May 9 2010

Further Results to #16

So I had a chance to do some printing this week. The darkroom was set up with the chemistry trays in the stainless steel sink and the odor that arose from them made my nose hairs curl. The enlargers lined the walls. The safe lights were buzzing. I felt like I was home.

Even though my negatives were kind of crappy, I picked one to put in the enlarger. I made a test strip, stepped it through the chemistry and determined an acceptable exposure to be something like 20 seconds at 2 stops down, and cranked the contrast filter up to something like 4 ½.

I was frustrated to discover additional problems to my own thin negs and the density spots that I assume are static marks.  The enlarger created a vignetting effect and it didn’t seem to be very level, which prevented my print from being in focus from edge to edge.  On this first print, I even burned the corners 100%.

I moved on to another negative. It had more of the static marks, but I though it might look good as a full frame print with black edge border. This zero crop created even more vignetting in my print.  My enlarger had serious issues.

I think the darkroom hadn’t been used for a number of years, and it definitely was in need of some housekeeping. My enlarger was actually visibly racked, as if it had been in some sort of vehicular collision. I was later informed that the supplied paper was a number of years old and the chemistry was old too.

Okay, I was starting to feel better about my inability to produce a decent print.

I was thinking about getting out my old SpoTone to retouch those static marks.  I was thinking about how long that would take on top of the amount of time I already invested shooting the images, processing and drying the film, selecting the negative and testing the print exposure, running all my tests and prints through the chemistry then rinsing and drying the prints.  Then I was thinking about how long it takes to snap an image with digital and to adjust any little (or gigantic) imperfection with PhotoShop’s newfangled Content Aware tool.  Am I going to say it again?  Yep.  Digital has spoiled us.

Next week, I’ll share results from my roll of TMAX 3200!

May 2 2010

Results to #16

Processing: by me

Time: ongoing

Price: twenty years of heartache

Due to time constraints in my schedule, I have fallen behind the rest of the class and I have no enlargement to show you.

I can show you the contact sheet though. As I mentioned before, the negatives appear underdeveloped and are quite thin. My contact sheet looks pretty bad.  Also, there is what appears to be static or some other type of density spots on the negatives.

Hm, thin negs, foreign spotting, no prints. I should be failing this class!

I think, with correct filtration, some of these exposures can be salvaged into acceptable prints. I’ll try to get something printed in time for next week’s post.