Darkroom Download Vol. 1

Welcome to my first post in many a moon… I find it a challenge to write about my doings in my darkroom, especially via social media etc, but here it goes.

Firstly, “Thank You” to everyone who touched base regarding the darkroom and myself during the fire season. We were very lucky indeed to escape major damage. Without the hard work of RFS and local residents, things may have been a whole lot worse.

Below are a few pics from the just above the darkroom and also from the upper Boree Track / Upper Yengo Creek Road looking West towards Yengo Mountain, about 20 minutes from the the gate.

Since the New Year, printing commissions have been fairly consistant. I recently worked on a series of test prints for Jo Cripps from Salt & Silver studio. On this project, Jo shot a number of different film stocks and hand processed them in various developers. A notable image was on the Foma Retropan 120, beautifully complimented by the tree dappled light. The use of Pyro developer also gave extra punch to some of the other images where the contrast was fairly flat. Jo isn’t shy of experimenting, which is useful for film photographers. For this project, our aim was to create a series of sample prints for the various silver gelatine printing options I can offer. All up, it was 4 days in the darkroom with about 20 odd tests, culled to a presentable 13 finals that made it to the press. These consisted of Lith prints, Liquid Emulsion and Silver gels. Toining options included Gold + Lith, and warm tone paper. Thiocarbamide on the neutral tone 112 and Selenium with the 111 gloss 131 warm tone. Finally a few Liquid Emulsion on watercolour paper. I also used different borders for added variety.

Detailed info is below, if you can be bothered. Otherwise skip to the pics.

Lith Prints: Printed onto Fomatone 132 & 131 warm tone paper. Developed in Kodalith A&B developer for approx. 6 – 8 minutes. Toning: Gold only ( GAF 231)

Liquid Emulsion: Printed onto Canson 230 gms watercolour paper. Double coated over 48 hours. Printed on day 3 and developed in Fomatol P 1:1 for 3 minutes. No toning

Silver Gelatine: Printed onto Fomabrom 112 & 111 neutral tone stock and 131 & 132. Prints were developed in Fomatol P for 3 minutes at 1:2. Toning of neutral tone stock consisted of a bromide bleach till complete, then after washing toned on Thio. #3 formula. Another print was Selenium toned for 3 minutes @ 1:10 dilution. Warm tome paper received Gold toner + Selenium, Gold only and Selenium only.

In other news, a new delivery has arrived from Foma which has replenished most of my stock. Back in town is the Liquid Emulsion and most “out of stock” paper. I still have a few items to stock, so if you would like anything special ordered, such as Graded papers, please drop me an email.

More stuff. Foma has announced that there will be a 5 %  increase to most of the product range, 3% to some other items. With the current exchange rates declining and freight costs increasing, I feel the necessity to adjust the current prices presently listed on the website FOR NEW STOCK ONLY. It has been a while since I have done this mind you, though it’s never easy….

If any readers have news regarding upcoming exhibitions etc, please drop me an email. Being off grid in the bush, I don’t get much photographic news. But I do get WiFi.

Lastly… Over the last few months I have made the effort to create some photographs just for me. Below are a few samples of works in progress. It has been a real learning curve, especially with the capture side of things. I am more a printer, than a photographer. But I hope with more testing I’ll get the images just how I want them.

Chris Reid, Laguna 2325



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New Bromoil paper from Foma now available. Fomabrom Variant 113 BO

Blanco Negro is happy to announce the new Bromoil paper from Foma Bohemia is now available to purchase online. I sent off a few sample packs to experienced bromoil printers who said their initial testing shows great promise.

Being a novice bromoiler myself, I have yet to take the plunge and have a crack. I did make a series of grade tests as well as a Fomatol PW developer test. It seems the BO 113 has little Chloride salts, so the effect with the PW was minimal. This also explains the neutral colour of the paper. My next step is toner tests, mainly Selenium, Gold and Thiocarbamide, followed by a bromoil run. Fingers crossed I get some sort of result!


The paper is available in either 10/8″ X 25 sheet pack or 11/14″ X 10 sheet pack

The paper can be bought here : http://localhost/blanconegro.com.au/product-category/paper/specialty-papers/

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Slowly but surely

Over the weekend we installed most of the solar gear and a bunch of darkroom equipment. Water will be arriving next week and by then I should have a few of the machines all set up and ready to print 🙂

So far so good. Getting use to the change over has been a little stressful, but print bookings are coming in and I’ve a bunch of film to process, so that will ease me back in the saddle.

Just the communication side of things will take a little longer to sort. Next step is Telstra installing the landline and then hooking up to the NBN Sky Muster when the solar is fully installed.

Slowly but surely I am getting there… And thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement.

Chris Reid



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Hand made folio by Jack Picone

Been in the dark eight days straight… should have a bed in there!
I just thought I'd share a pic of Jack Picone's latest panorama folio. The edition consist of ten hand made 24/10″ prints which I was lucky enough to print for Jack mid last year. I have my copy of the folio handy if anyone is interested in seeing the whole set. They are also for sale of course through Jack's website. He was a pleasure to have in the darkroom, which is another little perk of a lab rat!

J. Picone

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Blast to the Past

Yea haa for friday….. Just thought I’d share some old photo mag covers from the 80’s thru to the naughties. A friend passed on 3 boxes of these goodies and I’m slowly getting through them. They reminded me of the feeling one gets when printing a neg from 20 years ago, watching it appear through the developer and being instantly transported back in time, to the very moment of exposure and even to events leading up to the shot.

It’s a great feeling being able to time travel….


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Hanging with Raul & Leysis

Raul Canibano & Leysis QuesadaWhat have I been up too…? Where to start! REPORTAGE – how good has this show been. Amazing works from around the globe, right here in Sydney. Well done Steveo & Anna.

First off I had the pleasure of working on a special folio for Mr. Jack Picone. We spent several days in the dark. A real gentleman and a fine snapper.

Next was CUBAN photographer Raul Canibano with Leysis Quesada translating. In the dark we all speak the same lingo I discovered.

Also under the red light was Manuela from the Rennie Ellis Archive checking out the digital enlarger. Considering I only made a quick test, she was most impressed.

And lastly Mr. Page and Mau have some brilliant news regarding a very special folio, but all I can say is that the images have never been seen as a collection. More on this to come.

Have a great long weekend and get out & about to see some fine works hanging around Sydney’s galleries

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