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"Dust, Dust"
In your Darkroom and Camera

by George Spray

It was the Ancient Mariner who said, “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”

Well, to the photographer it’s “Dust Dust everywhere and nothing I can do about it.”

And you’re about right.  There is not much you can do about it because dust is everywhere. So you must learn how to spot your prints.  That’s that little game that photographers play called filling in the dots.

The first weapon in your war against dust is the vacuum cleaner. Sure, they stir up as much dust as they pick up. And despite this we suggest you start with your enlarger and clean it inside and out.  When done cover it with a large trash bag. Now vacuum the rest of the room, damp mop the floors and swab down all the work surfaces.

If you can control the humidity you can also control dust. Heavy air keeps dust down so try for a humidity level of about 60 percent.

Static electricity also causes dust to cling to negatives. Antistatic cloths and brushes are great weapons against this darkroom demon. Use the cloths sparingly because grit caught in the cloth can scratch negatives.  A brush is a better weapon.

With your camera blow the dust away with a blower brush or the like.  Don’t use pressurized canned air because you can blow the mirror or shutter right out of the camera.

And if you look through the viewfinder and see little black spots.  Don’t worry about them.  They’re not going to show up on your pictures anyway.

Just learn to love spotting and you’ll learn to live with dust.

© 2008 - Bruce Gibson maintains
This content is provided by Bruce Gibson. It may be used only in its entirety with all links included.

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