So I printed..

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by hammy, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    I made my first prints, ever. I set up all my darkroom equipment temporarily in my bathroom, made it as light tight as possible and went at it. I was doing everything from memory of what I have studied, and I'm both happy and a little discouraged. Even though I only really made three prints, it was A LOT of fun to do. Watching the image appear before your eye, I enjoyed that greatly.

    1. Anyways, I have a few questions, of course. I poured my developer after use back into it's bottle. How many prints should it be good for? I only developed three.

    2. I used my fingers instead of tongs. Is this the wrong way? I had a pair of tongs, tried it, and it was much harder to grab the prints. Is it ok to touch the print with your fingers at all?

    3. All my chemicals were at around 66 degrees F /19 degrees C. This was by just letting them sit at room temperature. Is this too low?

    4. I'm thinking of investing in a grain magnifier. How much easier does it make focusing?

    5. Enlarger filters for contrast, definitely needed? I have a negative photograph of black text over a white background, yet when I printed it, the background was more of a grey. Will contrast filters help me here?

    Thanks in advance... I'm learning :hail:
     
  2. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    1. Use it till it reeks (more then it already does). It will oxidize quickly, but I have used the same stuff for awhile.

    2. Use your tongs or rubber gloves. Not good for the health.

    3. I perfer to use my chemicals warmer (around 74deg). The directions say 68deg.

    4. Although I don't use one in my darkroom, I used them at the school. It does help. Get one if you can.

    5. If you are using multi-contrast paper. It is recommended to start the printing with a #2 filter in. So you really do need them.

    Hope this helps and don't hesitate to ask.
     
  3. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Kevin.

    On number 3, how do you keep your chemicals at 74 degrees?
     
  4. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    If it's new chemicals, I mix with warmer water. For already mixed, I put the container that I store it in into a hot water bath for awhile before using.
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I always have my chemicals at room temperature - whatever that "room temperature" may be at the time. I would imagine it runs between 68-72. I never have a problem, and it's one less thing to worry about during a prrinting session. :)

    Hammy - I agree with Kevin - use tongs. You can buy those very cheap bamboo sets and really, you should label them. "Dev" "stop" "fix" - and use the same ones for the same tray of chemistries. Cross-contamination can be a very real problem - don't risk it.

    Another reason for using tongs is, should you eventually decide you want to try toning your prints (very easy and it's a daylight procedure), you do not want to run the risk of seeing a finger mark on your print. They can come back to bite you in strange ways. ;)

    Bottom line: cleanliness is very important in the darkroom for a lot of reasons. And it's simply best not to handle your prints during development, period.

    I swear by the use of a grain enlarger. :thumbup: They don't have to be super expensive, just avoid the really cheap ones - they don't help much.

    Kevin is right about the paper type. Graded papers won't respond to filtration, which makes the learning curve a little tricky. :) There are so many variable contrast choices out there, it makes sense to learn from them.

    Sounds like you're doing great! :D
     
  6. photoboy15

    photoboy15 TPF Noob!

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    I do alot of large print so I put on powder free gloves. I wash the glove in between chemicals. With the popularity of digital I find more darkroom stuff at stores and sales.
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If a negative of pure black and white images prints with the white showing up as gray, you've overexposed the print.

    A good check is:

    Set the enlarger head at the height you normally use.

    Place a frame of unexposed but processed film in the enlarger.

    Set the lens for f8.

    Cover a test strip of paper with an opaque piece of cardboard.

    Turn on the enlarger and move the cardboard every 3 seconds so that you have sections of the strip exposed for 3, 6, 9, 12, etc. sec. up to 30 seconds.

    Fully develop [at least 2 minutes] and fix the strip.

    You now have a strip which will tell you how long to expose to get full black in the lightest parts of a properly exposed negative. You also have an example of what full black looks like with your particular paper.

    Without changing anything, expose a second strip so that half of it remains unexposed and the other half is
    exposed for enough seconds to give full black. Develop fully and fix.

    You now have a check strip which shows what your paper looks like at pure white and full black.
     

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