I´m gonna start by taking my exposure time to 30-40 sec. I was using F11 on my enlarger so I have 2 more stops to work with. But I have always been told that I´ll get the best sharpness at f11-16.
I think I might also agitate the tray to fast and unevenly, gonna work on that as well Also give it more time in the developer.
When I burn out the highlights I dont change the filters, gonna give that a try also.
I´m using AGFA C66 color enlarger and usually use filter strength 3 1/2 - 4.
I use my hands mostly but sometimes I use a little pin with a paper taped on the end for dodging.
You don't need to stop down the lens too much to get longer exposure times. This stuff works great, and is very inexpensive. It's easy to subtract one or more stops of light with no color shift stacking a single or multiple layers of this material in with your contrast filters above the lens. If you're using below the lens filters, simply stack one or more layers on top of the condenser. If your enlarger has a diffusion type head, slip it below the light mixing chamber. I do this regularly with a small Omega B600 that I use for making small prints from 35 mm. negatives.
I slide it in, and I dont have a timer. I just count in my head :rolleyes:
With most papers, and most paper developers, 90 seconds in the developer is about right. My timing goes longer because of my use of the egg timer.
One must avoid the temptation to pull the print when it "looks right."
I like a "gutsy" neg; so my exposure times in the enlarger run ca 30 seconds at f/11. This gives me plenty of time to do any dodging I wish to do.
I would suggest using a single grade of paper or a single filter until you get the feel of what you are doing. Make test strips through clear film until you get the minimum exposure needed to give the maximum black of which your paper/paper developer is capable through clear film. After that, expose for that time and soup the print a full 90 seconds or more. Make adjustments from there. You need to establish baselines for your exposure and development.