Another update.

I turned the light source 180d and bounced it off the ceiling, and that improved things a bunch - but my development times were still very short compared to the makers reccomendations. About 15s instead of 60s, with an exposure of around 20s.

So I tried another tack to limit light. Went into my son's room, and found an orange frisbee from Hooters. Put that over the 15W light (still shining upward off the ceiling), and ran some prints.

Success! Exposure times on a negative with nice density and tones is now around 20s, with dev. times around 60s. The blacks are *black* now, whites remain white. Contrast is far better than I had been getting, the prints really pop and the tones are nice and crisp rather than muddy and low contrast.

I think I was overexposing, and then compensating for that with short development times, and not allowing the blacks to ripen properly; if that makes sense.