Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do it yourself darkroom lights

Finding darkroom lights these days, that don't cost a fortune, can be pretty tough. I came up with a simple solution for red lights, as I do a lot of lith printing and want to make sure I don't have fog problems.

Now bear in mind, I haven't tested these to see if they might fog. I figure, if ruby lith film has been used on windows safely enough, it'll be fine for led lights and they aren't pointed right at the paper for long anyhow.

Now, what I did was go and get three little push lights from my local Canadian Tire, the kind with three leds. What is nice about them is that you can have one, two or all three leds on, and so control the amount of light. I also picked up some ruby lith film, which I cut into a circle and taped over the light with opaque tape around the edges. If you don't know what ruby lith is, it's a red film used by printers and generally pretty safe for darkroom stuff.

These lights are surprisingly bright and even with the red film on them, which does cut down light intensity, they still give off quite a bit of light. What was surprising is that the light is rather directional, far more of a beam than I expected. Which is good, as I am able to nicely hold one in my hand (they are only about 3 inches across) as a darkroom torch. With one light on, they work very nicely to check the progress of my lith printing. 

Now go have fun in the dark.

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