Hi tkamiya,

I'm wrangling this situation at the moment through a series of prints for an exchange.

I use an enlarger with a round fluorescent bulb that provides very different illumination cold than it does once it warms up. You may be aware that stabilizers were invented to solve this problem. Well, I have so far opted to just "live with it" and I must accept minor variations in my prints.

For this series I checked the light and waited for it to warm up as I made the work print and the first few final prints. These prints are consistently "dark". This was the "stylized" representation I visualized and wanted.

The negative itself was taken in late afternoon light, in a shaded "patio," backlit awnings struck by light with a bit of open sky and some spectral highlights on shiny leaves. It is a full-scale negative and should print on Grade 2 or 3. I selected Grade 2 and printed the open shade of the patio as nearly black. There is plenty of detail in the shadows on the print but since it is nearly black you might call the print "dark". The spectral highlights remain clear white and the sky is light gray.

The next day I made an additional few prints and carelessly did not allow the bulb to warm up. The first two prints are what you would call "light". They are also what you might call "straight" or "literal" because now you can see the patio for what it is. Since you can see exactly what the picture is, now this print would be "acceptable" to more people. Since none of the shadows reach full black though, a straight, "light" print might be better on Grade 3.

But which is the better print? I am sure I want this set to go out "dark," but these lighter prints are kind of nice too.