My New Favorite iPhone App For The Darkroom in 2020

February 28, 2020  •  1 Comment

My New Favorite iPhone App For The Darkroom by Tim LaytonMy New Favorite iPhone App For The Darkroom by Tim Layton A few years ago, I discovered and started using Mark II Artist's Viewfinder to simplify the scouting and composition process for all of my large format cameras. Four years later, I stumbled on to my new favorite iPhone app that has simplified my darkroom workflow and I am going to share it with you today.  The name of the application is Darkroom Clock and it is developed by Adam Fowler. And, yes, it is free! 

I love this application for a few different reasons.  First, I have been using a variety of battery-powered timers in the darkroom for as long as I can remember.  They eventually break and then I replace them.  Often times, depending on the process, I can't even see them.  With this free Darkroom Clock app for my iPhone, I can configure it to be safe while working under a red safelight. It comes preloaded with some film and print development sequences that can be easily updated or even deleted if you wish. In less than 5 minutes, I was able to set up my fiber and RC print development processes to include the archival workflow too.  Using the iPhone's accessibility shortcuts feature, I can put my iPhone into darkroom safe mode and use the timer to make my prints. I will include the developer's description in the section below, and then I will walk you through some of the features that I like about this app in addition to showing you how to make your iPhone safe to use in the darkroom.  

Darkroom Timer App by Adam FowlerDarkroom Timer App by Adam Fowler Darkroom Clock is a flexible darkroom timer app suitable for both film and photo development. Build your own development recipes with separate timers for each stage of your development process. The app includes:

- fully configurable development recipes.

- darkroom mode (safe to use with B&W photographic paper).

- A clear display with all the information you need.

- the whole screen is the start/stop button for the timers

- notifications if you leave the app while a timer is still running

How To Configure Your iPhone To Be Darkroom Safe

In this section, I will walk you through how you can configure and use your iPhone while working in the darkroom.  As a general rule, I try and avoid taking my phone into the darkroom, but there are times when I am waiting for a call or I simply need access to the phone while working.  I am currently using iOS version 13.3 and my instructions are based on this software. 

Follow these steps to make your iPhone darkroom safe:

Go to Settings, Accessibility, Display & Text Size, and locate Color Filters.  

Darkroom Timer App by Adam FowlerDarkroom Timer App by Adam Fowler Click on Color filters and you will see a screen that looks like a line of colored pencils.  There is a toggle switch directly below the colored pencils.  Turn that on and then scroll down and move the sliders complete to the far right for Intensity and Hue. Your phone screen will be red now!! 

You can just turn this on and off as you wish if you need to use your phone in the darkroom for whatever reason. 

If you want to create a shortcut to turn this on and off, I have a neat little trick for you.  

Go to Settings, Accessibility and scroll down to the very bottom to Accessibility Shortcut. Find Color Filters in the list and click it to enable it.  It will have a little blue checkmark next to it now.  You may have other items enabled as well, and that is fine. 

Exit out of the Settings area and then triple-click on the right button on your iPhone.  There is only one button on the right side of your phone, so you can confuse this with anything else.  When you do that, Accessibility Shortcuts will pop up from the bottom of your screen and you will see Color Filters on that list.  If you click on that, you will put your iPhone into darkroom safelight mode! 

If you want to disable it when you are done working in the darkroom, just triple-click the right button and select Color Filters again and it will disable it.

Tips On The Darkroom Timer Application

If you haven't already done so, go to the App Store on your iPhone and download the Darkroom Clock application. After you get it installed, launch it and you will see a screen that looks like the one on the left in the illustration below. 

Darkroom Timer App by Adam FowlerDarkroom Timer App by Adam Fowler

From here, you can edit, modify, delete, or add your own processes for film or print development.  The application is very basic and very simple to use.  You can either use the Accessibility Shortcut that I showed you how to enable in the section above to put your timer into darkroom safelight mode, or you can click on the "triple hamburger" icon in the upper right corner of the app and enable "Darkroom Mode".  Since you have already set up the Color Filters as described above, you are ready to go. 

While you are in the settings area, you can also enable screen dimming (I do) and Auto Advance mode (move to next step in your sequence after a pre-determined interval).  I personally don't want the auto-advance sequence enabled because depending on the number of sheets of film or paper I am developing, I am not sure how long that will take before proceeding to the next step in the process. It beeps to let you know each stage is complete and all you have to do is touch anywhere on the screen to activate the next time sequence.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. 


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Kara Hidalgo(non-registered)
So cool to learn about this tool! We will also use it in our Serigraph Darkroom when burning screens. Thank you!
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