Before We Begin

Getting Started

The Process

The Process II


Print Drums

Temperature Control

Tips / Miscellaneous


Temperature Control

Is it worth it?

Maybe. I keep my chemistry refrigerated, so I have to warm it up before use anyway. I use a 6-pack beer cooler fitted with a dollar store thermometer. I fill it with warm water, tweaking the faucet until the temperature is at around 98 degrees. Then I place the bottles of working solution inside the cooler, close the lid, and wait about 10 minutes. By then, the temperatures will have averaged at around 94, and I’m good to go. I have printed between 88 and 94 degrees with no noticeable change in color cast. The cooler keeps the temperature extremely well. Every hour or so, I dump out a cup of cold water and replace it with hot water to keep the temperature up.

That being said, processing at room temperature is perfectly fine, and may be easier for most people. The number one issue is consistency. There is a definite change in colour cast if you print at 94F and then print with the same filter pack at room temperature. What this means is that if you made your test print at room temperature, in order for your recorded settings to have any meaning, you need to stay within tolerance of room temperature. Also, the lower the temperature, the longer you must process. Whereas you normally develop for 60 seconds at 94F, you should probably develop for 120 seconds or so at room temperature.

Reading about and doing are entirely different beasts. I had always been under the impression that this type of work was an exact science. In practice, however, the materials are highly forgiving. Additionally, once you are within range of tolerable colour balance, interpretation and personal preference take precedence over true-to-life rendition (which is a crock anyway!) It's not like you're batch processing control strips for the latest International Quality Control Convention of Anal Retentive Lab Technicians (IQCCARLT for short.) You're making prints for yourself; lighten up and enjoy it!

In short, don't bend over backwards thinking you have to keep things to an ultra-tight tolerance. The paper will forgive a few degrees of variation. It's not science, it's art. Moreover, it's fun!




Omar Elkharadly, 2010