Bill burk brought something up... when you finally develop you negatives, make sure you do keep a close eye on them.. as for making you prints (positives) from the negatives, make sure they fully develop a rich deep black... this is a minor detail not important, but you will notice that the images with greater impact have a completely developed black... for this, you will try to aim for the right exposure times, if the images come out too gray and lots of white, expose your prints (positives) from the negatives again with more time... after a couple of times, you'll understand what i mean, but remember developing completely will leave everyone more satisfied with the results.
To add to mesantacruz' idea...
Treat the camera paper negatives like film: Develop in diluted developer - maybe 1:9 or 1:10 water:developer ratio - for as long as it takes to get to a medium/middle gray. No sharp blacks wanted in the paper negatives, you kind of want a medium gray*. If not sure when to stop, you could cut one of the camera negatives into a few pieces and try 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes (in that diluted developer)...
Then take those few pieces and reassemble them onto paper to print.
For the prints - Here you want to develop all the way to black. Here you want to develop the full 1 to 3 minutes in the standard dilution of developer (like 1:2)
After this experiment, you may know how long to develop the paper negatives - and how long to expose the paper prints.
*Darker gray might be needed if the whole paper negative looks "flat". Like if you can't see details because everything blends together, you can develop longer to darker gray. The paper negative might be "overexposed" - what you want is a "difference" or contrast to be approximately the difference from clean white to middle gray. If the camera shot was overexposed you won't have a clean white, you will have a middle gray for the lightest part. In the case of an overexposed camera shot you will need to keep developing until you have middle gray to dark-middle-gray. The paper negative development time should be consistent, if a good properly exposed paper negative takes 3 minutes in dilute developer, then an overexposed paper negative should also take 3 minutes, even if it looks like it's going dark.
Hope this isn't too much detail or information to absorb.
Bill's advice is very good to get the best quality from your pinhole contact prints. I like to use 1:8 dektol for this purpose, and it can get easier once the dektol is a little bit used. Like many things "practice makes perfect"... after a while you will have a good feel for it by how fast the image comes up and how much contrast you can see under the safelight.
The prints can be surprisingly beautiful and I would say this process is not just "fun for kids" or "easy and simple but lacking". It does not need to suffer from its simplicity and in my opinion is a very legitimate and wonderful hands-on form of photography.
I haven't gone back and read all the pages, but it's also true that with VC paper the contrast will change depending on your light source. If you use an incandescent bulb you might get a nicer look than fluorescent, which can have a lot of blue and make the prints have a harsher high contrast look.
Have fun, what a wonderful project! I hope you make lots of future converts into the wonderful world of pinhole photography!
Thanks for all the recent info, it has been very, very helpful! On another note, my recent trip to the Dollar Tree certainly proved to be a success. (Or at least I think it did.)
You can check it out here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/1...lar-store.html
If you look at the trays I got, how many 5x7 prints do you think I can develop at once?
I've mentioned this before, but what about using those shiny metal/aluminum (kindof flimsy) trays that you use to cook a chicken/ piece of meat in? Could they be used as a better option to what I purchased?
Polyglot has mentioned to use a #0 filter over the light source to reduce contrast when printing, any ideas on how to do that exactly? Rig up a box to direct the light and tape a filter over the opening?
I've already made 2 pinhole cameras out of cigar boxes, and will probably be sharing those and some others very shortly.
Aluminum plus photo chemistry is a bad idea - aluminum is quite active chemically.
Originally Posted by clothesontheline
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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I haven't followed this thread closely enough to know what light source you will use for contact printing, but for some time I used a flashlight bulb mounted inside a steel can ( like a bean can ). On the open end, I made a little "shelf" out of cardboard with a circular hole that a normal camera filter could slip into. The contact printing light was thrown together in about 10 minutes from various scraps I found in my garage ( two "D" cell batteries, a flashlight bulb, some wire, and a switch to control the timing. I screwed the contraption to a piece of wood and mounted it about 4 feet above the surface where I used to make the contact prints. ) Those prints usually took between 1 and 2 minutes to make a nice contact.
Originally Posted by clothesontheline
Also, if you are going to use a filter, you can ignore my earlier suggestion about not using a fluorescent light. It would work provided you can rig it up so the light goes through the filter. These days I use an enlarger, but there was something fun about using a homemade "soup can light" too!
Another idea, that I haven't tried, would be to use a flashlight with the filter attached in a cardboard tube. Since you'll have helpers, they could turn it on and off, or you could use a piece of black card to block the light and time the exposures.
For a lower contrast print, you can use a grade 0 enlarging filter, or you can also use a green filter ( like commonly sold for black and white photography. )
When I was too lazy to setup my enlarger, I used to do contact prints using the room light. The 100W globe in the light fixture was too bright (couldn't flick the switch on and off quick enough!) but after replacing it with something (can't remember what wattage I used) it was useable. Flick the switch, count... one cat and dog, two cat and dog, three cat and dog... etc
Didn't a Weston use a light bulb for his contacts?
I ordered this 15w bulb http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._15_watts.html as recommended to use when contact printing in this instructional: http://users.rcn.com/stewoody/darkcam2.htm but it didn't mention using a filter (they were using graded paper)
Originally Posted by NedL
I'm not sure whether the filter will be circular or rectangular, or even if I have it yet(my friend is getting back to me) so I may need some help to acquire one w/o buying an entire set. If its rectangular, I'll probably just masking tape it over the opening of the contraption I come up with.
Do you have a picture of the thing you rigged up b4 the enlarger?
For the bulb did you just use a light socket w/ a wire? Like the type of thing others use for hanging their safelight?
Ha! No, it was really "jury rigged"... I soldered the wire to the bulb and just stuck it through a hole punched into the bottom of the can. I threw it together very fast, but it worked just fine and I used it for maybe a year.
I'll go and look and see if it is still in my closet ( aka "darkroom" ). If it is, I might be able to take a photo. It really was just as simple as it sounds... get the juice to the bulb with a way to turn it on and off in the dark.
Back in a few minutes!
OK here are some crummy photos. The first is the bean can looking up toward the ceiling of my closet. I'm holding the switch, which normally hangs down to where it can be used conveniently in the dark. The second picture ( holding the camera over my head and guessing -- sorry about the blur! ) shows that the batteries are on top of the wood held in place with cup hooks and rubber bands.
You can see the cardboard "shelf" which allows me to put a filter under the light. Also, there is only one hole punched in the can, on the side. I threaded the wire through it and soldered the light bulb to it. The bulb is just suspended in air near the top of the can... it's not held in by anything except the stiffness of the wire.
So, like I said, ugly and thrown together, but it actually served it's purpose for a long time before I got my enlarger. The cardboard is just held on with duct tape.
Last edited by NedL; 06-11-2013 at 07:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.