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  1. #1

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    1st time printmaker

    I made some contact prints and a few enlargements for the first time. I got some good results and I have a lot to learn.

    Couple questions:

    I'm using a Gralab timer. Why is it necessary to plug the safelight into the timer and have it go off during the paper exposure? It seems like the safelight could just stay on all the time.

    Also, I'm using an easel with two adjustable arms and I don't know what I'm doing. Anyone care to share "how to use a 2 blade easel"?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Glad you are enjoying yourself.

    On the safelight question, it is important to understand that "safelight" is a relative term. Anything that shortens the amount of safelight exposure will help assure that the safelight adds no fog. Anything that extends the safelight exposure increases the risk that the light won't really be safe.

    Remember that for some prints, you can end up with print times of several minutes, when all dodging and burning is included.

    And for the easel, what sort of problems are you having? If they are related to achieving equal margins, I would suggest starting either with a scrap print or a sheet of paper cut to the right size, and experiment in the light with the adjustments - remember that you can use a pencil to indicate the edges of the printed area.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3

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    The safelight can stay on all the time. But you should test it to see if it fogs your paper. take a piece of the paper you use, a small piece will do, lay a coin on it and set it on your easel with only the safelight on. give it a minute or two and process it . If there's a darkening of the area around the coin the light isn't completely safe and needs to be changed to a different color or moved further away
    Two armed easels are meant to have the paper pushed to the upper left hand corner and the arms adjusted to the print size you want. You will need to trim the paper if you're printing smaller sizes. A four blade easel will allow you to make more even borders though.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  4. #4
    Rick A's Avatar
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    On the two bladed easel, measure the border under the fixed arms, then set the adjustable arms to give the same border for the print size. On my two blade easel, I have lines drawn on the board and marked for the print sizes I use, then all I have to do is move the arm to the correct line that matches my print.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  5. #5

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    I'm having a hard time getting straight borders when using the easel. The 2 enlargements I liked best were made without the easel by laying the paper directly on the baseboard. Is it really necessary to use an easel?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by onadraw View Post
    I'm having a hard time getting straight borders when using the easel. The 2 enlargements I liked best were made without the easel by laying the paper directly on the baseboard. Is it really necessary to use an easel?
    I never used an easel when I used to print but then you can have a problem with paper that doesn't sit flat on the base board which renders the picture out of focus in the centre of the print. Mainly an issue with smaller sizes.

  7. #7
    eddie's Avatar
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    Another reason the safe light goes out during exposure is it makes it easier to see the paper while dodging/burning.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onadraw View Post
    I'm having a hard time getting straight borders when using the easel. The 2 enlargements I liked best were made without the easel by laying the paper directly on the baseboard. Is it really necessary to use an easel?
    Some easels have been bent or are out of alignment, so check to see if that is your problem.

    And blades can loosen over time (especially with 2 blade models), so check that.

    There is a bit of technique involved in positioning paper into an open easel, and then closing it without moving the paper, so it may be that you need to practise that in the light.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9

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    Also make sure the paper stop is adjusted for the border width you want and that it is square to the frame, then you adjust the moveable arms to be square to the frame.
    Bob

  10. #10
    zsas's Avatar
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    Congrats for your accomplishment! Great advice above, nothing to add but a congrats!

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