A space of my own

By August 27, 2014Blog, Film

A space of my own

More than 8 weeks have passed since my last post, I may have been absent but I’ve certainly not been idle!!!!

For a long time something has been bothering me, almost to the point of distraction and certainly to a degree that it was actually putting me off shooting. I needed a space of my own, not a cold corner of the garage or the spare bedroom but a my own space, somewhere I could set myself up and really get organised.

I think it’s an age thing, age and a little bit of OCD!! I’m not quite folding my socks in to neat little lines but who know’s maybe one day!

So, I’ve been busy building a darkroom/office, it’s not enormous at around 15 sqm but it’s certainly big enough to do all the things I want to do and I’m no longer a photographic gypsy. The process of designing the space and drawing up a plan (sketchup is awesome) reminded me a little of my previous life, getting my tools out was also therapeutic although I’m over it now….and yes I did set a budget for this project and subsequently broke it. A late addition to my plan was an Electronic Humidity Control Cabinet, I’m pretty sure this is me being over cautious but it was reasonably priced, I’ll give further details on the cabinet I chose in a separate post. I did save some money by utilising the old wine cooler (we don’t have wine long enough to store….we drink it!) it’s great for my film though.

A space of my own 4

A spacw of my own 5

I’ve refurbished the Magnifax enlarger I acquired a few years ago, I’ve not used it yet but I will get to it.

A space of my own 1

Something else I’d been considering was becoming more self sufficient when it comes to developing film, in the past I’ve done my own B&W using the Rondinax 35U and been pretty happy, thus far I’ve avoided colour, but that’s now changed. Several weeks ago I purchased a Digibase C-41 kit and used it successfully with the Rondiax, it’s a little fiddly keeping the temperatures exactly where you need them but it is manageable. Not wanting to risk any film with potentially decent shots on I put a couple of test rolls through the kit and was pleased with the results. This all happened around the same time as my lab www.filmsoup.co.nz hit some technical difficulties with their film processing kit and subsequently had a little down time.

All the thinking about colour film processing and Jobo’s served to reminded me of an email I’d had back in February this year regarding a Jobo CPP2 that was potentially available, at the time I’d declined the offer. I made a call and was pleased to hear it was still available so I made arrangements to view it the following day. In the meantime I refreshed my memory on the CPP2 and the various improvements made to the machines over the course of their production.

A space of my own 3

If I’m honest I wasn’t expecting much, I learnt a long time ago that one persons mint condition is another’s fair but my luck was in. Although the lady selling the Jobo assured me she had used it in the past this CPP2 had no visible signs of use, added to that it has the Lift fitted and was the latest serial number which means it has all the improvements. We agreed a price of NZ$450 and I was a very, very happy man!!

I still needed a tank before I could run anything through the machine so I contacted Omer at www.catlabs.info and he sorted me out with a Multitank 2520, a couple of reels for 35/120 and a reel for 4×5. I’ve had the Jobo running a few times over the course of last week and I’ll post some B&W & Colour images in the next few days. Along with those I will include a scanning workflow which I’ve almost 99% settled on!!

Let’s see, what else have I done??? I found myself a fantastic M7, absolutely mint, boxed and a great price. This has been reduced to a good price as NZ Customs took a liking to the M7 and requested a donation to release it!! Still a great buy and I have to say having put a couple of rolls through it I really like it.

Leica M7

Lastly my leg, the one that was operated on is as good as it’s ever been, unfortunately the other leg, the one I had the same operation on about 12 years ago is playing up, age related again…..

Cheers, Jason.




  • Andy Gemmell says:

    Well Jason it’s good to see you are still into photography…:-) I guess that is an under statement if I’ve ever seen one!

    Wow….I am very envious of the space (and the M7). Not so much the developing as I struggle to even have the time to photograph of late.

    Looking forward to the next post!



    • janrzm says:

      Hey Andy,

      Yes I’m still committed….

      I actually get quite excited thinking about the developing, maybe the novelty will wear off. Ultimately I’m happy to have the control, I’ll still use my lab in Wellington but I know I can develop my film the day I shoot it if I want to.

      Hope you’re recovered.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • Don says:

    I hate internet abbreviations, but OMG! I have serious darkroom envy..

    Please tell me you have a beer fridge in there as well, or at least some room in there with all the film!

    Enjoy your new space, it looks spectacular.

    • janrzm says:

      That cracked me up Don!

      There is no room in that fridge for beer at the moment, that said I’m getting through the film with more enthusiasm than I’ve had for a long time. In the main that’s because it’s only costing me $3.50 a roll to develop on average. There will be room in the fridge for a few beers soon enough!!

      It’s a great space, I’m no longer having to get stuff out and put it away, everything is organised, no excuses anymore.

      Cheers, Jason.

  • darrin says:

    Nice set up Jason, under $5 to develop film. That would make it tempting.

    • janrzm says:

      Thanks, it’s very early days in my colour developing with the Jobo, the first few setbacks will no doubt test my resolve. The relative cost of developing is a big plus though.

  • Not only had I thought you idle, I thought you were bone idle. Now I understand why you were encouraging me, months ago, to buy a Zone VI darkroom system I saw on Craigslist…misery does love company. Luckily I came to my senses, so will have to live vicariously. Can’t wait to see the results of your labor!

    • janrzm says:

      Well maybe there was a small amount of idle in the delay, but just a bit…. I was encouraging you to have fun, but yes you’re quite right, misery does love company and when things go wrong you’ll be at the top of the list in my search for answers. 🙂

      First efforts up shortly.


  • Wow, what awesome setup Jason. Happy for you.

  • Bruce Esplin says:

    Jason – I have to say I am little jealous – great space very well equipped and set up!

    You might have seen, I helped my friend at Fox Darkroom (https://www.facebook.com/thefoxdarkroom/info) as a ‘crash test dummy’ for his short courses on film photography and the alchemy of the darkroom – developing, printing enlarging – last sunday. First time I have developed my own film – let alone printed! As everybody says – that moment when the first image starts to magically appear on the paper in the develper is so very very special!

    Been missing your blog posts – looking forward to following your next journeys



    • janrzm says:

      Hi Bruce,

      It’s a lovely space and I’m happy to have it, thanks.

      I did indeed see the that you’d helped your friend at the Fox Darkroom, that is an absolutely fabulous space and a great resource, it sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed yourself there.

      Always good to hear from you.

      All the best, Jason.

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