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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    This is me EXACTLY. I couldn't agree more. I guess I see all the paper I go through and I just start to see the $$$ rack up. It would be nice to get a final print every time out of just a few sheets of paper, but that rarely happens. I try to think that even if it takes you 12 sheets of paper to get the print you are truly happy with, at $2 a sheet, that's only $24 to get a final print, not bad. I also find it hard to re-print prints to match ones you've previously printed that were perfect. That's why sometimes when I think I have a final print, I'll print 2 or 3 more while the neg is in the carrier and everything is set up. This is a gamble though, cause if the prints are no good you wasted a few extra sheets. It seems that it's the times I don't make the extra prints that I get the final print, then only have one. Go figure.
    I know in my case there is only so much I can do about the stress because being nervous and obsessive about my work is the nature of my personality. In a way I guess it's a good thing because it means you never settle for "ok".

    I'm not sure what kind of work you're doing, and whether you are a career photographer who needs to produce a lot of high quality prints or more of a perfectionist hobbiyst like me. But one thing I've started doing is allowing myself to take several sessions to produce fine prints of new negatives. My pictures are very difficult to print right, and I find I'm a little less stressed if I know I'm going to stop when I get around 80-90% there, and then live with the print for a while, seeing it the next day or whatever with fresh eyes etc. I can get a better idea of what I need to do next, get the process clearer in my head, and also sometimes end up realizing there is a better or easier sequence for burning dodging etc etc. However the down side is not producing alot of output, which can also be frustrating particularly if you're trying to get a complete portfolio together. It seems to be neverending for me. Regarding making multiple copies, I always do this now, although I agree sometimes you just end up throwing out more copies...

  2. #12
    Barry S's Avatar
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    I find it takes a lot of work to make a good print. Not sure I'd call that stressful, but it's frustrating when issues pop up that cause you to waste time and materials. I've been making palladium prints all week and because I'm just starting out--I have a lot of "test prints" piling up. Stressful is when I see the price of palladium chloride rising every week, but I enjoy my time in the darkroom. Nevertheless, at the end of a typical darkroom session (3-4 hours), I feel pretty beat-up.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry lebens View Post
    Brian, it sounds like you and Michael are still relatively inexperienced in the darkroom and finding it hard to relax. There's not really any way of learning to print other than putting in the hours - it's a craft skill as well as an intellectual exercise, there aren't really any shortcuts.

    Having said that, why not write a checklist of actions and pin it up behind the enlarger, it may help keep your printing process in order. Writing it will also help you consolidate those skills in your head.

    The next thing to consider is that complicated printing often reflects poor negatives. Beginners are often so blown over by what they can achieve in the darkroom, they put too much effort into printing inferior negatives when the effort really needs to go into the shooting and processing stage. Have a good hard look at your negs and consider what you could do to improve on them, it may make life in the darkroom less stressful.
    I cannot speak for Brian but this is not my case. I have worked for many years on getting the right negatives. But no matter how good they are, most of the subjects I usually shoot are simply difficult to print the way I envision them, especially when printing small format negatives. They would be impossible to print if the negatives weren't of the highest quality. I should also point out the stress in my case doesn't come from forgetting to do things. It's that the manipulations are subtle and require precision to get right. The human body (mine at least) is not designed for perfect repetition of precise movements, so it is entirely normal (in my mind) for things to simply go wrong during a print, even if you know exactly what you need to do and have practiced it to death.

  4. #14
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    If it doesn't make you sweat - mentally, emotionally or physically - it isn't worth doing.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  5. #15
    sly
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    If it doesn't make you sweat - mentally, emotionally or physically - it isn't worth doing.
    I like that Nicholas - can I quote you to the local photographers from whom I so often hear - "Yeah, I used to print in the darkroom, but digital is so much easier".

  6. #16
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    It's odd, but I find it both stressful and relaxing. My wife notes that everytime I'm in the darkroom printing she hears at least 3 or 4 loud expletive outbursts. And even though I typically emerge frustrated, I always feel more relaxed than when I went in. It may be the "bad day fishing beats a good day working" conundrum.

    I'm still in the "working it out" stage, but I'm clearly improving and feeling good for the bad. Keep that in mind with your own work and you'll surely persevere.

    Leo
    "There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri

  7. #17
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Occasionally a difficult image or negative may be frustrating, but overall I'm with the folks who find it relaxing and meditative. If printing made me a nervous wreck I'd quit in a nanosecond and just pursue my other hobbies.

  8. #18
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    I find the darkroom relaxing. No music there for me while printing, a mermaid who would lure me from my task—just the quiet seconds ticking from my wall clock, which I use as a metronome to time my exposures.

    When it comes to rinsing, hypo-clearing, and washing I put on some music.

  9. #19

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    Nah, no pressure or anxiety here. I'm just an amateur learning for myself, so the risk is nothing and the rewards are great.

  10. #20

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    Printing was stressful a long time ago. Now I use my darkroom as a refuge from stress. When life gets too hectic I retreat to the darkroom, play good music and print for a while. Never fails to make things better.
    This probably would not be true if I had to make my living at it.
    "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest"........Paul Simon

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