Quote Originally Posted by momus View Post
That's the beauty of a darkroom print. The image actually is inside the paper, vs sitting on top of it like with an inkjet print. Plus, the image isn't made w/ ink. Of course, Ansel was a genius, and a master at all aspects of photography, especially printing. There's a lot of his books at your library I'm sure. You can learn a lot from them. His working methods were extremely top notch, and it shows in the prints. Keep in mind that silver gelatin is a $100 phrase for any B&W print made on real photographic paper.

Years ago I was using a hybrid technique. I would shoot B&W film, send it out to be developed, scan it, then print it on an inkjet printer. Doggone it, I thought it looked pretty good, at least as good as what I was seeing locally. Then one day I visited a neighbor who shot 4x5 and darkroom printed the negs. My first thought was, I've wasted 3 years of my life. THIS is what it's supposed to look like. I never got on w/ LF, but I did finally start developing my own negs and printing in a bathroom (still do). It's a magical process, vs the scanning and inkjet printing, which was total frustration and stress. I learned so much from doing it myself. I still learn something new about photography every day. If there's a college that teaches a course, take it. Better yet, if there's someone locally that is good and will teach you the basics, even better. You can do it on your own. A lot of people did, including me. But it takes a lot longer.
A little bit of an aside but if you "never got on with LF" do you shoot and print from medium format? A good 6x7 or 6x9 negative can yield prints from modern films that are very, very close to what you'd get from 4x5. I'd say with a fine grained film like TMX, Acros, Delta 100 or even TMY-2 that I'd be hard pressed to tell a 16x20 from my 4x5 negatives from one made from a good 6x7 negative. I'm not saying others can't or that there is NO difference - go larger, or crop more severely in printing and it starts to show up. But medium format today is very, very good and the jump from 35mm to MF, especially 6x7 or 6x9, is huge, a much bigger step up than from 6x7 to 4x5.

Nothing else really competes with a contact print, so those who shoot 8x10 or larger and contact print will always get results unmatched by even slight enlargement. 4x5 contacts can look gorgeous, but they're just too small for my purposes most of the time.

I agree about the rest. I work with computers all the time for my work. The last thing I want is to have them "invading" my personal art as well, though I recognize not everyone will feel that way. Darkroom printing feels like a magical act of craft to me, even when it's going badly.