What a great feeling! First prints!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by omaha, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Well, I am beyond excited right now!

    I just finished producing my first analog prints in 30 some years, and it went fabulously!

    My only prior experience with this was in the college newspaper darkroom way back. It was all meatball work: Everything was pre-timed for us. All we wanted was to get an image that was good enough to screen onto a plate and we called it good.

    So tonight's effort was my first time ever trying to get something that was actually of acceptable quality, and while the results are far from where I want them to be, I got something, and that's a start.

    And I only blew one sheet...my first...based on mis-understanding the operation of my timer and setting 20 seconds instead of 2. The result was pure black. Heh.

    Second effort gave me a decent set of test exposures. Based on that I settled on 6.5 seconds and fired off my first would-be keeper. No dodging or burning. Just a straight shot. And it came out!

    Decided to get aggressive with the next one, so I upped the contrast filter, and even tried a little dodging. The result is probably best described as "clumsy", but none the less it is invigorating seeing the differences in the output based on those adjustments.

    I'll take them into the office tomorrow and scan them in.

    A huge THANK YOU to all the folks here who offered advice and counsel along the way, and particular THANKS to Simon from Ilford, who was kind enough to send their book to me. You have all been a tremendous help!
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    This is what it's all about. You control the process, you control the creativity, you control the output.
     
  3. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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    Congrats! You'll quickly find that printing is just like any other Art form - there's always something to learn and the challenge is to create prints that reflect your vision. One of the truest adages in photography by Ansel Adams - The Negative is the score, but the Print is the performance.
     
  4. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Congratulations! It is pure magic to see the image emerge from the white paper.
     
  5. keyofnight

    keyofnight Member

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    Congratulations! I can't wait to give printing a shot one day too. :smile:
     
  6. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Omaha,

    Pleased it went well...

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    And so, the addiction begins...
     
  8. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Ok, here we go.

    First one:
    [​IMG]

    Second one: I went from the #2 to the #3 filter, and cut out a little mask to try some dodging. I like the way the sky came out, but the "halo" around the girl is pretty sketchy...

    [​IMG]

    As Rick said, "the addiction begins"...
     
  9. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Quick breakdown...

    I'm surprised at how fuzzy/oof it looks. Not sure if its the negative or the enlargement (or something in the processing?), although given the focal length and the aperture, I have a hard time thinking the negative is out of focus. Gonna need to sort that out for sure.

    I really should have used a reflector to toss some light up into her face/head. If this were digital, I'd save it by carefully masking her out in PS and doing some selective exposure control. I don't think I can get the needed level of precision with this process.

    I truly love the way the sky/clouds came out in the second print. These were taken with my RB67, 50mm lens with a red filter.

    I used some of the fixer I've been using to develop film. Didn't really mean to. I had forgotten that I mixed up my entire bottle of fixer a few weeks ago. Is that a no-no (using the same fixer for prints and for film)? I realize the concentration was wrong (1/4 for film, 1/9 for prints?)
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Great photos and a nice camera also.
    You could use the same fixer.

    Jeff
     
  11. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Good start. If you want her lighter, you could reduce contrast a little to lighten the blacks; something you don't really do much with printing. Usually you want solid blacks, but here, I think highlights are most interesting and the blacks provide shapes rather than detail. You could also keep her dark as is and tone it, so it's not dark silver face/shadows; sometimes rich sepia (or other rich tone) looks better than dark gray.

    As far as dodging, I sometimes use a finger or thumb part way between the enlarger and paper to approximate the shape of an underexposed body/head. Wiggle it a little so you don't have a shadow of a finger, but sometimes the shape of your hands or fingers can make a perfect mask.

    I use different fixer mostly to keep the film fixer clean. (so no paper fibers or airborne dust lands in the trays and then onto film where you only have one chance to get it right)
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I agree - a good start.

    And it doesn't look particularly fuzzy to me, but then the scanning process intervenes.

    And as jp498 says, it is best to reserve film fixer for film use and paper fixer for paper use. You don't particularly want the small byproducts of either process to be introduced to the other.

    If you are going to mix up the entire package of fixer at once, split it before use into two bottles. One can be at paper dilution (and labelled fixer for prints) and the second can be at film dilution, and marked accordingly.
     
  13. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Had some fun again last night. This is ridiculously addictive. I think my life as I knew it is over.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And finally, my first print off the new (old) Agfa Isolette III I recently bought:

    [​IMG]

    So far, these are pretty much just straight prints. I'm so thrilled to just get an image to appear, I'm not doing much else. Not being methodical at all...Mostly I'm playing around, trying to get a feel for how a given negative will react to a given amount of exposure, different f stops on the enlarger lens, etc. My next step is going to be to take a negative and really try to get a "great" print from it. I feel myself getting more and more sucked in...
     
  14. viridari

    viridari Member

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    Way to go! I've recently made the leap from scanning negatives do doing darkroom enlargements myself. Bought a box of 250 sheets of fresh paper to practice on, do practical exercises, and it's really been paying off.
     
  15. Paul Glover

    Paul Glover Member

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    Nice...this is getting me extra excited to get started on printing!
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Enjoy!
     
  17. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Yea! Have fun. Isn't it wonderful?
     
  18. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Do you see now why analog people are so protective of their process? :smile:
     
  19. jkwhinfrey

    jkwhinfrey Member

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    Good work.

    It's been about 25 years since I did any printing, but the kit's in the process of being set up again, so I how to join you very soon.