Some darkroom work

I’ve recently completed converting my loft into a darkroom. It seemed like a natural progression from having got more into my film photography recently..

An ideal time to spend in the darkroom what with this awful weather and being in lockdown.

Did a few trial prints the other day of some photos taken in the Barbican using a 35mm Olympus OM2n.The film was rated at ISO 400 and developed in Ilford ID11 developer.

These are all scans of the actual prints made in the darkroom and printed on Kentmere VC Select Luster multigrade paper.

The first print (above) I made using the settings on the colour head for the equivalent of a grade 2 paper which is a mid way grade. The range of tones at the lower level under the overhanging construction are pretty good, although the upper level balconies are a bit over exposed and losing some detail.

For the second example (above) I reset the yellow and magenta settings on the enlarger colour head to give me an equivalent to grade 3 paper which is more contrasty. The image has more punch and has darker blacks to the shadow area, although the lower part does look a bit under exposed (it does look darker on the scanned image than on the actual print though). It does also have good detail to the upper balcony areas. I may have to redo this and using a bit of cardboard just hold back the lower part by 5 seconds on the exposure in the enlarger.

It is good fun and is an interesting project to be doing in these restricted times.

I’ve also included a few of the other scanned prints of the Barbican from the last session.

2 thoughts on “Some darkroom work

  1. Oh how this made me miss the darkroom. I spent my senior year of college running the University darkroom. It was always a blast to have someone in and to show them the ropes.
    Very nice prints. Too few of us still shooting film have the luxury of making prints these days, but it is another dimension to photography that only those who have done it can really understand. The physical act of dodging and burning was something that always surprised the students when I explained the technique.
    Good luck on your darkroom endeavors! Regards, Tobias

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comments Tobias. It is a bit of a blast from the past for me. I used to use my parents bathroom to do printing when I was in my late teens. All done on the cheap of course as I didn’t have any money for expensive kit. I was very fortunate recently as a fellow member of our local photography club was clearing his garage and just wanted to get rid of all this kit for free. As I’m now retired and have a lot more time on my hands it’s a great extra dimension for my photography. It is born also out of some frustration in trying to get good black and white prints using an inkjet printer. There is no comparison of the inkjet prints to these silver gelatin prints with their rich blacks.


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