It's my birthday, so obviously...

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by keenmaster486, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. keenmaster486

    keenmaster486 Member
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    ...I'm beginning my first foray into traditional optical printing!

    I hate scanning and I'm already developing my own film so this is the logical next step for me.

    (I'm 20 on the 6th, how about that! I don't suppose many college students are doing this sort of thing any more)

    So of course since I'm me and not a normal person, I can't just buy paper and an enlarger and do it the usual way. (Also because I'm broke and lazy.) So I came up with a method that I'm going to try to refine just for the heck of it.

    I should mention I have never done anything like this before and I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm having a ton of fun.

    "Enlarger": Old broken Retina Reflex III. The thing needs a CLA very badly and the viewfinder lens broke off. The lens is still in great shape though, and seems to work rather well. It appears very sharp. I have the thing mounted three paint cans high above my bathroom counter, and I'm using pieces of clear acrylic to hold the filmstrip in place.

    Light source: High power LED flashlight

    Safelight: Red-colored 40W bulb with outer half painted black

    Paper: HP glossy photo paper. Intended for inkjet printing but we don't want that, do we? Nope. This stuff needs some AG Plus on it. I'm hand coating, which is something I have almost no experience with.

    Developer: I'm all out of D-76 so Caffenol it is! I'm using the "Harmony" recipe: http://www.caffenol.org/2010/07/06/harmony-recipe/

    Fixer: Kodak Hardening Fixer (bottle I mixed up about two years ago. Some precipitate floating around on top but I guess it might still be good)

    I'm using some small bins as trays for the developer and fixer.

    As a test, I took an old negative I'd developed earlier last year (kind of a boring picture if you ask me but that's ok) and went ahead with it.

    For reference, here's the original photo scanned digitally:
    Dead Link Removed

    And here's my first attempt at a print, ever, in my life.

    Exposure time was 20 seconds.
    Developed and fixed for 5 minutes each.

    Dead Link Removed

    I'm quite excited.

    So at first blush my thoughts are:

    1. Overexposed?
    2. Needs thinner coating?
    3. More development time?
    4. More fixing time?

    So, thoughts, advice, etc, ladies and gentlemen?
     
  2. Frank53

    Frank53 Subscriber
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    Don’t know....
    Maybe it’s fun to do in the beginning, but I’m afraid you’ll never reach the quality of your scan this way.
    My advice is to pick up a free enlarger somwhere with a simple lens, anything is better than this, buy some real paper and start from there.
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member
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    That was my thought as I was first reading your post. But good on you for putting in that amount of effort in the experiment and getting any kind of image st all. Quite a fete. Happy birthday to you!
     
  4. jacaquarie

    jacaquarie Subscriber
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    I am of mixed thoughts.
    The print is the accomplishment be pleased with your efforts. You have too many variables and I do not know enough to answer your questions.
    Like Frank, will suggest you seek out suitable equipment, spend a little money on known good supplies, become proficient with the process and materials. Once you have consistent results only then introduce the variables and experiment. When you do experiment only change one aspect at a time. And time is your most precious resource. Work with a plan and method.

    Arthur
     
  5. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    sounds like a great thread for the emulsion forums. those guys could offer better advice.

    btw happy birthday! mine was yesterday... woooo hooooo
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    nice job and happy birthday !

    i use caffenol for prints often - a couple of suggestions
    first, when you get yourself a "real enlarger" it will all be better / this isn't too bad :smile:
    if you can get ahold of polycontrast filters make another print but with
    a 4 or 5 filter and see how it comes out.
    just realized it is AG+, i don't think that offers VC but it is like grade 3 ... so the PC filters might be a waste.
    i think it is your light source, ... you can do a test /// take a scrap of paper with AG+ on it
    and just expose it to the led you are using and develop it and see how it looks. im guessing its
    both the light source and using caffenol ...
    caffenol as a paper developer is very low contrasts so its not really helping your situation :smile:,
    that is why i typically get it started with some regular print developer
    and as soon as the image appears i put it in the caffenol ... and i never use straight caffenol
    i always have about 15-20cc of stock print developer / L ... been doing it for more than 10years this way ...
    with 20year old rockland emulsions, ( both vc and regular liquid light ) , newer AG+, the foma stuff and home made ..


    good luck !
    john
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  7. winger

    winger Subscriber
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    Listen to jnanian - he knows the method. I'm just going to say that for how you're doing it, that's pretty dang good. It's not overexposed, just off a bit in contrast. Like John said, your light source might not be helping. Just because something puts out light doesn't mean it will contain the right wavelengths to expose the emulsion well. If you keep your eyes on Craigslist and such, you might be able to find a cheap/free enlarger (anything Beseler would be a good start). Again, for not doing this before and for using a setup like you describe, you did pretty well.
     
  8. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Well I think it's awesome that you made a print using a retina camera as the enlarger, a flashlight, and some Ag+ painted onto inkjet paper. I suspect you might get "punchier" results with a real paper developer ( just imagine what this print would look like if the highlights were white! ).. or maybe a different red light...

    Good for you!

    Sure... eventually you will want to get an enlarger and use commercial photopaper and whatnot, but this kind of improvising and making do with what's at hand is a lot of fun and it's really cool that you ended up with a print you can hold in your hand :smile:

    And happy birthday!
     
  9. jvo

    jvo Subscriber
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    happy birthday...

    as long as you're having fun keep going - you'll eventually come up with a workable print and maybe something worthy!

    there are so many variables... if frustration looms, i'd suggest inserting some of the things nedl suggests so you can refine other parts of the process. the other thing i would offer is maybe someone more technically qualified to use as an advisor/mentor.

    otherwise, keep up the experimentation and producing results, you'll get there.
     
  10. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Nothing wrong with learning from experience.
     
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