I'm very new to enlarging (I tried doing a print a week ago, which came out with mediocre results ... not bad for a first effort but not stellar either), and I was wondering what all of you do?
I did some searching on the internet but I still don't have a really clear picture of the process and workflow when it comes to making a print. I was wondering if some of the kind souls here at APUG would care to share how they go about making prints?
What I did:
1) Make a test strip in intervals of 3 second exposures at f4 on a Pentax f1.8 50mm enlarger lens
2) Processed and dried the test strip
3) Picked the interval I thought looked best
4) Processed and dried that picture
I am what we can call a newbie in enlarging
Here is my process:
- put your negs and adjust the focus of the enlarger with the lens wide open (i supposed it is f:4 for you)
- then, shut down your lens up to f:8 or f:11, f:4 is too much IMO
- make a test strip every 2 or seconds, as you want
- process it and choose the right strip
- make another test strip around the one that you choose before, it will helps you to adjust the time correctly.
- process it
- choose the right strip for you and then process the whole image with this time.
In the dev bath for paper, process it at maximum. If the manufacturer says 3 minutes, then, you have to use 3 minutes. It's my way of process. I prefer to fix the baths process and only keep the enlarger process flexible. I think it's better to be able to compare different enlargement.
If you use fiber paper, you will also note that it comes different when it is completely dry..
And don't forget, enjoy your prints
Also for the grade, in my personnal opinion, it's better to start at a "normal grade" like grade 2 and adjust time after. Don't strat directly with a higher grade. Just try it later.
And don't forget that i am a newbie and perhaps i am also false, i don't know ?
I am happy to have found your thread as i have also done some printing this week. The sensation of "going to the end" of the analog process is very good.
When you say it was mediocre, what do you mean of ? Was it too grey ? not sharp ?
I got some RC paper with my darkroom kit, so I was using that - Ilford MGIV I think it was, I don't have access to it at the moment.
It turned out pretty grey and underexposed, and there were bits of dust that seemed to have cropped up as scratches, my bathroom (cum darkroom) must be VERY dusty or something, since I have the same problems while drying my film.
I guess it looked kind of flat, there wasn't too much contrast, it looked all really samey. I'll try to scan it and then upload the pic once I get a chance to.
1. focus with a piece of the same printing paper under the focuser.
2. set aperture to optimum setting (f5.6-8 for my APO lenses, f8-11 for my other ones)
3. primary test strip for density
4. secondary test stip for contrast
5. third test stip at chosen density and contrast across vital areas
(blow-dry strip if necessary to see dry-down results)
6. make work print at chosen settings
7. make final prints with adjustments, burning and dodging if necessary
8. after prints are dry, bleach and tone.
9. when all is done, spotting, sign print and store in archival sleeve and box.
10. unsuccessfully try to sell print, but usually end up giving away as a present or have it sit in the box for years to come.
Speaking to just your dust/scratches issue.
I dry my film in the shower/bathroom also.
Keep the shower curtain closed and try to restrict traffic into the room if possible.
IMMEDIATELY upon drying insert your negs right into your archival sleeve/pages.
I learned in a community darkroom where some weren't that serious and saw people walking around with unprotected film. Some dragging the film behind them. Then some would inspect the negs on the light table before they cut & sleeved them. Yes, bare emulsion on the scratched up surface of the light box. Made me squirm.
Also you could run the shower briefly before hanging to get the dust down if it's real bad.
My place is extremely dusty but I don't need to do this.
Basically, just try to keep handling the raw film to the utmost minimum.
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Welcome to APUG.
Printing is a craft/art. Practice and experimentation and clean negatives are all important. Hang in there, it gets better!
You are actually working a variety of variables at once, exposure, contrast, placement...
Exposure, enough normally to get max black, is variable depending on contrast.
Contrast is the difference between black and white. With contrast choices you are actually choosing how much of the detail in the negative that you actually print. This took me a lot of practice to see and find what I liked best.
Placement relates to the brightness of a specific area in the print. Faces are a great example here. Where placement of a specific subject (other than black) like a face is important, adjust exposure to place the skin tone properly, make a decision about contrast and change the filters then find the right exposure again for the skin tone; repeat until you like it.
You will be tossing out a bunch of paper while you are learning.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
Not a suggestion about how to print. I recommend first being very familiar with your camera equipment and exposing to get a properly exposed negative. Through visits to museums and galleries acquaint yourself with the style of prints that you aspire to make. Buy some books by master printers that are well printed. Once you know what you want to achieve standardize your technique. Since there are variables you can modify one at a time to see the effect. Then practice practice practice. Record your settings so as to see what give a particular result. Don't jump from one paper and/or chemistry to another without getting the best out of what you are using. Once you are comfortable and competent experiment with other techniques and materials.
My apologies if you are already familiar with this information.
http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...Pubs/o3/o3.pdf (See page 32 in particular.)
i often time don't use a test strip in the conventional sense
but focus on a paper the same thickness as the paper to be printed on
stop down 3-4 stops and guess the exposure.
if it is too much, i make another exposure by half ... and fine tune it to
get the print to look " about right " then i multiply that time by 1.5 and
expose 1/3 of the time with a 0 filter, then i make another exposure and expose the rest of the time,
with a #5 filter.
i dry the print ... and see if i need to burn and dodge a little bit ... and make an extra print
"just in case" something strange happens while it dries down
have fun !
Ain't that the truth!
Originally Posted by jordanstarr
After focussing, I stop down to what I think will be about a 10 sec. exposure. I set my timer for 5 sec. and do three progressive exposures on a test strip. That gives me 5, 10 & 15 sec. From that I can generally tell what I need. I will then make a final test strip to prove I have the correct exposure. If I don't like the contrast, I will then change the filter and try again.