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Jeffraty
11-Mar-2018, 18:14
Alright, Iím not a photographer unless your willing to open that up to include anyone whoís taken a picture. I like to think Iíve done my homework as far as taking a picture and processing a film goes, but honestly I donít feel I can do more than pretend to myself I know what Iím doing at this point. I havenít had a go at making a print yet but Iíve got a few negatives and Iím at a bit of a loss as to which one is suitable, if any. Iíve read just about everything I can find about evaluating negatives and canít shake the feeling that Iím making the wrong call on this. I donít know if it matters but my wife swears Iím colorblind, and if thinking the living room was painted cream when it was apearently green counts she may be right! So hereís my question, which of these negatives is alright for doing a contact print? (https://vademecummicroscope.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/img_0209.jpg)

I want to say the one in the center, but I feel like itís too thin. The one on the right seems too dense but maybe itís just because I canít help but see the negative as if it were a positive. Then I think alright Iíll go with the one on the left but it doesnít seem contrasty enough! Any comments at all are welcome. I know I gotta stop caring about doing it ďright nowĒ and think about trying to do it ďrightĒ but this afternoon in my little work area Iíve just had too much fun to stop!

ic-racer
11-Mar-2018, 19:29
Print them all and see. You will learn from experience. As a rule you would like lowest shadow density to have just barely visible density. Correct highlight density might be anything, depending on how you print (paper grades, enlarger type, etc.)

koraks
12-Mar-2018, 01:19
With bog-standard variable contrast paper, any of those negatives can give a decent contact print. My ideal negative of this scene would be something in-between the left and the middle one: more density on the highlights than the one in the middle, less density in the shadows than the one on the left.

You'll learn whatever works for you by just doing it and adjusting your exposure and development as you go along. Don't worry about not seeing colors like other people do; it doesn't matter much, except perhaps when you're using staining developers and want to see the effect on the stain in your negatives when compared to a non-stained negative.

Willie
12-Mar-2018, 06:09
Buy a copy of Henry Horenstein's BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY: A BASIC MANUAL and BEYOND BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY and a lot of your questions will get answered quickly. Darkroom work will be a bit easier.
Learn to tell the difference in negatives that are underexposed/overexposed as compared to underdeveloped/overdeveloped and you will be ahead of the game.

As for how your negatives will look when contact printed? As others have said, experience here will tell the tale. Different films, papers and even developers will get results with some being more pleasing to your eye than others. Get basic supplies and try making the contact prints. Reading information such as this can be helpful: http://michaelandpaula.com/mp/onprinting.html

Michael A. Smith is an excellent B&W contact printer. That is the only way he prints. Might as well learn from one of the best as you progress.

Pere Casals
12-Mar-2018, 06:38
which of these negatives is alright for doing a contact print?


Your question has an easy answer, you can obtain the same result with any of the negatives, just adjusting exposure and paper grade.

With a few clicks in Photoshop it can be proved.

175835

175836

Post process is very flexible, if a negative has lost detail in shadows or highlights then you have that problem. Also shadows and highlights can be compressed if scene areas placed in toe/shoulder.

But if not, having all in the linear zone of the curve, with VC paper you place exposure and contrast were you want.

To get practice, I'd recommend you print one of the negatives in an optimal way, and then try to get a matching print with the other two. You then may observe and slight difference depending on if a negative has lost some shadow detail, etc

Peter De Smidt
12-Mar-2018, 06:38
Make a Proper Proof, ala Fred Picker.

Tin Can
12-Mar-2018, 07:01
Willie, thanks for linking to http://michaelandpaula.com/mp/onprinting.html I just read that for the first time. Very good info and plan.

Peter, what is a 'Proofing Print' ala Fred Picker? Many like me, know nothing of Fred.



Buy a copy of Henry Horenstein's BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY: A BASIC MANUAL and BEYOND BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY and a lot of your questions will get answered quickly. Darkroom work will be a bit easier.
Learn to tell the difference in negatives that are underexposed/overexposed as compared to underdeveloped/overdeveloped and you will be ahead of the game.

As for how your negatives will look when contact printed? As others have said, experience here will tell the tale. Different films, papers and even developers will get results with some being more pleasing to your eye than others. Get basic supplies and try making the contact prints. Reading information such as this can be helpful: http://michaelandpaula.com/mp/onprinting.html

Michael A. Smith is an excellent B&W contact printer. That is the only way he prints. Might as well learn from one of the best as you progress.

mdarnton
12-Mar-2018, 09:17
I suppose you are wanting a direct answer. For me, the middle one is too thin, the left one about right, and the right is a bit dense but I like the contrast better, so that is the one I would choose. In general, your objective shouldn't be to get a negative and then find the right paper grade for it, but to make a negative that prints on a normal grade of paper with the best result. Changing contrast grades of paper away from a normal grade of 2 or 3 to bail out improper contrast might well be regarded as a crutch to solve errors, is my way of thinking of it. :-) Scanning and digital manipulation is the ultimate bail-out--the computer can fix anything.

None of these are so dense that the darkest parts of the neg are blocked up (gone over to total black so that everything looks the same: black.) On the middle one, I feel like the thin areas are missing the separation of densities that I would prefer to see to easily make a nice print, and given the subject matter, I doubt that the thinnest areas of the neg represent a pure black: am I correct in thinking that the subject matter is basically a variation in white with black only in the holes?

Remember in printing that something that has gone too dark in the neg is still printable, and areas that are dark but have a lot of detail can still be pushed down into black if you want, but areas that are so thin that they don't have detail will never have detail, no matter how good of a printer you are. In that sense, printing favors a neg that is too thick (dark) rather than one too thin.

My concern here is that if little beasts like these are always going to be your subject matter, you may want to increase development slightly--+10-20%-- to give somewhat greater contrast.

Peter De Smidt
12-Mar-2018, 10:04
For Fred, a Proper Proof is done in the following way: Pick your standard paper. Many people pick grade 2, or use the filters needed for grade 2 on VC paper. (It's a good idea to check the latter with a step wedge to make sure you're really getting whatever grade you're aiming for.) Now figure out how much exposure through the developed but clear film base is needed to get a good black, after all processing is done, including toning, the print is dried, and it's viewed in the light level that you will display the final print. You're not trying to get dmax, as read by a densitometer. Now contact print your negative for the time determined by the earlier test, doing everything the same. This is a proper proof. If the darks are too dark, give more exposure to the negative. If the lighter tones are too gray, then give more development. If they're too light, than give less development.

Tin Can
12-Mar-2018, 10:53
Thanks, Peter.

This is the sort of basics I never heard of.

I only developed 35mm for myself for 6 months in a college 20 years ago, then went full digital until I joined this Forum. I still shoot way more digital.

I think the much bigger LF neg is easier for me to willy-nilly choose a 'good neg'.

Old dog walks in a circle, hoping the dish gets filled.

Vaughn
12-Mar-2018, 11:15
Don't forget to turn the negatives over the other way when you contact them...

faberryman
12-Mar-2018, 11:20
I don’t know if it matters but my wife swears I’m colorblind, and if thinking the living room was painted cream when it was apearently green counts she may be right!
Always assume your wife is right about paint color selection. This is one area where truth is of little importance.

Drew Wiley
12-Mar-2018, 21:34
Ha! I knew the former director of the International Color Council, but his wife was Peruvian, so the only color he was allowed to use at home was red. Anyway, if it were me, I'd want some distinct sparkle to a backlit diatom print, so would probably choose the neg on the left, and definitely not the thin one in the middle. But what I'd really like to see is a dark-phase version.

Vaughn
12-Mar-2018, 23:28
Always assume your wife is right about paint color selection. This is one area where truth is of little importance.
It is a proven fact that most women see more colors then most men...and that does not even take into consideration those men who are to some degree color-blind. A lady friend of mine will comment about the nice colors still left in the sky, long after I stop seeing anything significant. So the "truth" is important...one's wife is seeing what is really there for her! Accepting something we can not see is tough for us guys...its a religious thing.

Enlarging I'd go for the middle one, contact printing I'd try the left one first. For alt processes, I'd bleach the one on the right, then selenium tone it...silly me!

Jeffraty
13-Mar-2018, 03:26
Unfortunately, I haven't got a paraboloid dark field condenser for that particular stand. I can do a phase contrast if you like?

Anyway thanks to everyone who chimed in with their insights. This is the sort of thing that makes me wish there was someone around the corner who had a few decades of experience I could benefit from. Being so new to both photography in general and chemical photography in particular I find I just haven't got the judgment to let my opinions hold my hand on this. It hadn't occurred to me make a proof for evaluating, I suppose I thought that was reserved for 35mm contact proof sheets. Special thanks as well for the book recommendations, I placed my order with Abe Books yesterday.

I had read about extending the developing time (and using less dilute D76) to raise the contrast but I wonder if a yellow filter wouldn't get a bit more as well? I gather yellow filters are recommended for photography of sky/clouds and with the 3400 degree color temperature supplied by the light source in this case I'd think that same principle would apply?

In any case, thanks again to everyone who let me benefit from their knowledge!

mdarnton
13-Mar-2018, 06:15
Filters alter the balance of colors within a subject. If color isn't a prevalent feature of the subject, as opposed to the lighting, nothing will change.

Gary Beasley
13-Mar-2018, 10:32
It would help to have a location, then you might actually find someone with decades of experience right around the corner!