Experimenting with Contact Prints
I recently tried contact printing my LF negatives. My location limits what I can acquire, so using Ilford's IlfospeedGrade 3 and a bottle of Tetenal Eukobrom, I went to work. Unfortunately, I cannot change the light in the bathroom to a lower level, so experienced several abysmal failures, before hitting upon trying out my flash at lower power levels. By limiting the power of the flash, which is extremely short duration, you can get your exposure almost spot on.
The next time I ordered paper, the shop could only get Ilford's MGIV VC paper. The photographer said you can control the contrast with your development and don't need filters. This was definitely not accurate beyond the most basic sense. After some trial and error, and probably 10 wasted shots, I decided to look at Ilford's VC filters. I found an image on Google of the correct filter. Then I searched my Rosco gels for a match, which was found in short order in #39 Skelton's Exotic Sangria. Trying it out, I found that 9 flashes was still correct and exposure was usually spot on. The paper developed too quickly, so I diluted the Eukobrom to 1:18 and now get good prints. The dilution helps keep the print from going warm, and at this level keeps it from cooling too much and makes for some very nice neutral tones.
I still suck at scanning, dust and lost details, but being able to print my work and then take in the contact print when I want larger prints, makes for more good prints and less waste for the company I get my prints from.
I know this probably isn't much, especially here, but I thought sharing would help someone else out. Those who came before us in photography made do with what was available, and experimenting with what I have now makes for increased learning and a greater connection with the roots of our art.
I hope everyone has a great day!