Contact printing Weston Style (aka w/ a lightbulb)
I'm new to the LF scene, and have been enjoying it very much so far. 4x5 is what my budget can afford at this time, but I'm hoping to upgrade to an 8x10 when I can afford it. I've been contact printing 4x5 negs(both color and b/w) under the enlargers at school up until now, and enlarging sometimes, but I really like what I'm getting from the contact prints. Kind of hard to describe, but to me there seems to be a different quality about them.
I'm still at home while attending school(i'm 21), and my parents are really leery about chemistry in the bathtub. They say I should do all my photo stuff at school, but sometimes TV gets really boring at home after a while...
How many of you contact print with a simple light bulb, similar to how Weston and Ansel did for such a long time?
Also, I've been reading up on Weston's process, and Ansel said that his negatives were not really up to printing, they were much better for contact printing. I've been getting good(albeit not great yet) results with my basic times for TMY-2 and EFKE 25 in HC-110 or D76 1:1.
If any of you have had any experience doing this, and can recommend a special-wattage or type of bulb I'd need (I'm assuming a soft white, 40 or 60w)? Also, I'm guessing that adjusting contrast is somewhat out of the question, do to the fact that you're using a lightbulb, not an enlarger...
p.s. I'm planning on only doing b/w at home, not color
You want a low-wattage bulb so exposure times are long - especially true if you are using enlarging paper.
A 7 1/2 watt round bulb was the usual size.
As far as chemicals in the bathtub - the chemicals used to clean the bathtub are the dangerous ones. Tell mom and dad that developer is pretty much coffee with washing soda, stop bath is vinegar, and fixer is the stuff used to dechlorinate water in swimming pools in case someone overdoes it with the chlorine bottle. B&W photo chemicals are some of the safest chemicals in the house.
I'll second Phil and recommend you review the www.michaelandpaula.com site. It is a wealth of information for contact printing.
Have fun and welcome to the club!
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If you're contacting on enlarging paper, a higher wattage bulb will give you exposure times too short to control easily.
If you're contacting on Lodima silver chloride paper (or the discontinued Azo, if you can find some), which is much slower than enlarging papers, you'll need a higher wattage bulb, preferably one with more UV output.
The setup you're proposing is pretty much what I used for contact printing two apartments ago. See the first photo in this post--
The lamp I use is a simple Ikea halogen desk lamp with the UV filter removed for contact printing on Azo or Lodima.
First off, good for you.
If you are only doing 4x5 contact prints, you should be able to do this 'under the radar', as it were. You can take 8x10 paper and cut it into 4's or print right onto readily available 5x7. You don't need trays (and the horizontal space they require, and the potential for spills). You can use juice or milk jugs: I like the plastic jugs that hold 1qt. bags of milk.
The wattage recommended was presumably for a desk lamp one foot or so off the tabletop. Any bare bulb overhead lamp will do and you can certainly find the optimum time for exposure pretty quickly. You probably want to get an exposure time in the 10 or 20 second range. You can also get ilford contrast filters 6"x6" that you can lay over your weighting glass, but it might serve you better to strive for nice negatives from a bare tungsten bulb.
The only other thing you need is a handheld red LED flashlight (or similar), and some way to measure the increment of time.
Just to encourage you, I've done 'emergency' contact printing by popping a Vivitar flash unit in a bathroom while a cohort stood guard outside.
Fomalux 312 falls into the same category, right? (Except for being RC rather than FB---but it's a chloride paper that Foma describe as "contact speed", which I assume means "in the same league as Azo and Lodima".) That's what I've been using to avoid the unreasonably short times with enlarging paper---with a 7.5W bulb, usually a bit over a metre from the negative, a typical exposure time is a minute or a little less.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
I have no real idea how *good* the Foma paper is---I don't think I have a developed enough eye yet for paper nuances---but it's cheap, convenient, and slow.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
Check ebay for rolls of Ilford paper that measure 4 inches by 500 feet.
I'm waiting for Lodima, but Fuji also produces Gaslight contact printing paper, see previous APUG discussion. All my 8X10s are contact printed, and I especially like the ease of use of a manufactured paper such as AZO.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"