Starting to Print with Contrast Filters

Book 5 Page 1
Book 5 Page 1

All the negatives on Page 1 are flat and lack in contrast. Number 2 is the one I chose to work with because it looked darker but not closed dark. Number 1 is very light, too light and it makes a dark print, too dark for the darkroom. I can’t get the scanner to copy it correctly. It keeps making it better than it is.

Two negatives are on one strip and were placed into the carrier so that the space between the two was in the middle of the frame. A test strip was exposed so i could see the empty film between the two frames and where it goes black.

The film is old 125 PX exposed in a Nettar 6×9 camera last November.

No contrast filter, Exposure test at 3,6,9,12 seconds
No contrast filter, Exposure test at 3,6,9,12 seconds

F22 was used with a 105mm lens on the enlarger, exposure was 3, 6, 9, & 12 seconds. I chose the negative on the right, the darker one, #2, and second from the bottom, 6 seconds. A print was made and it was much too dark. I had made a note from somewhere that said exposure was the same up to contrast 3 1/2, so I put the #3 filter into the carrier and exposed 6 seconds again. I wanted to see if it was true. No it is not.

no filter at 6 seconds and #3 contrast filter at 6 seconds.
no filter at 6 seconds and #3 contrast filter at 6 seconds.

That print is way too light. Another test strip was made using the next higher contrast filter, #3 1/2. In-between I’d tried #5 and it was way way too harsh.

3 1/2 contrast filter
3 1/2 contrast filter

f22 with 3 1/2 contrast filter exposed at 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 seconds. I tried a print at 7 seconds followed by one at 8 seconds, not knowing what works or what I like. 8 seconds looks great.

8 seconds with a 3 1/2 contrast filter
8 seconds with a 3 1/2 contrast filter

This one is full sized if you click on it. However it is a little darker than shown here. 6×9 negatives measure out to be 6 1/4 x 9 1/2. The enlarger was set at 12 3/8 inches high. Print 1 I like.

Pure Analogue Photography

This is an 8x10 wet contact sheet made through the plastic sleeve onto paper in the darkroom.
This is an 8×10 wet contact sheet made through the plastic sleeve onto paper in the darkroom.

This is full size so don’t click on it unless you want to wait for it.

This is page 27. 24 contact sheets have been made.  257 images or negatives exist now to print from. 21  8×10 prints have been made, 2  11×14 also. Two boxes of 35 sheets of 8×10 paper have been used.

All the digital contact sheets were trashed. Those that were printed anyway. Now I make contact sheets on photographic paper in the darkroom the old standard way, with chemicals. I strive to print the edges of the images very dark but still to be able to read the lettering. Not too dark, however, that can be done and the images don’t come out right. Test strips are needed for new film.

All of my negatives have been put into plastic sleeves and contact printed onto 8×10 paper under glass in the darkroom. That is so because a scanner will change the image so much that I could not tell what I had done with exposure or with development. Now when I print a sheet I can see exactly what is going on.

Book 5 holds my negatives and 8×10 contact sheets in plastic sleeves. There are 8 1/2 x 11 three hole punched sleeves for the 8×10 sheets. Nice. 6×9 negatives go two across in 4 rows. 6×7 negatives go 3 down in 3 rows best. That leaves some left over so every now and then  a page holds end negatives. I had loaded some pages of 4 horizontal rows with 6×7 and had 2 left over each time. They waste paper when making contact prints. I like the 3 vertical rows to hold 6×7 negatives. The full sheets of 6×9 don’t really fit onto 8×10 exactly. 35mm negs fit 5 across in 7 rows and do not really fit onto 8×10 well but good enough. I no longer like 35mm.

It is not perfect but it is a really good way to track what is done.

A New Way

A new way to look at film just processed has been made. A Contact Sheet is made first of newly processed film on 8×10 paper in the darkroom with chemicals and light, the old way. Negatives are not scanned at all. This way is better. This way shows what are good negatives and which are bad ones. The criteria is to get the edges to print black and still show the little numbers in white. Once you get that the images will show up in the best way possible. The sheet is then scanned, cropped into pieces, and each image is saved with its top in the up position. Here are some from page 26.

b5 p26 01

b5 p26 02

b5 p26 03

b5 p26 04

b5 p26 05

The numbers are a little hard to read because I went for the darkest version. The 8×10 sheet was scanned at default settings, I suppose it was 300 dpi.  Yes, it is. In Pages, where I write a journal about what I do in photography, the image fills a page. Each on is on one page. I don’t have to scan or invert any more. The contact sheet is segmented and the original relationships are preserved.

The first three are bracketed and the last two have a 1/2 stop difference between them.