Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
Contact printing is like a luxury compared to enlarging. For my own film and developing testing I use a contact printing frame, but a sheet of glass and a flat surface will do nicely. You lay a piece of photo paper with emulsion side up, put your negatives on top with their emulsion side down, and then you 'close the lid'. If you use a sheet of glass I recommend taping the edges with tape so you don't cut yourself. Put pressure on the glass to hold paper and negatives in close contact, and avoid blocking the light. You can use weights if you need to use your hands.
Make a test strip to determine exposure time, and start making contact sheets. The exposure time that gives you maximum black of the paper in the film rebate is usually the best exposure. Then you either adjust contrast grade of the printing paper, or you adjust developing time of your negative to get the contrast you need out of the print. I always make my contact prints at Grade 2.5, and adjust film exposure and developing time to have negatives that print reasonably well as a straight print at that contrast.
Then when I start making individual prints of single negatives I of course tweak the print into what I want the finished print to look like, but I find the approach above gives me the best starting point to get to a finished print, with minimal time spent and minimal waste.

And keep practicing. Your picture above is really nice, so I think you are well on your way. You just have to remember that your paper and paper developer has a certain range, and your negative exposure and development time are variables that you alter to fit the paper and paper developer. If you learn how this system works, it will be much easier to make negatives that print like a dream without much darkroom gymnastics.
I'm using VG Fiber Paper, Is it more difficult to use then graded paper? I have not been in the dark room in 20 years and my brain has muddled all my past darkroom experience into one be ball of chaos.