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Thread: Darkroom print and data filing system

  1. #1
    Dwayne Martin Devorobin's Avatar
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    Darkroom print and data filing system

    Iím curious if any of you have devised a good system to record exposure, development, and other relevant info. My goal is to produce multiple editions of each print and file the process info so that when I need to make another I would simply pull the file and produce another print exactly as before. I have started giving my negatives a number for quick reference, and I have created a word dock to fill in all relevant info, like paper, developer, lens, aperture, toner, and on and on. Surely Iím not the first to have done something like this. Just curious what approach others have taken? Or is there some convention for this?

    Now letís see if I manage to post this thread in the correct placeÖ.

    Thanks,
    Dwayne Martin
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  2. #2

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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    I do something similar, but my info recording is done in two separate places; a small notebook, carried in the field, to record holder number, exposure info, etc, and a larger sheet in the darkroom to detail all the pertinent printing data, including dodging/burning steps. However, after 40 years in the darkroom I find I like to reinterpret a negative when reprinting, rather than following a former "recipe."

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    Can't say I ever wanted to duplicate the printing of my old negatives. I do have all the data from the 1970s for my prints, including exact enlarger column height and printing time and aperture, etc. Too bad I don't have that enlarger or lens and, don't have access to Kodabromide, a ferrotype tin and Pakosol.

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    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    I pencil the necessary data lightly on the back of the first good print, like f11, 15s, 22M
    I don't change developers or papers that much. The goal is to have something I can continue to work with if I made more prints or small changes the next day or in the immediate near future.
    If you make another edition later on, it's expected that there are small variations between editions.

  5. #5
    John Olsen
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    Quote Originally Posted by Devorobin View Post
    I have started giving my negatives a number for quick reference, and I have created a word dock to fill in all relevant info, like paper, developer, lens, aperture, toner, and on and on.
    Sarasota Fl.Click image for larger version. 

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    I don't think a word doc is the best way to do this. The most important part of my records are the series of sketches showing burn and dodge areas and times as I work toward a final print. Those are the details that are most important and time consuming to rediscover later. All the printing records are in 3-ring binders with the field notes for the film taped at the page top. I sympathize though with your desire to organize your records.

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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    All of my printing info is on the negative sleeve, including a sketch of any burning/dodging. I used to keep it in notebooks, and later on computers, but this system work's best for me.

  7. #7
    Dwayne Martin Devorobin's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    I do something similar, but my info recording is done in two separate places; a small notebook, carried in the field, to record holder number, exposure info, etc, and a larger sheet in the darkroom to detail all the pertinent printing data, including dodging/burning steps. However, after 40 years in the darkroom I find I like to reinterpret a negative when reprinting, rather than following a former "recipe."
    I really like that idea but I waste so much paper trying to get it right the first time Ö..
    Thanks

  8. #8
    Dwayne Martin Devorobin's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    I pencil the necessary data lightly on the back of the first good print, like f11, 15s, 22M
    I don't change developers or papers that much. The goal is to have something I can continue to work with if I made more prints or small changes the next day or in the immediate near future.
    If you make another edition later on, it's expected that there are small variations between editions.
    Maybe I should just commit to printing the whole edition in a day or two rather than printing 4 or 5 like I’m doing now.
    Thanks

  9. #9
    Dwayne Martin Devorobin's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    Quote Originally Posted by John Olsen View Post
    I don't think a word doc is the best way to do this. The most important part of my records are the series of sketches showing burn and dodge areas and times as I work toward a final print. Those are the details that are most important and time consuming to rediscover later. All the printing records are in 3-ring binders with the field notes for the film taped at the page top. I sympathize though with your desire to organize your records.

    I really like that idea, I should just sacrifice the first print and mark it up as you say.
    Thanks

  10. #10
    Huub
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    Re: Darkroom print and data filing system

    I used a system like that for a couple of years, but stopped when i put it to the test and found out that it only worked so-so. Often I could only use the dodging and burning schemes. One of the causes might be that materials had changed and for instance the paper I was using back then didn't exist anymore. A second cause could be that the output of the bulbs in the enlarger changes when they grow older. And a third reason was that both my printing capabilities and style of printing changed over time as well.
    After concluding this I stopped making notes, other then those on the film development. Also I found that using a darkroom tool like a R&H-design zonemaster really helps in reducing the effort to create a good print.

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