Darkroom Woes Can't even make a test strip

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by BubbaBear, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. BubbaBear

    BubbaBear TPF Noob!

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    Well, I am finally in my new darkroom after an unexpected detour. It turned out mucha s I expected with a few things to fine tune. The first session of film processing went thru without a glitch. But I am running into problems with enlarging. Keep in mind it has been forty years since I have been in a darkroom. Something is drastically wrong and I need help figuring out what it is. I can't even make a test strip. Everything comes out either completely over exposed or just a muddy slop with no detail or contrast. I am using Ilford Multigrade IV and Kodak Polycontrast paper with Dektol developer. The negative looks clear and sharp. What am I doing wrong? Here are what my test strips look like.

    [​IMG]


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Is your developer fresh? Not just recently mixed, but not having set around for a millennia before mixing.
     
  3. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Correct Filter in enlarger?
     
  4. BubbaBear

    BubbaBear TPF Noob!

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    Stock solution made from unexpired package. Fresh tray made up everytime I try to make test strips. And I have made several attempts. All with the same results. I try all aperture settings on the enlarger and exposure times. I get these results with very short exposure times.
     
  5. BubbaBear

    BubbaBear TPF Noob!

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    No filter in enlarger.
     
  6. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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  7. BubbaBear

    BubbaBear TPF Noob!

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    I left a test strip exposed to the safelight for several minutes longer than it is exposed when I am making a test strip and then developed it. There was no fogging. It remained pure white.
     
  8. KenC

    KenC Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah, safelight is a good bet. I'd also check for light leaks in the room. You didn't mention the paper - is that old?
     
  9. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Another problem can light leaks from the enlarger.

    Also, have you actually light-proofed the darkroom? You really can't tell if there's light leaks from outside right after you turn off the lights. It can take 5-10 minutes for your vision to completely dark-adapt, so minor light leaks might not be visible immediately.
     
  10. BubbaBear

    BubbaBear TPF Noob!

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    Paper is current. Had same problem when I tried to make contact prints from some larger negatives. Don't think it is light leaks.
     
  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well that's likely at least part of your problem right there. These are poly contrast papers.
     
  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    I'd check the safelight then.

    I see no whites on any of the test strips, which is an indication of fogging.
     

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