Photography - Eliminate light leaks

By David Bircher, SCA/SAC

Double Duty for Focusing Cloths

This is for those of you who do have a functioning darkroom that is used for standard printing as well as making enlarged negatives for contact processes. Light leaks can cause havoc when using the more sensitive film emulsions when using either panchromatic or ortho-chromatic film. Even if your darkroom is light tight, reflected light coming from the enlarger itself can cause fogging/loss of contrast to the film material being used to make inter-positives or the enlarged negative.

Successful workers recommend taping the enlarger with opaque tape to cover the light leaks. I find this cumbersome and time consuming. If your enlarger has moderate to small light leaks consider using your focusing cloth, draped over the enlarger, to cut the ambient light leaking. A combination of taping and the focusing cloth (or similar non-reflective cloth) can make this important preparation less arduous and help produce clean and well exposed, unfogged film/paper.

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