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Thread: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

  1. #1
    Serious Amateur Photographer pepeguitarra's Avatar
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    Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    I intent to use Southern California sun light to contact print my 8x10s. I am building a contact frame with a dark slide on top that will allow me to do my test strip first, then I will contact print the full page using the same device. Have you done it? What can I expect? This is an alternative to building a dark room. I already have information on how to print temporarily in the bathroom but I want to explore the sun. Thanks.
    "I have never in my life made music for money or fame. God walks out of the room when you are thinking about money." -- Quincy Jones

  2. #2
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by pepeguitarra View Post
    I intent to use Southern California sun light to contact print my 8x10s. I am building a contact frame with a dark slide on top that will allow me to do my test strip first, then I will contact print the full page using the same device. Have you done it? What can I expect? This is an alternative to building a dark room. I already have information on how to print temporarily in the bathroom but I want to explore the sun. Thanks.
    Ian Leake who visits here has made a device to measure the light consistently for repeating results... it slips on the contact frame and I would be of great help ... I did a workshop in Riverside CA one year and was amazed at the intensity of the Southern California light..

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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by pepeguitarra View Post
    I intent to use Southern California sun light to contact print my 8x10s. I am building a contact frame with a dark slide on top that will allow me to do my test strip first, then I will contact print the full page using the same device. Have you done it? What can I expect? This is an alternative to building a dark room. I already have information on how to print temporarily in the bathroom but I want to explore the sun. Thanks.
    With regular photopaper ?

    With direct sunlight you may need an exposure of around 1/1000s, I guess.

    Direct sunlight throws some 100,000 lux, in the shade you have 20,000.

    An enlarger may produce say 100 lux, but it's often used way under that

  4. #4

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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    Early on, Ansel Adams used sunlight.
    IIRC his biggest issue concerned passing clouds.
    His account was written up in one of the books in his trilogy, perhaps in The Print?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    I also plan to do this. Just for fun. I have a darkroom.

    As Pere, suggests, it's a lot of light. Maybe I will use slower AZO.

    And on the covered porch under heavy clouds.

    Test strips indeed!

    I will meter and compare
    sin eater

  6. #6

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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    Early on, Ansel Adams used sunlight.
    1900 kodak manuals were instructing how to use sunlight for printing.


    Quote Originally Posted by pepeguitarra View Post
    but I want to explore the sun.
    A way would be using a film holder to build the contact frame, and using the view camera with a lens/shutter/diafragm to dim light. Just a piece of white paper placed on the lens would provide a good light diffusion.

  7. #7
    Serious Amateur Photographer pepeguitarra's Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    I also plan to do this. Just for fun. I have a darkroom.

    As Pere, suggests, it's a lot of light. Maybe I will use slower AZO.

    And on the covered porch under heavy clouds.

    Test strips indeed!

    I will meter and compare
    I saw a video of a guy from East Europe doing collodion (and other derivative print methods) using the daylight. He put it on the sun and suggested that it would take 3 minutes, but in the shade, it would take 20 minutes and get better shadow detail. I intent to experiment first in the shade, and if needed the sun. Maybe I will have a ground glass instead of a transparent glass for the contact.
    "I have never in my life made music for money or fame. God walks out of the room when you are thinking about money." -- Quincy Jones

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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    You guys need to find/make some good old-fashioned POP (printing-out paper). Exposure was done in sunlight, it was self-masking, ensuring good highlights and shadows and took a rather long time to expose in the sun. Exposure was checked by lifting a corner of the negative and actually viewing the image to see how it was doing. When properly exposed, the image was fixed and then toned. Very beautiful images on old POP, in my opinion. I think someone still makes a paper like this...

    Best,

    Doremus

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    It's the ONLY way it was done for most the 19th Century, employed by thousands of photographers worldwide, so implying there's a proven track record is an understatement. Plenty of tips in literature, mostly involving how to achieve consistency. Bob's tip to use some kind of light integrator which actually measures the cumulative amount of light falling on the contact frame can save a lot of headaches. But you have to differentiate whether you are going to be dealing with some kind of routine graded or VC silver paper quite sensitive to light generally, or with much slower, mainly UV-sensitive alternate coatings. There are various light measuring options sold on the internet. Sandy King wrote a review about them and UV printing devices, but mostly relative to carbon printing. You could contact him, unless he chimes into this thread first. I've played with sunlight using Azo, with excellent results.

  10. #10

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    Re: Contact Printing Using the Sun?

    POP is gone. Kentmere in England was the last manufacturer; they supplied Chicago Albumen Works in the USA. Kodak discontinued their Studio Proof paper in the 90s. When Ilford took Kentmere over, they discontinued it, as its manufacture could not meet health & safety requirements (on top of the tiny market for it, I suppose). Too bad, I'd have liked to try it. But if you want to use the sun to print, the 19th century (alternative) print processes look like the way to go.

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