Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Test Prints

Another method for test prints that can be done with variable contrast papers is to make two exposures using different filters or in this case, with my new enlarger, making a series of tests running from left to right using only the "soft" contrast light in 1.5 second intervals from an exposure of 1.5 seconds to 15 seconds.  Then a second series using only the "hard" contrast light from bottom to top again in 1.5 second intervals to form a grid.  The least amount of exposure is in the lower left corner square with a total exposure of 3 seconds, 1.5 using the soft light and 1.5 using the hard light.  The longest total exposure is in the top right square with a total exposure of 30 seconds, 15 seconds with the soft light and 15 seconds with the hard light.  If you were using filters you would use the lowest contrast filter 0 or 00 for one set of exposures and the highest contrast filter of 5 for the second set of exposures.  I'll then review the squares and see which exposure combination seems to give the more balanced print.  This negative was shot from a roll of old infrared film taken in 2008 that after developement looked to be fogged and I found the results from some of the prints to be of such poor quality, lots of grain, little detail I put them aside and decided not to waste any paper on them.  This negative looked as though it might yield something interesting so I decided to try and make a print and used this dual exposure test print as a route to figuring out what the proper contrast setting and exposure might be. I wanted the highlights, the upper windows picking up the sky, the waterdrops and the lamps ( lit up during the day for some reason) to be close to paper base in zones 9-10, I wanted the face of the statue  to show up so I wanted details in the shadows with zones 2-3 and the building behind to be in the middle around 4-5. The first print I made was too dark in the shadows so I scaled down the hard light exposure and increased the soft and came up with a reasonable print but still decided the negatives were just not good enough for an enlargement much beyond a post card sized image.  This print was my standard 5x7ish printed out on an 8x10 sheet of paper for the big border which I like best.


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