I don't know how to multi-quote so I'll pick on the 1st clue I saw... this statement.
Originally Posted by analoguey
You need to develop the paper to completion. This means you do not rip the print out of the developer when it 'looks right'. You need to control the print density by the exposure. So, if once developed to completion, the print is too dark, you need to reduce exposure.
To reduce exposure when contact printing you can:
- reduce time of exposure
- reduce brightness of bulb
- move light further away from paper
- introduce a filter to decrease amount of light
- do a combination/all of the above
- mix Dektol 1:3
- reduce expose (using whatever method you can)
- develop for the full recommended minute
- rinse & repeat until (you probably want an exposure time about 10 seconds as different negs will need adjustments)
I use to do contact prints using the room light (when I couldn't be bothered getting enlarger out of the cupboard) and use to replace the bulb with a 40W (maybe was even less... I can't remember exactly) instead of the usual 100W, place my contact print sandwich (paper, neg, glass) on the floor and flick the room light switch on, count to '2 cat & dog' (about 2 seconds) then flick it off. It worked pretty good. I couldn't flick the light on and off with the 100W globe consistantly enough.
too add to that, I see you have an electonic flash... if that has manual settings (eg 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc), try dialing down the power that way