How often do you print?
Im sure this has been covered before many times, but the search function isn't giving me much.
I'm curious as to how often people contact print. Do you wait until you reach a certain number of "acceptable" looking negatives? Do you possibly set aside a time every number of weeks (or months) to print your negs? I'm getting back into 8x10 after a few years and I seem to want to print everything the minute it's developed, just wanted to see if I was the only one or not..
Let me preface this by stating that I normally use Amidol for my contact prints. Amidol will last for approx. 12 hours before it goes bad. I therefore do my "proof" printing when I have 35+ negatives to print, or after I have finished a session of "fine prints" (normally 2-3 hours).
This way I can do the "proofing" of my negatives once I'm tired and use my "alert" time to do my best printing.
For myself, I have found that it is always better to print new negatives as soon as I can. I generally make quite a few negatives whenever I photograph (which is far too infrequently) so there is not an issue with waiting until I have a full day worth of printing. If I do wait a long time to print a negative I almost always become disinterested in the picture, and either end up feeling like it is drudgery work or I just go on to print the newer negatives.
The other benefit of printing as soon as the negative is dry is that you can immediatly make that picture part of your visual vocabulary, then use it to inform your newer work.
As far as conserving the amidol goes, I usually contact print at the beginning of the session on Azo with Michael Smith's formula, then if I have enlargements to make, I add the requisite amount of KBr and benzotriazole to use it with enlarging paper for the rest of the session.
Interesting.. If I waited until I had 35 8x10 negs, I'd be waiting a LONG time to print. It's hard for me to get out and shoot a bunch of negatives in one day around here, I've simply lost interest in this area. I use amidol for prints myself, but sadly I'm all out of AZO.. I like the idea of proofing, then taking an extended break before trying to get a real fine print, although I would say that I have never gotten one of those myself.. Really interesting guys, thanks for your responses.
How often? Usually when I have six or so 8x10 negatives. Why?
Each negative will take three, four, or five sheets of paper to investigate so a single set of dev/stop/fix trays will do the batch.
My archival washer has 24 slots so a six negative session will just about fill it up. A 45 minute wash then produces enough paper to cover all my drying screens so there is no easy way to handle more.
I don't know if I work particularly slowly but it takes about six hours to do all this and clean everything up for the next session.
Most importantly working through six negatives makes me darn tired. I could do more, have done more, but the quality goes off the wearier I get. Materials are too precious to use prodigally. Working tired means more throwaways the next morning.