We each made a contact sheet of our negatives. Well I had mine done for me for the example but I'm confident I can do it myself next time. Then I chose the best photo from the 12 I took in the studio. All I was really looking for was good lighting and as few dust spots as I could see because the composition of all of the images was exactly the same which is something I wished I'd done differently - moved my subject around during the shoot to make it more interesting for printing and choosing negatives to print. I'd managed to take all of my photos in focus so I didn't have to worry about that aspect while choosing: only while in the darkroom.
I made some big errors during the printing which I have definitely learnt from:
- The first thing I did was print my first print upside down because my neg was in the clamp the wrong way round so I took it out and spun it for my next print. I wasn't aware I'd done it wrong because I didn't think how you put the neg in affected the print specifically.
- I fogged some of my paper with test strips of the same paper while it was in my box and had big black squares appear on my test prints. This taught me to be more careful with my paper and not have even one sheet out of the black packet while in the box.
- I also exposed my paper to the focus light while trying to do my test prints. It seems an obvious thing to get wrong after being told about exposing our paper to light but it didn't register it was wrong because it looks like a different kind of light and still in the darkroom. This is definitely a mistake I won't make again and feel silly for having done.
I'm glad these things happened in a way because now I'll remember every time I come to print again and be extra careful in these areas.
At the end of it, my print of my studio shot was approved and I thought it was a brilliant first attempt at printing for me. I then successfully made another test strip and print by myself to prove I could make a print on my own.
I ended up with the following prints (excluding test strips):
- first print: 10 second exposure on gradient 2 (upside down and slightly wonky
- second print: 10 second exposure on gradient 2; 5 second exposure on gradient 5 on top (better; more contrast)
- third print: 10 second exposure on gradient 2; 5 second exposure on gradient 5 on top; covered kettle with my hand during another 5 second exposure on gradient 5 on top of that. (fingers visible)
- fourth print: 10 second exposure on gradient 2; 5 second exposure on gradient 5 on top; covered kettle with my hand during another 5 second exposure on gradient 5 on top of that. (same contrast in shadows as third print but more detail and less blacks on subject - desired effect)
I was proud of my finished print and I learned a lot from the induction having made all the mistakes which I have now got out the way. I think next time will be a more enjoyable experience because I now know what I am doing in the darkroom.