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Chapter 6. Printing in a darkroom. Tools. Easel for 8x10 paper Plastic tray Negative holder and number of your enlarger Filters Focusing magnifier enlarger 8x10 photo paper Brush or other to clean negative Developer, stop bath, fixer, stop, washer, dryer. Enlarger (Pgs 112-113).

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Chapter 6

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chapter 6

Chapter 6

Printing in a darkroom


Easel for 8x10 paper

Plastic tray

Negative holder and number of your enlarger


Focusing magnifier


8x10 photo paper

Brush or other to clean negative

Developer, stop bath, fixer, stop, washer, dryer

enlarger pgs 112 113
Enlarger (Pgs 112-113)
  • Ours are sized for 11x14 or smaller, usually 8x10
  • Has a head with the lamp
    • 2 types
      • Condenser: uses a lens above the negative to concentrate the light. More contrast. This is the type we use at VVC.
      • Diffusion: scatters unfocused light over the negative
  • Enlarger should spread light evenly over the negative
  • Light goes through a lens with f stops to regulate the amount of light passing through.
  • Timer switches light on and off
photo paper pgs 114 115
Photo paper pgs 114-115

Variable Contrast or VC. Vary the contrast with a filter. This is what we use.

Graded paper. Single contrast from grade 0 to grade 5.

Resin Coated or RC. Requires less washing time.

Fiber based paper. Premium product for Fine Art Photography. Much longer washing period.

steps to making a print
Steps to making a print
  • Set up enlarger. Start at f/11.
  • Contact sheet from your negatives in the sleeve.
    • Emulsion side of negatives down! Emulsion side (shiny) of photo paper up. The emulsion of both touch each other
  • Test strip of sleeve between 2 rows to determine optimal exposure time.
    • May not work for all negatives in the sleeve.
    • Just like we did the value strip for the photogram.
  • Expose the full contact print and develop.
  • If necessary, adjust time and repeat.
make an enlargement
Make an enlargement
  • Evaluate your contact sheet for the negatives you want to print. Do this in the light.
    • Use the light box and loupe to see flaws. You have a loupe. Remove your 50mm lens and turn upside down. Use with a light box.
  • Insert negative strip in the negative carrier.
    • Brush the carrier for dust
    • Clean the negative for dust
      • Air or brush
    • Place the negative in the carrier, Emulsion side down.
  • Insert carrier into the enlarger
enlargement cont
Enlargement cont.
  • Open f stop to brightest position to focus (f/2.8)
  • Insert white focus paper into the easel to focus
    • Use adjustment knob to focus to your eye.
  • Adjust the image to enlarge or shrink image
    • Be sure image fills the paper!
    • Re-focus image
  • Use grain magnifier to make final focus. Without this step you final image will NOT be in focus.
    • Move magnifier around until you see the grain or edges.
test strip pgs 120 122
Test strip pgs 120-122
  • Use a test strip, just as you did on the contact sheet.
    • This is just one negative and you need to know the optimal exposure, time & f stop for this one negative.
      • Set the enlarger f/stop to f/11.
      • Use a full sheet of 8x10 photo paper.
      • Divide the sheet into 4 parts, mark a little spot at the top of the sheet for each division.
      • Mark the left one 5, the next 10, the next 20, the last 40.
      • Expose the whole sheet for 5 seconds at f/11.
      • Cover the 1st second and expose the whole sheet another 5 seconds.
      • Cover half the sheet and expose the rest for another 10 seconds.
      • Cover ¾ of the sheet and expose the remaining section another 20 seconds.
the test strip
The test strip
  • The test strip should indicate the best time is between 10 and 20 seconds.
  • If the best is between 5 and 10 seconds then repeat the test strip but change the f stop to f/16.
  • If the best time is between 20 and 40 seconds then change the f stop to f/8 and repeat.
  • If it is still between 20 and 40 then open up one more stop, to f/5.6 and repeat.
  • In other words, we want the time to be between 10 and 20 seconds!
    • We can live with more than 20, but not less than 10!

Develop your test strip

    • 1.5-2 minutes to develop
    • 30 seconds stop bath
    • 1.5 minutes fixer
    • 1 minute stop bath
    • Look at your test strip out of the darkroom
    • If this is a good test strip then put back into the fixer for 3.5 minutes, 2 minutes stop bath, 10 minutes in the wash, 1 hour on the dryer screen.
  • While it is drying, do your next test.
test strip cont
Test strip cont.

Now we know your print should be exposed for 10 to 20 seconds.

We need to narrow that down to a precise time.

Your next test strip will be divided into 6 sections. Make a little mark at the top of the sheet.

Expose the entire sheet for 10 seconds.

Cover the first section and expose the the sheet an additional 2 seconds.

Cover the first 2 sections and expose for another 2 seconds

Repeat to the final section. When done you will have a sheet that is expose 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 seconds.

You could do this in 1 second intervals if you wish.

Develop the test strip.