Hi, Ralph and Stradibarrius,
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
As a beginner (and a keen reader of your book "Beyong Monochrome"), I think I may have similar experience like stradibarrius. It is around 8 minutes each negative if I do it one by one.
My short answer is do the wet cycle by batch. Longer answer is below:
I do my 8x10 contact print and it takes hours to just finish the test print (for my 28 film batch each time). With limited time that can be spent on dark room, it is very hard to sustain.
The breakthrough come when after I gain more confidence using Ralph procedure ( I hope I understand it correctly, plus reference to both Picker video via Ralph recommended foto.tv and further reading of Adam's book Appendix).
I will now first fix the enlarger time with the black is really black in the paper (unexposed but developed negative print as black). If the actual negative is well exposed and developed (with 1.21 density range?), it can be just exposed and stockpiled in safe paper box before goes to the wet cycle. (If one want to adjust in the expose stage, one can try to do Dodge and Burn, ... etc. if one roughly know the effect. Or, simply just do a few varieties for really thick/thin negative.) Once I got the first set of print later, I can estimate what to do the next batch. Do not do wet cycle one negative each time.
The key to me is to the wet cycle in batch. I can do 6 to 10 paper each 4 minute wet cycles and the result is similar to what I obtained in 1 paper each time. You just use the same technique as the tray development, only this time it is so much easier - you can do it with safe light on. The half to 1 minute (21 seconds enlargement light time) is fixed per negative but the batch wet cycle can cut the time nearly half. I contact print 70 outstanding negatives like this in < 2 hour after I found this procedure is ok. I can finally see the picture I have taken!
Of course, when the good one comes, you can do it very carefully like not turn on safe light even, using fiber paper, detail dodge and burn etc.
My two cents.
Once again, Ralph it is a very good book.