What am I doing wrong???

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MrEd31, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. MrEd31

    MrEd31 TPF Noob!

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    I have used your HP5+ film in a class I took at my high school. I had great results, but was interested in trying the FP4+. Recently I found a local darkroom and started working on my own. I developed a roll of FP4+, but I have had no luck printing with it. The negatives look decent to me... however they appear to be "double-sided". One side is lighter than the other, but I'm thinking this is the way the film is made.
    Anyways, when I attempt to make a contact sheet, I just get the outline of the negatives on the paper. And when I attempt to make a print, the light becomes incredibly dull, even though is bright before the negative and carrier are in. Any suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong? The darkroom is in an art center and nobody there knows anything about it. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks so mcuh for your time.

    -Jason Edelstein
     
  2. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    What do you mean by double-sided? :?: Film generally (always?) has a shiny side and a dull side. The dull side is the side with the emulsion. You should always use it emulsion side down.

    What do you mean by the outlines? Like you are just getting a totally black paper but with like the writing on the side of the film showing up? Have you tried shortening your exposure time? Did you do a test strip? What f/stop are you using?

    I also don't understand what you mean by the light becoming dull when you put the negative carrier in. When you put a negative in, the image is now being shone through the enlarger, the negative blocking the path of the light, so of course the light is going to change. Do you see the image of the negative on the enlarger board or the easel?

    Sorry if these questions are dumb, I just want to help and don't know how else to other than to see what you are thinking and trying to do...

    (edit to correct a bad mistake!)
     
  3. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    what time/temp/developer did you use to develop them?


    your negatives appear to be way too dense.
     
  4. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    motcon says dense and the lightbulb :idea: goes on... Ah the outlines! So instead of all black, like I was thinking, you're getting little white boxes where there should be pictures? My thinking is so backwards tonight... so ignore what I said about shortening exposure...
     
  5. MrEd31

    MrEd31 TPF Noob!

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    I used D-76, at 75ยบ for 5min 15seconds I believe...

    In this dark room, it was difficult to get cool temps. I used ice, and cooled everything, but maybe I need to get it cooler/ cut the time even more?

    When I put the carrier in, the image on the easel is sooooo faint, you can barely see it...

    Any suggestions?
     
  6. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    let's go through some of orie's questions:

    what aperture are you using on the enlarger? what size print are you trying to make?

    there are ways to reduce the density of a neg, but they are risky. before i go into them, let's tackle the basic stuff first.
     
  7. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    Also, how long of an exposure did you try already?
     
  8. MrEd31

    MrEd31 TPF Noob!

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    I openned the aperture all the way to try and focus the grain. Even with it open all the way, I couldn't see much of anything, reguardless of the size of the print, whether I tried at 5x7 or 8x10. With the aperture open quite a bit (not sure what f/stop), the negatives on the contact sheet where completely paper white at 25 seconds.

    thanx so much for the help...
     
  9. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    ok, well...without seeing them, they appear to be both overexposed and quite possibly overdeveloped as well, although i can't see anything wrong with your time/temp, unless your dev dilution was way outta whack.

    i typically shoot fp4 at an ei of 80 and develop normally. my negs are very printable. to have everything block up as to be unprinatable, you'd have to overexpose quite a bit; 3 stops or so.

    soooo; dense negs. unless the negs are very valuable and can not be redone, i'd advise against trying to reduce them as the process isn't for the faint of heart. if you want to attempt to reduce, here ya go:

    if you are not getting ANY exposure on your paper through the negative, then a proportional reducer is a good start. a pottassium ferracyanide based reducer should be used. farmer's reducer (bleach) is an off the shelf reducer. i recommend diluting the stock mixture, put a bit in a small bowl, and try it with a single frame from your roll. when i have done this, i would hold the very corner of the negative, but make sure the frame is fully in the mixture. gently move the negative back and forth in the bleach. every couple of seconds, take it out for a quick look. it is important that you do not bleach to the exact point that 'looks good' as the bleach will continue to work when you remove it. immediately put into a running bath. i recommend a short refix after you are done. it is also a wise idea to keep a bowl of water next to your bleach. when i think i'm getting close to the right density, i will agitate it in the water to slow down the bleach so i can get a better look at the neg. if it isn't done, back into the bleach it goes.

    this is a very tricky and delicate process. it is typically done as a last ditch effort to save a neg and more often than not, doesn't work to complete satisfaction.
     
  10. MrEd31

    MrEd31 TPF Noob!

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    This has been a great help. My guess is that I didn't dilute the developer properly. Beginner's mistake.

    I'm not farmiliar with the term "ei". Also, If you don't mind explaining in real general terms how you shoot with this film, that would be great. I'm think I am confused as to when I have overexposed negatives as compared to overdeveloped negatives.

    I'm going to try the bleach tecnique as these were pictures I took in Wash D.C., about a 12 hour drive from my home in Boston. Thanx for that tip as well.
     
  11. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    ei means exposure index. if you shoot the film at anything other than the speed printed on the box, it is called an 'ei'.

    i can't easily tell you how i personally shoot with this film as it took me a very long time to calibrate. i can give highlights:

    1) i shoot fp4 at an ei of 80
    2) as a rule, i place my shadow values on zone 3.
    3) i develop in pmk pyro. this holds highlight detail extraordinarily well.


    an overexposed negative will pretty much be dense in both shadows and highlights.

    an normally exposed negative overdeveloped will be very contrasty with your highlights clogged up (dense highlights with ok shadows).

    overexposed AND overdeveloped, well, you get the picture (pretty much shot).
     
  12. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    forgot to ask this: what are your agitation methods when the film is in the developer?
     

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