Hi Zakesch - shouldn't be any problem with the safelight over the enlarger, In due course you can do some safelight tests to check if its OK. When starting out the trick is consistency - don't introduce too many variables. If you stick to one paper and developer, use the same size paper all the time and the same lens aperture say F8 or maybe even F11 if your times are short. Pick a good density negative with say sky buildings and foreground across the neg, and using either grade 2 or 3 (which most negs should print at) run a set of test strips across the negative by either progressively covering up or uncovering - doesn't really matter which provided you know what accumulated time each strip has had. (and think about this - it isn't totally intuitive - as you uncover the accumulated times go down with each strip, if you cover up each strip gets a longer time (i.e. the first covered strip has less time than the last - seems obvious, but lots of threads on here about test strips!) The reason to pick a neg with a good spread of tones across the image is that it makes it easy as you cover or uncover the test strips to see a complete range on each strip. One of your strips will have the highlights just right and the shadows just right, and that's your time. After a bit you will get a "feel". If you keep everything else the same, you will soon discover how to manipulate the time to best effect. This is quite helpful http://www.theonlinedarkroom.com/2013/05/glenshee.html, although I don't necessarily agree with 2 bath developers - stick to e.g. Ilford materials because all their times and temps work. Once you have a setting that you like from test strips, without touching anything try also printing your print calculator and see if you get the same result. Also, without touching anything else, re-run the test strips using a different contrast filter if you started on 2 say try 3.5, which is significantly harder and see what times you get. You will find that different negatives print at different times due to the differences in density caused by film and processing. While you are learning, keep it simple, don't worry too much about dodging and burning - those skills come later.
Last edited by mr rusty; 08-05-2013 at 09:56 AM. Click to view previous post history.