good b&w print tutorial?
Hey everyone! I've lucked into a Beseler 23CII condenser enlarger and want to have some fun making prints. I know I have to do a test strip to get the proper exposure time and all that but want something to go over before I just start wasting paper using the brute force method of learning Any suggestions?
any classes available in your area?
Here is how I learned to make an 8x10 print. Set the aperture on your lens to say f8 or f11. Make a test exposure by revealing short bits of paper. I kind of put the closed packet of paper over the piece to expose and move it over every exposure about ¾ inch. I use 2 second exposures, so that I would have 2-4-6-8-10-12 etc. strips. Develop for the recommended time. Fix etc. Then see what strip looks the best and print.
That is pretty basic, but when starting out, why complicates things?
I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
Oh yes if you can take a class or workshop in your area it is great. You can get alot of input and ideas from others.
I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
A community college basic photo class is the best and cheapest way to go. Other wise Gatsby's way will let you get the feel of printing. Most importatly have fun, and learn from your mistakes.
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go to ilford's website, they have some pdf files that will be helpful.
if you can't take a class , which as others have suggested is really a good way to go , try to find a copy of Larry Bartletts book on black and white printing.
there are several other good books out there, including several by tim rudman, the ilford stuff can get you started right away.
Here is a link to a Kodak Lesson Plan for instructors planning to teach a beginners course in Black & White Darkroom. It has no pictures, and refers to Kodak materials (some of which are no longer available) but it provides a good step by step approach.
Burning up a couple of boxes of cheap RC is cheapest/quickest way to go.
art is about managing compromise
Here's a link for you to Henry Horenstein's excellent book. http://www.bw-photography.net/
It, coupled with Bernard Seuss' books were by far the easiest for me to follow when I first started. The nice thing about the Horenstein book is that it is a free download... in its entirety!
Here is the sheet I give my students to help them make better trest strips than the traditional 2 or 5 second intervals.
MAKING MORE USEFUL TEST STRIPS
Most people I know make test strips by using repeated intervals of 3 or 5 seconds. This works fine for up to about 15 seconds. The trouble is this is just getting into the range of desirable printing times which should be from 15 - 30 seconds for most images. If one is using a slower paper or other process which requires exposures beyond 30 or 40 seconds this business of repeated intervals either doesn’t work well, or is downright unwieldy. Additionally too many people use small strips of paper and make even tinier steps which are difficult to see. These are a waste of time as they provide little if any useable information If tests are made as described in the following paragraphs one can learn not only printing time, but also indications of the amount of burning and dodging necessary Therefore in the long run, full image tests are cheaper in terms of paper as well as time.
When we observe a test strip done in 3 second increments, we can easily see the difference between three seconds and six seconds where the time is doubled. Even the difference between six seconds and nine seconds is readily distinguishable even though the time is only increased by 50%. By the time we get to the difference between 30 and 33 seconds we are only adding 10% more light and it is often very difficult to see the differences. What if we had a method whereby the difference between steps is always equal? Wouldn’t that make it easier to judge differences?
An alternative to this is to use the time sequence 5, 10, 20, 40, 80... As you can see with this sequence, each time is exactly double its predecessor. Gene Nocon calls it “Printing with ƒ stops” and it really is, although the sequence may not look like it to you. Each step exactly doubles the amount of light of its’ predecessor. This makes it easier for many to interpolate between steps.
In Gene’s book, “Photographic Printing”, he breaks this sequence down to half and quarter stops of time. As an example the time from 10 to 20 seconds breaks down to 10, 11.9, 14.1, 16.8, 20. (I know, you thought it would be 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20. We must remember that when dealing with ƒ stops we are working with exponential progressions of the power of 2, not arithmetic ones.) Would the sequence 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20 work? Yes, it just wouldn’t be as accurate. If I say to myself I need to add 1/4 stop of light to an area and I use 12.5 seconds instead of 11.9, I have added 19.83% (almost 20%) more light than I told myself was needed. If you ever wonder what I am thinking about when I tell you how much to increase or decrease print exposure, this is the way I am calculating the time.
This works extremely well not only for those times when exposure gets up into the range of 40 - 60 seconds, or longer, but all printing times. There are fewer steps on the test strip, and each is easily distinguished from it’s neighbors. In addition, it is easier to interpolate between steps and thus arrive at a good first trial exposure time quickly. If your printing time does not fall between 10 and 40 seconds, alter the lens aperture to make it do so.
Notice that this test strip is of the total image. In addition to providing a good starting exposure time, it can indicate, if the card is moved along the proper axis, appropriate times for burning and dodging.
Try this method. After you have utilized it for a short time I think you will internalize it to the point of wondering why you didn’t think of it. The same sequence is useful in minutes instead of seconds when making long exposures at night. I use it when experimenting with new developers and times. I believe it will enable you to get a better print with less waste of time and materials. It matters not which sequence of times you use, each is equally effective, but by all means get away from multiple punches of the timer set a t 3 or 5 seconds.
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