There are 3 additional techniques for reducing the contrast in printing high contrast negatives. One is the unsharp mask written about and demonstrated by Howard Bond in numerous articles in Photo Techniques. Another is bleaching the exposed print in a very weak ferricyanide solution before developing it in a standard print developer. A third is an exposure to very dim overall light in addition to the image light, often called "flashing".
All these methods have their complexities. Unsharp masking has the advantage in terms of flexibility IMO. Flashing can be made easy by the proper equipment, which includes a sensitive baseboard meter and a light source that has the color temperature of the enlarger lamp and is controllable by a diaphram. None of them requires doing anything to the negative.
Flashing. For one who spoons up developers you've
Originally Posted by gainer
describe a rather involved method.
My method: Make exposure, stop down to f45, set timer,
carefully remove negative with carrier, lower head, make
exposure. Post expose for easy re-alinement of the negative
and carrier. No additional equipment needed. Dan