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Thread: how to contact print

  1. #1
    runs a monkey grinder Steve M Hostetter's Avatar
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    how to contact print

    Hello,,

    I have some 11x14 negs now and I will be getting the paper soon. Can anyone tell me how I can contact print with limited tools..

    I don't have a contact printing frame. I do have an 11x14 enlarging easel and an enlarger. Can I get there from here? I don't and can't spend more $$
    I suppose I will need a sheet of glass,,,? not sure

    Also, how do I process the paper,, chems, temp, time, ? is it the same as the film or will the paper instructions state the process..?

    Thx for all the help

    Kind Regards
    Steve

  2. #2
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: how to contact print

    Buy a premixed developer, like Clayton. Read the instructions. Buy a good paper. Read the instructions. Buy the acid stop. Read the instructions. Buy the fixer. read the instructions. An RC paper will limit your times in the chemicals and the wash, but it's not archival. Good to learn on. If you don't want to buy trays, raid the kitchen for some Pyrex casserole dishes.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA
    www.markwoods.com

  3. #3

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    Re: how to contact print

    Steve,
    The key thing for your contact print is to have the negative flat on the paper. RC paper is more flat that fiber paper, and if your negative doesn't have any curl to it, may lay flat enough on the RC paper to make a contact print without glass. RC paper will also be quicker to wash than fiber paper.
    For fiber paper you would probably want a piece of glass. I would also go to a craft store and get a piece of foam (should only be a couple of bucks) just larger than 11x14 to put the paper/negative sandwich on to expose it.
    You can probably use your enlarger to expose the paper, assuming that it can illuminate an 11x14 size piece of paper. You don't actually even need that -- my first contact prints were made using a bulb with a switch hung 3-4 feet above the paper.
    For processing, I assume you have some trays if you're developing your own negatives -- you can use the same stop and fix that you use for the negatives. The least expensive paper developer will be a powder like Dektol -- for my own convenience and time to prepare, I use a liquid developer (BW-65 from Photo Formulary), but that's not the most economical paper developer. The developer will have instructions as Mark suggests; most concentrations of paper developer typically result in about a two minute development time. Paper is developed "to completion", so you'll find the time/temperature somewhat less critical than with negative development.

    John Clark
    www.johndclark.com

  4. #4

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    Re: how to contact print

    Steve,

    I just looked at your profile, and that you mostly use transparency film -- are the 11x14 negatives black and white, or color? I wrote my answer assuming that you've got black and white negatives...

    In any case, try it, it's easy!

    John Clark
    www.johndclark.com

  5. #5

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    Re: how to contact print

    Get Tim Rudman's Master Printing book, OOP, but found many places.

    Google for printing B&W photos, darkroom techniques, contact printing, etc...

    Hang out at APUG...and photo.net

    Man, you could learn more in one day than you could in a one year course at any school, but don't expect to get spoon fed...it's all out there waiting for you!

  6. #6
    runs a monkey grinder Steve M Hostetter's Avatar
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    Re: how to contact print

    Hot damn , you guys are awesome..! Mark ,John, and Pviapiano

    I feel like Rocky Balboa (in his lean years of course) I will do this

  7. #7
    runs a monkey grinder Steve M Hostetter's Avatar
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    Re: how to contact print

    ps... John I'm using Ilford HP5 B&W film and I processed it in FG-7 and RC paper is on the way..

  8. #8

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    Re: how to contact print

    If you don't get a decent printing frame you'll quickly waste more in the cost of paper and chemicals than one will cost. Just for s**ts and grins check out the stainless steel 14X17 xray film holders on ebay in the medical section. If you can get one of the old ones with the black phenolic front, you can knock the phenolic out of it and replace it with a piece of glass and have the best 11X14 print frame on earth.

  9. #9
    runs a monkey grinder Steve M Hostetter's Avatar
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    Re: how to contact print

    Interesting .. Thanks Jim

  10. #10

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    Re: how to contact print

    To hold you over until you have a proper contact frame, for only a few dollars you can make one. This is not perfect, but will hold you for now.

    Buy a heavy sheet of glass about 13x17'' for an 11x14 neg. Buy this from a window shop and ask him to pick from the best sheet he has, have him buff the edges nicely.

    Buy a think piece of foam core, thicker the better.

    Duct tape several layers over lapping to make a hinge along one of the long sides. Use flat black duct tape is possible.

    For a few dollars you now have a very heavy piece of glass that will lay flat and "suction stick" (sort of anyway) to the foam core and allow you to get a decent contact print until you have a better setup.

    good luck.

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