Cat hair and print-making:
If you have cats, make certain you don't have hair in your lens before you make prints.
It's unbelievable how cat hair can get into small, even-tightly-sealed cracks!!!
I had a lovely SPILL the other night, using my developing trays for the first time.
Make sure yours are fairly sturdy so they don't warp when you pick them up to dump out
the chemicals after you're done!
I got free tongs with my darkroom equipment. They are not the best tongs. You REALLY should
have tongs with nice rubber tips.
I got two types of tongs -- both bad. 1) No rubber tips. These slip right off the picture.
So I end up scratching the paper multiple times, trying to get it out of the trays!!
2) Humongous sponges. Maybe these tongs would have worked better if the sponges were not
so THICK! But I can barely get the tips open to grab the paper! Furthermore, when the paper
is lying on the bottom of the tray, these humongous sponge-tips can't ease under the paper
to pick it up!
So the best tongs I've used were the ones I used in my photography class. They were cheap ($4.50 for three)
ones, but very serviceable. The handles were made of flat bamboo wood. That was nice,
b/c first of all, the soft bamboo wood is not as noisy (clatter clatter clatter!!) as plastic
when you set them down. Secondly, the tips were coated with rubber which makes it easy to
grab paper. Lastly, the flatness of the tongs allows one to slide one side of the tongs
under the paper to lift it into the next tray so you need never touch the emulsion side at all!
Very nice tongs!