Your processes

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by nightbringer, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. nightbringer

    nightbringer Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm very new to enlarging (I tried doing a print a week ago, which came out with mediocre results ... not bad for a first effort but not stellar either), and I was wondering what all of you do?

    I did some searching on the internet but I still don't have a really clear picture of the process and workflow when it comes to making a print. I was wondering if some of the kind souls here at APUG would care to share how they go about making prints?

    What I did:
    1) Make a test strip in intervals of 3 second exposures at f4 on a Pentax f1.8 50mm enlarger lens
    2) Processed and dried the test strip
    3) Picked the interval I thought looked best
    4) Processed and dried that picture
     
  2. Rom

    Rom Member

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Location:
    Lyon - Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi,

    I am what we can call a newbie in enlarging :smile:

    Here is my process:

    - put your negs and adjust the focus of the enlarger with the lens wide open (i supposed it is f:4 for you)
    - then, shut down your lens up to f:8 or f:11, f:4 is too much IMO
    - make a test strip every 2 or seconds, as you want
    - process it and choose the right strip

    - make another test strip around the one that you choose before, it will helps you to adjust the time correctly.
    - process it
    - choose the right strip for you and then process the whole image with this time.

    In the dev bath for paper, process it at maximum. If the manufacturer says 3 minutes, then, you have to use 3 minutes. It's my way of process. I prefer to fix the baths process and only keep the enlarger process flexible. I think it's better to be able to compare different enlargement.

    If you use fiber paper, you will also note that it comes different when it is completely dry..

    And don't forget, enjoy your prints :smile:

    Also for the grade, in my personnal opinion, it's better to start at a "normal grade" like grade 2 and adjust time after. Don't strat directly with a higher grade. Just try it later.

    And don't forget that i am a newbie and perhaps i am also false, i don't know ?

    I am happy to have found your thread as i have also done some printing this week. The sensation of "going to the end" of the analog process is very good.

    When you say it was mediocre, what do you mean of ? Was it too grey ? not sharp ?

    Peace

    Rom
     
  3. nightbringer

    nightbringer Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got some RC paper with my darkroom kit, so I was using that - Ilford MGIV I think it was, I don't have access to it at the moment.

    It turned out pretty grey and underexposed, and there were bits of dust that seemed to have cropped up as scratches, my bathroom (cum darkroom) must be VERY dusty or something, since I have the same problems while drying my film.
    I guess it looked kind of flat, there wasn't too much contrast, it looked all really samey. I'll try to scan it and then upload the pic once I get a chance to.
     
  4. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1. focus with a piece of the same printing paper under the focuser.
    2. set aperture to optimum setting (f5.6-8 for my APO lenses, f8-11 for my other ones)
    3. primary test strip for density
    4. secondary test stip for contrast
    5. third test stip at chosen density and contrast across vital areas
    (blow-dry strip if necessary to see dry-down results)
    6. make work print at chosen settings
    7. make final prints with adjustments, burning and dodging if necessary
    8. after prints are dry, bleach and tone.
    9. when all is done, spotting, sign print and store in archival sleeve and box.
    10. unsuccessfully try to sell print, but usually end up giving away as a present or have it sit in the box for years to come.
     
  5. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Location:
    Metro DC are
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Speaking to just your dust/scratches issue.
    I dry my film in the shower/bathroom also.
    Keep the shower curtain closed and try to restrict traffic into the room if possible.
    IMMEDIATELY upon drying insert your negs right into your archival sleeve/pages.

    I learned in a community darkroom where some weren't that serious and saw people walking around with unprotected film. Some dragging the film behind them. Then some would inspect the negs on the light table before they cut & sleeved them. Yes, bare emulsion on the scratched up surface of the light box. Made me squirm.

    Also you could run the shower briefly before hanging to get the dust down if it's real bad.
    My place is extremely dusty but I don't need to do this.

    Basically, just try to keep handling the raw film to the utmost minimum.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,508
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Welcome to APUG.

    Printing is a craft/art. Practice and experimentation and clean negatives are all important. Hang in there, it gets better!

    You are actually working a variety of variables at once, exposure, contrast, placement...

    Exposure, enough normally to get max black, is variable depending on contrast.

    Contrast is the difference between black and white. With contrast choices you are actually choosing how much of the detail in the negative that you actually print. This took me a lot of practice to see and find what I liked best.

    Placement relates to the brightness of a specific area in the print. Faces are a great example here. Where placement of a specific subject (other than black) like a face is important, adjust exposure to place the skin tone properly, make a decision about contrast and change the filters then find the right exposure again for the skin tone; repeat until you like it.

    You will be tossing out a bunch of paper while you are learning.
     
  7. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,377
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Not a suggestion about how to print. I recommend first being very familiar with your camera equipment and exposing to get a properly exposed negative. Through visits to museums and galleries acquaint yourself with the style of prints that you aspire to make. Buy some books by master printers that are well printed. Once you know what you want to achieve standardize your technique. Since there are variables you can modify one at a time to see the effect. Then practice practice practice. Record your settings so as to see what give a particular result. Don't jump from one paper and/or chemistry to another without getting the best out of what you are using. Once you are comfortable and competent experiment with other techniques and materials.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  8. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,617
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,971
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i often time don't use a test strip in the conventional sense
    but focus on a paper the same thickness as the paper to be printed on
    stop down 3-4 stops and guess the exposure.
    if it is too much, i make another exposure by half ... and fine tune it to
    get the print to look " about right " then i multiply that time by 1.5 and
    expose 1/3 of the time with a 0 filter, then i make another exposure and expose the rest of the time,
    with a #5 filter.
    i dry the print ... and see if i need to burn and dodge a little bit ... and make an extra print
    "just in case" something strange happens while it dries down


    have fun !
    john
     
  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,351
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ain't that the truth!

    After focussing, I stop down to what I think will be about a 10 sec. exposure. I set my timer for 5 sec. and do three progressive exposures on a test strip. That gives me 5, 10 & 15 sec. From that I can generally tell what I need. I will then make a final test strip to prove I have the correct exposure. If I don't like the contrast, I will then change the filter and try again.
     
  11. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If the borders of your print are also mucky grey then your safelight isn't, your darkroom isn't or your paper is old.

    If your whites are white but the blacks are weak then you may not giving be enough exposure (try giving 4x more time). You could be using wrong, over-diluted or expired developer.

    Other causes of low contrast: Using too low a contrast filter (2 1/2 is normal); low contrast negative; dirty enlarger lens; using a large negative carrier for a small negative and letting a lot of light through around the negative.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,798
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've never seen a Pentax enlarger lens, or any enlarger lens with an f/1.8 maximum aperture.

    Is there any chance you are actually using a camera lens which is not optimized for close focus, flat field work?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2011
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,978
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Vir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That caught my eye, too. It must be a camera lens.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. nightbringer

    nightbringer Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got a chance to pull out my enlarger, looking at the writing around the lens ...

    Asahi Opt. Co.
    Super-Takumar 1:1.8/55
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,798
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Does it look like this, with a focusing helical?

    http://mars.bellstek.net/lens/090/00.htm
     
  17. Monito

    Monito Member

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nova Scotia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The lens is more valuable as a camera lens than an enlarger lens, I think. Super-Takumars are fine camera lenses.

    Lenses that are optimized for enlarging are available used in excellent condition for a song.
     
  18. ROL

    ROL Member

    Messages:
    792
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I thought it was a "kind" act when I published this article over a year ago on my site, specifically for people who cannot avail themselves of printed material, academia, or workshops. It seems that a more than cursory search of the internet or these forums, would have surely brought it to your attention. Or perhaps the series of introductory technique articles I have written and illustrated simply aren't clear enough.
     
  19. tim k

    tim k Member

    Messages:
    237
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    #10 you just got to love it.
     
  20. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

    Messages:
    764
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    THANKS BEN! Great read!!!!

    Great information ...
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,004
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi,

    It is a lot of trial and error. In general, I would say to use fresh paper and chemistry, and to find an aperture that will give you a time somewhere between 10 and 40 seconds, and to get your ballpark time first, and then get your ballpark contrast. When first learning, don't change time and contrast in one swoop. Change one factor at a time until you get the hang of it.

    As you get better, you'll realize which times are "normal" for "normal" negatives, and know how to deviate simply by looking at a neg.

    Other than that, before you get started, just brush up on the basic theory behind enlarging, so you aren't just taking shots in the dark.
     
  22. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

    Messages:
    2,129
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Man, I want a F1.8 enlarging lens! lol
     
  23. nightbringer

    nightbringer Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yep that's the one. It's a camera lens?

    ROL: thanks for the link, I'll have a look. I did have a look over the internet and didn't find it, so thanks again for linking me
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,798
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, it is a lens designed to be used on a camera.

    With a closest focussing distance of 0.45 meter.

    Definitely not optimized for use on an enlarger. With the exception of certain rare zooming enlarger lenses, no enlarger lens I am aware of have focus adjustments on the lens.

    If you are forced to use it until you can obtain an enlarger lens, make sure that the focusing helical on it is set to the closest available distance.

    Then adjust the enlarger height and focus using the enlarger's controls.

    Then make a final, slight adjustment to the focussing helical on the lens to maximise the limited sharpness that is available.

    Good luck, and have fun (much easier with a proper lens).
     
  25. Rom

    Rom Member

    Messages:
    135
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Location:
    Lyon - Franc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.

    Very interesting articles indeed

    Peace

    Rom
     
  26. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,659
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format