In followup to Sandy's post, I wanted to add that the sensitometry in Dick's book is very useful, but it is almost completely missing from the chapters that a beginner will be using to make their first prints.

This means that the step-by-step procedures that are detailed can be followed without much difficulty for even a non-technical photographer.

Since Adam stated that he is a bit overcome with information, I suggest that he put on some blinders for a little while. Take one source of information (Dick's book, or another source with complete printing information) and a starter kit from B+S, and make some prints.

After a while, expanding the options and printing sophistication can be done by pulling the blinders away a bit.

For a beginner, I don't recommend the dichromate method of developer, because it is a bit too much infrastructure for someone who may decide that pt/pd is not what they want to do. Additionally, the additional precautions that are required (although fairly slight) are somewhat of a distraction for a beginner.

Once a certain amount of printing comfort and competence has been established, it is an easy transition to the dichromate method and other more sophisticated printing approaches (double coating, paper testing, pH, etc.).


---Michael