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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DimasShishkin View Post
    In this moment I learn my film+paper..... But I have some troubles with finding point near pure white and pure black with some detail and this troubles bring me reprint..... But i hope that A. Adams help me:
    Ansel Adams is always a good place to start and to go back to for grounding when we get carried away by fancy stuff.

    To get a pure black, you need to have sufficient development time for the print. The development times given by manufacturers such as Ilford for their MultiGrade paper tend to be oriented toward production darkrooms that want to print quantities of pictures quickly, often with processing machines. Thus Ilford MG has accelerators in the paper and will come up very quickly in the developer tray.

    But be sure to give sufficient time if you are making the highest quality prints. One way is make a funny kind of test strip. In the darkroom with safelight on, mark a strip of paper into about 5 to 8 segments with a pencil. Then expose the whole strip to white room light for a couple of seconds. Don't overdo it because you don't want tone reversal. Then feed the strip into the developer, segment by segment. Give the first segment 15 seconds and then feed it in further to cover the next segment. Give each segment 15 seconds and give the last segment a whole minute (60 seconds). You should see a difference between the last segment (60 sec) and the next to last (75 seconds). At some point you won't see a difference, and then you will know how long to develop to get your maximum black.

    Then adjust your exposure to get a touch of detail in the brightest important highlights. Just a little bit of detail where needed so that there are some pure white unimportant highlights.

    Adjust your contrast as needed to get pure blacks. For some negatives, my first guess at contrast is not good and I have to go back and make some more refined test strips at the new contrast.

    My first test strip is often rough, like 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 seconds. Then the second is more refined around the
    best time, say 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 seconds.

    I'm going to design and build a test strip box which will take a 4x5 sheet of paper (10 x 12 cm) and expose 12 little rectangles in a 3x4 matrix by moving the paper underneath the opening. This way I can expose four timings and three contrast grades of the same part of the negative when I'm making 8x10 (20 x 25 cm). I might make a bigger one for an 8x5 sheet (20 x 12 cm) for bigger prints (say 11x14 or 16x20, say 40 x 50 cm).

    I'm getting back into printing after many years absence and finding that there are always new things to learn.

  2. #12
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    It depends on the negatives but I can turn out about 16 different exhibtion prints in a printing session of about 5-6 hours, there would usually be a couple of copies of each image.

    Ian
    What is your process that allows you spend 11:15 minutes or less per exhibition print (32 prints or more in 6 hours), including negative swaps?
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    What is your process that allows you spend 11:15 minutes or less per exhibition print (32 prints or more in 6 hours), including negative swaps?
    Perhaps they are previously made prints with precise notes about exposure and enlarger height and cropping and dodging and burning with premade cutouts for the shapes. Perhaps each pair of prints is made with one in the paper safe and then developed together, and fixed while the next one is set up.

  4. #14
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    When on a roll, and I already know my exposure, I do probably (on average):

    3 minutes getting out paper, putting it in the easel, making sure it is flat (double-sided tape is what I use), dusting it off, exposing, burning, dodging
    3 minutes developer and drain
    1 minute stop and drain
    3 minutes first fixer
    into holding tank of water

    ...per first copy.

    If it is good, I do copies two at a time till I have five good ones in total. Minimum time spent exposing and processing, with no test/work prints and no time for swapping in the negative: 30 minutes for 5 copies, and they are still all sitting in the holding tank after the first fixer bath.

    When I have 5 or 10 complete in the holding tank, I do, as a batch:

    3 minutes second fixer, shuffling
    5 minute running water rinse, shuffling
    10 minutes hypo clear, shuffling
    5 minute running water rinse, shuffling
    20 minute timed/uncontaminated final wash, unsupervised
    1 min each to remove from wash, squeegee and lay out to dry

    Add in negative swapping/dusting time, test prints, and work prints...and do the math. It would be quite far from physically possible for me to make prints at Ian's pace. And I generally have fairly easy to print negs in the grand scheme of things, so I don't do a ton of test stripping.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  5. #15
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Jeez. Sometimes I hang them on wall and look at them for a year before I figure out what I want to do.

    Guess I'm slow.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  6. #16
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelbsc View Post
    Jeez. Sometimes I hang them on wall and look at them for a year before I figure out what I want to do.
    IMHO, that is the best way to judge a print: with time, light, and space. The hardest place to do it is in the darkroom while printing with a deadline in mind.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  7. #17
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    I use the darkroom for about two hours at a time. I like to come out with a half dozen nice 8x10s and a couple really nice ones. Or 15 pages of contact prints (from my negative printfile pages) in 90 minutes, then a really nice 8x10 or 11x14. or 4 different 11x14's done really nicely. I'm not fast and I'm not slow and I don't hurry. Sometimes if a negative is challenging (such as too dense), it will be more difficult and I'll be slowed.

    I've got plenty of experience printing. Efficiency is gained for me by using a color enlarger to adjust contrast, using speed-easels, mostly rc paper, bright safelights. Negatives of consistent exposure and contrast make things easier too. I try not to make negatives that require dodging/burning. If an image requires it, I just dodge with my hand/fingers by keeping them moving over the area needing the dodging (probably <10% of the time). If it requires a paper cutout to burn with, I save that with the negative after use. That's probably < 1% of the time. Sticking with one film will help you hone your skills on the negatives. It will also help you predict the contrast setting required just by looking at the negative, if you're not using a staining developer. Fresh developer is also a big help in getting the contrast right. With dektol, it's not always visible that the developer is getting weak. You either have to replace it on schedule (so many hours of use or prints) and use a one-shot developer.

  8. #18
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    I have often wondered if I am in the norm with my printing time. I always work at night - after the kids are down for bed and usually start around 7-8 pm. I usually come in around 11 or so and am always amazed at how FEW prints I actually made. I do make contact prints of all my negs, though, and have a pile of test strips to show - in addition to the 5 or so 8x10 prints I've made. I do make several copies of each, but have never done more than 5 negs in one night. I have a print washer and only use FB paper (RC for the contact sheets).

  9. #19
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    What is your process that allows you spend 11:15 minutes or less per exhibition print (32 prints or more in 6 hours), including negative swaps?
    Part of the secret is the negatives are usually very consistent so exposures & filter grades are very close that saves considerable time. I also only usually print to one size (differes depending on negative format) and rarely crop an image, when I do print larger again it's to a standard size. Should add my development times are short rarely longer than a minute with FB papers.

    Another is that I can read a negative better than a contact print so get very close with the dodging and burning I require on the first work print.

    It does help that I've printed commercially where speed is important so can tuen prints around efficiently.

    Probably the most important factor is all my images are shot to be part of series, suprisingly that makes printing easier once you've mastered all the control skills, that starts at the exposure/negative development stage. An example would be a sries of diptychs I shot way back (late 1980's) where I had images shot at different times of year paired up, an extreme was a summer shot, bright sunlight, alongside a winter shot made over Xmas on a foggy day with snow on the ground.

    So in an hour I'd expect to be able to make about 3 separate sets of prints with one sometimes two spares- these additional prints add very little extar time.

    Ian

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelbsc View Post
    Jeez. Sometimes I hang them on wall and look at them for a year before I figure out what I want to do.
    IMHO, that is the best way to judge a print: with time, light, and space. The hardest place to do it is in the darkroom while printing with a deadline in mind.
    It is a supreme advantage that I don't show my work, nor do I sell my work. I do give things to family and friends as I see fit, but I have no pressure what ever to produce. It's a hobby pure and simple for me, and a totally sunk cost that I accept as an entertainment cost just like going out to the movies on the weekend.

    That also allows me to be lazy sometimes, which is the other edge of the sword.

    When I make a few prints to "test hang" I put them in various places in simple $2 black wood frames with no matting or boarder to add or subtract anything, or sometimes I just thumbtack them to the wall naked. Then I look at them in the light over the time. Sometimes it's clear that the print is too dark in one spot but OK in another. Or too light, or whatever. Or needs this, that or the other. Or maybe wasn't even a good choice to begin with.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

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