16 x 20 First Print

I am SO excited to announce that a good 16 x 20 has been printed. It is my first ever print so big. They are HUGE. Really something for me at least.

Only three trays that size fit into my sink. How to wash the prints had to be improvised by swapping trays around. I opted to use the stop bath instead of water alone. It was so much work to do. Do not try this if you can’t work hard. It is hard to do.

16 x 20 prints on Arista EDU new paper
16 x 20 prints on Arista EDU new paper

Now I gotta figure out how to frame them or just the one. I made a lot of mistakes but one print came out ok, the closer one. The other one is cropped funny. I tried to align the easel in the light and got it all wrong. But the picture came out anyway. Its just not full frame like I wanted. One time I didn’t swing the contrast filter over under the lens and lost a sheet because it had too much light on it and got black real fast.

I definitely like this.

20 x 16 full frame 6 x 9. The paper is 20 inches wide with a 3/4 inch border. I cut two inches off the bottom and used it for test strips
20 x 16 full frame 6 x 9. The paper is 20 inches wide with a 3/4 inch border. I cut two inches off the bottom and used it for test strips

Printing With Old Paper

Printing paper will go dark with age. But, it can be treated to resist the getting dark and remain white. At least hopefully enough to use it. I tested all the papers I have from a local darkroom closure. There were 11 or more. A piece of each paper was put into fixer to get a white sample. Then a piece of each paper was put into developer for, at first 2 minuets, later only 1 minuet, to develop and see how dark it gets. They mostly all got gray. Some more than others. Potassium Bromide was added to the developer and at 3x concentration some papers stayed white.

One was a heavy box of 8×10 Arista EDU Ultra Paper FB VC Glossy, 100 sheets I numbered as #4. Some of my manipulations made me think it could be used with a negative and I made test strips. Different contrast filters were used.

The top one used a 4 1/2 contrast filter, f11 9, 12, 15 in 3x KBr 1 min The middle one used a 3 1/2 contrast filter, f11 6, 9, 12 sec with lots of agitation. 3x KBr was used in the Dektol developer for 1 minuet The bottom one used a 5 contrast filter, f11, 12, 15, 18 sec and 3x KBr 1 minuet developing time. Vigorous agitation was used.

Test Strips
Test Strips

They were scanned, straightened, and cropped into the computer. That helped me decide which one to print.

The Middle One. A 3 1/2 contrast filter was used, f11 at 9 seconds, the middle.
The Middle One. A 3 1/2 contrast filter was used, f11 at 9 seconds, the middle.

The middle one used a 3 1/2 contrast filter, f11 6, 9, 12 sec with lots of agitation. 3x KBr was used in the Dektol developer for 1 minuet. The middle section looks best so I’d like to try it perhaps at 9 or 10 seconds?

The Straight Print

A print first made from a test strip exposure chosen for good lights and darks is made without any manipulations. It is cropped full negative. No dodging or burning are done to it. The straight prints guides our next manipulations. What we do next is determined by the straight print. I made one at f11 for 9 seconds in Dektol with KBr 3x added for one minuet development time. The paper would not stay white for two minuets. The paper is fiber based and there is a lot of it so I wanted to try to use it.

The Straight Print on 8x10 FB paper
The Straight Print on 8×10 FB paper

This is a 6×9 negative projected onto 8×10 inch paper. Not bad. The bottom right corner is too light and needs to be burned in some. The sky could use more exposure especially that top left corner. Maybe it could be lighter under the tent. Then, I didn’t like how the building was tilted and had to do something about that as well. Rotating the negative required me to crop in on the image some to get rid of white border areas. You can see some ripples in the paper along the top edge. When this print first dried overnight out in the open it looked like a potato chip. It was curled so much.

Another print just like this one was made one second longer to darken it some. It will go into Farmer’s Bleach to lighten the lights and the added exposure to darken the darks. No bleach yet so it isn’t shown here. Later.

Here is the finished dodged and burnt print. A longer time for the exposure and a smaller aperture for the light will make it easier to dodge and burn. This one is full size so be prepared if you click on it.

The Finished Print, dodged and burnt, cropped and rotated.
The Finished Print, dodged and burnt, cropped and rotated.

The edges can be trimmed off. The print can be dry mounted on board. Then a matt can be added around the trimmed print. The whole thing then is put into a frame.

An 8×10 like this is done in preparation for an 11×14. I have a lot of old paper that size, much more than the smaller size. Then I have a little bit of 16 x 20 to try using. That paper is so thin that it curled way badly, good thing I have experience with defeating curl on fiber paper now.

The film was Ilford Delta 100 shot on Edgewood Day 2015.

On Tuesday the 20th I printed the same image on 11×14 paper. Potassium Bromide 10 % solution was used in a 3x strength, 33ml per half cup plus water to make 1 1/2 cups total developer. f16 was used for 24 seconds and it was developed in 1 minuet. This is Kodak RC glossy paper. The print was photographed with a digital camera in bright sun and I had to darken the highlight to get the image to match the actual print.

11x14 with some dodging and burning. Only the top needed burning.
11×14 with some dodging and burning. Only the top needed burning.

Kodak Vigilant Six-20 Special

Special lens
Special lens
Ready for shooting
Ready for shooting

This camera has the red letter Special f4.5 lens in it. It also has the No. 1  Supermatic 1/400 speed shutter, which seemed to work fine. The Bellows, however, had very many holes in it. I spent a lot of time painting it with Plasti Dip. It was rubbed in then brushed out very thin and smooth. Many coatings were applied but just over areas where there were holes. I wanted to try the lens before investing in a new bellows. I did find someone to do the replacement. The bellows had no more light leaks but I wrapped it with black cloth just in case. They were not shut after the last inspection. New holes appear often after shutting the camera.

The day was super bright out. Light on my Sekonic light meter read over 320 on the high scale. 1/400 gave perfect exposures. Tri-X 400 was used and all the photos turned out great.  The last shot was deliberately underexposed 1 1/2 stops just in case the 400 speed was slow, it was not, and the image is too light in the negative.

The negatives
The negatives
Scanned Positives
Scanned Positives

One is at the top right, eight is at the bottom left. Looks like there is a light leak after all… The leak can be seen on the left side of horizontal pictures and on the bottom of the dark landscape and the top of the street scene.

The camera was looked at again days later and yep there are two holes in the top of the bellows way at the back next to the camera body. That is why the cloth didn’t cover them; it must not have been pushed in far enough.

I did find someone to replace the bellows but do not want to spend the money right now. So, I bought another camera, hoping it won’t have holes… It was real cheap. If I have to replace bellows I don’t want to spend a lot on the camera in the first place.

Good luck trying to find one already fixed properly.