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  1. #1
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Finally took the plunge: I printed for the first time!

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to share with you the excitement I had last night when I was finally able to make my first prints!!

    After months of readings ("The Print" and "Master Printing Course" in particular) and collecting darkroom items, I had my first print session in my bathroom!!!

    I started with 10x15cm Ilford MG RC Deluxe, together with Ilford Multigrade developer, and finally I was also able to experiment the image forming in the developer tray!

    I made my mistakes of course, like
    * exposing the paper on the wrong side ("why the hell is this coming out mirrored?!?!" )
    * Turning on the bathroom light with an unexposed piece of paper under the enlarger
    * Turning on the bathroom light with the packet of paper half opened (it seems that I have ruined only a couple of sheets, black line along the border)

    But it was fun.... In the end I had something like ten decent prints (plus a similar amount of wrong exposures).

    The only problem I had is that the exposure times were REALLY short even at f11 (something like 3 to 5 seconds). Is this normal? Consider that I do not have any filter (I still have to verify whether my old Meopta enlarger can accept them somehow), or is it just because of the small size (so the paper was very close to the light source)?

    I still miss an easel and a focus aid (even though with some tape and f11 I was able to overcome major issues).

    Hopefully I will be able to post a scan of my first print soon (and not just neg scan as I used to do till today)

    Stefano

  2. #2
    reellis67's Avatar
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    The closer the enlarger is to the paper, the shorter the times will be. What size paper were you using?

    - Randy

  3. #3
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Oops! I see now. If you make larger prints, the times will be longer (because of the inverse square law). It helps me to have longer times so that if I need to dodge and burn I can control the effect better. Keep on printing!

    - Randy

  4. #4

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    Or you may have thin negatives.

    On the mistakes. Been there done them all -)

  5. #5
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    That is great. I wish that I could make my first print again. You have a lot of enjoyment (and perhaps just a little bit of occasional frustration) to look forward to.

    Of course, nobody here has ever made those exact same mistakes. :rolleyes:
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sterioma
    Hi all,

    The only problem I had is that the exposure times were REALLY short even at f11 (something like 3 to 5 seconds). Is this normal? Consider that I do not have any filter (I still have to verify whether my old Meopta enlarger can accept them somehow), or is it just because of the small size (so the paper was very close to the light source)?

    I still miss an easel and a focus aid (even though with some tape and f11 I was able to overcome major issues).


    Stefano
    What Meopta enlarger you use? I used Opemus 5 and now use Magnifax 4, and both can accept filters. Filters goes in drawer above the lens. Check at www.meopta.cz, there are manuals for old and new(er) enlargers.

    If you have short times try to use 75w bulb instead of 100w or 150w if you use b/w head. And do you use proper condenser lenses for your negative size? If you use colour head don't change less powered halogen bulb, use recommended one. Next, if you use colour head do you use proper mixing chamber for your negative size? If you make small prints like 13x18cm or even smaller, short times are not unusual. Try to close lens at smallest aperture opening (If you use Meopta Anaret lenses I think it is f22). But at small apertures you will lose sharpness, so be ready to that (well, maybe not if you make small prints)

    Congratulation for first print. Me to at beginnig didn't have easel or focusing aid, but that didn't stop me. Hell, I didn't even had enlarger exposure clock for first month or two...

    About errors. We all have been there, done that.

  7. #7

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    Lost your virginity eh. Congratulations

    The magic of that print coming up will never leave.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  8. #8
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Welcome to the Dark Side!

    For enlarging think in areas. Double the area to be covered = double the exposure time. Adding a multigrade filter will cut the amount of light which will help with the times. I think you got some ideas in an earlier thread how to use them if the enlarger does not have a filter drawer. You really do need them because otherwise you are likely to have prints that have too much, or not enough, black in them. It will improve your success rate by leaps and bounds.

    Ah yes, leaving the box open. Try to get in to the habit of always closing the box after taking paper out & always looking over at the paper box before you turn the light on. I've only done it once (like you, I was lucky) but I have looked over with my finger on the switch to see the box open quite a few times... Always a heart-stopping moment...

    Cheers, Bob.

  9. #9

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    Isn't that first one something? I took my first printing class this semester and I'm still always amazed seeing the print show up in the safelight.

  10. #10

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    I've never exposed paper in the box (knock on wood), perhaps because I've been using a paper safe from day one. My first paper safe has a lid that opens on top, so gravity closes (but doesn't lock) it once I've removed paper. I recently bought a second two-tray paper safe off of eBay. It's got spring-loaded front doors, so again, there's little risk of accidental exposure. I also keep the paper emulsion-side-down in the paper safe, as an added precaution.

    The error that I keep revisiting is forgetting to stop down the lens after focusing. Sometimes I remember as I'm making the exposure, in which case I chuck the paper immediately. Other times I remember after I've put it in the developer.

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