames with me to print with.  The dark box with the low watt bulb will be my enlarger now.  I am developing the prints in the Jobo using a diluted formula of Dektol.  

I will post videos and photos of the prints as I am creating them in the Rockies and Glacier along with my 8x10 Velvia 50 slides that I will be developing in the field too.  This should be an adventure, so stay tuned!  

I will keep you posted on the next steps in my journey in the near future. 

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