Ramblings about first print session and a stupid question

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Compaq, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've been trying alone at printing for the first time, today. Quite fun. I made some new fix solution, as the current one was OLD. It said 2008 on it. I think the developer was a year or two old as well, but I didn't find the chemicals for making new one. Note made to darkroom boss :)

    Anyway, back to the printing. A little bit of my experience before the stupid question. I did as I was taught: I did a test print with different exposures (in two-second intervals) to find a good exposure time. Then I did a new one and got what what seems like decent results. I'm guessing the quality of the negative here will play a major role on the final result. I used a negative that I lost outside and didn't find until after two days...in the snow. I like many of those shots, and tried to print a "portrait" of a friend I took when the student gang went on a trip to the woods one Sunday. This one turned out pretty flat. I think that could have been a nice portrait. Good focus (larger print), nice dof and I like the person is basically filling the frame with head and some of torso. If I had this one digitally, I could add some contrast to it, which is basically just what it needs, imo.

    And then I had some good negatives, and tried to print those. Decent contrast. I would prefer a little more contrast, but I'm not sure how to get that. I've read that underexposing the film and overdeveloping it will give higher contrast, but I don't want to underexpose every film. Then there are these colour filters that are on the enlarger, but I don't know how to use them (red, blue and yellow was set to 0 (zero)). Then there's selective development of the film, but that seems overly advanced for a beginner. I'm sure there are other ways to get more contrast in the prints as well.

    Feel free to comment on what I've written above as well as the stupid question that will follow :thumbsup:

    I developed in some old AGFA Neutol. Developing time was ranging from 20 seconds to three minutes, so apparently I need to adjust the exposure to my different negatives :lol: The paper used was Ilford multi grade IV RC paper. As stop bath I just used water (maybe not the most accurate way) and AGFA fix (for film and paper) for fix (1+7= 30-60 secs).

    Soo, the stupid question. Once my prints are dry.........how would I store them :lmao:?? Should I buy albums? Should I keep them in small plastic things? How do you store them?

    Thanks for reading and helping a n00b out :)


     
  2. slackercruster

    slackercruster No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used to dry mount mine and store in portfolio cases. Or would store in the boxes the photo paper came in.

    But I said screw all that crap. I'm all digital now.

    Back in the day I was lucky to produce a handful of color prints in an evening. Now I can blast out 30 days worth of old school color prints in a 1/2 a day with an inkjet. And the high grade inkjet is on par with the finest old dye transfer process that cost a few hundred $$ per print.
     
  3. shortpants

    shortpants No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yikes about the old chemicals!

    I always used these contrast filters :Ilford Multigrade Filter Set 3.5x3.5" 1762628 B&H Photo
    Generally started with a 2 right away and went from there.

    You can find plastic box binder type things from a photo store for temporary storage, eventually you want something archival if you're saving the prints. Or do it the budget way like I did and reuse an empty printing paper box lol.
     
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You are using a color head on that enlarger. NEVER use cyan with black and white printing. In your box of paper there will be a sheet with some information regarding recommendations about levels of contrast. Dial in about 30 magenta or maybe 35 that is going to be about a grade 3 contrast which is what i suggest for my student using 35mm film. Yellow and cyan should be at zero. Some folks like to use a combination of yellow and magenta, but that is not the method I teach. Yellow is used on it's own when negatives are too dense and need less contrast.

    And yes you can underexpose and over develop to add contrast when shooting, but I think you correct. One step at a time.

    Your development time SHOULD ALWAYS be the same, With Ilford RC papers that is 90 secs. including the drip time. 30 sec for stop bath and 60 sec for fixer.

    I would really suggest you find a copy of Larry Bartlett's Black and White Photo workshop book , it will be very helpful for you, especially since you are out there on your own. ALso check out Ilford's website as they have a lot of good pdf files for learning to do darkroom work.
     
  5. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I can see that digital is more efficient, but efficiency isn't really what I'm after with film :) Being in the darkroom is fun, even if I suck at the current time :p


    And Ann, I'll try that magenta at 30-35 next time I'm printing.
    Will not developing time depend on the concentration of the developer solution? How many prints can one get out of a new solution? Considering the one I used has been standing for years (though not many people use the darkroom). I'll make a new solution next time I'm down there, unless the one in charge does it first.

    Maybe I'll just get on AbeBooks and get some copies of recommended books there used for a few dollars each.
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would suggest you stick with one ratio of developer. Different ratio have an effect, and then there is fractual printing, but one step at a time grasshopper.

    How many prints will depend, on paper size, age etc. LPD for instance has a very long tray life and you can make a few prints , bottle up the developer and reuse again and again. If you check the spec the company will recommend how many sq. inches of paper to a qt. Dektol may be what you working with as it is very common and has been around a long time, it's tray life isn't bad, but not as long as LPD.

    If your the only one using the darkroom, I would start with new, meaning freshly mixed developer, not something that has been sitting around for years as it is really past it's working prime. The developer should be a light tan color, not colorless like water but not brown either when you start.

    Printing will be much easier and a lot more fun, when you become consistence with workflow, and more importantly consistence negatives. Your base printing times should be the same, not the finish times, but the starting point, filter contrast and development times should be the same. Dodging and burning are the keys to becoming a better printer (imho) and that is going to take practice and experience.

    The stop bath and fixer can be re-used but if they are left in the trays they should be covered. IN fact you can leave developer in the tray, but cover it with Saran Wrap (that brand) and let the wrap settle onto the liquid and tighten at the edges.
     
  7. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The developer I used was darkish brown, not light tan as you say.

    I'll try to be more consistent in exposure and developing the negatives. The one I've learned a little from gave me a tip that's very useful if it works. When the film goes into fixer, I put a spare part of that film into a separate (thought from the same bottle) solution. If it takes 3 minutes for the piece of film to become clear-ish, then I let the whole film sit for 3 more minutes. If it took 6 minutes, I let it sit for 6 more minutes. A way to ensure proper time in fixer for every film in every type of fixer solution.
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    be consistent in your printing techniques as well. This is a craft that calls for being a bit obsessive :)
     
  9. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'll try, hehe. And thanks!

    Don't hate me if I make more threads :p
     
  10. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Could not happen! :) It's fun getting someone up and running with the process; that's why we're here.
     

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