Darkroom notes from March 22

A glossy paper print of a black and white image of customers sitting around the bar and at tables at FireWorks Pizza in Leesburg, Virgina

Last night in darkroom class I was again at Station A, using the Beseler 23C-II enlarger. I made three decent and nearly identical prints of inside FireWorks (above, taken with the Leica M2 and Voigtlander 35mm Ultron f/2, and the photo of the print taken in RAW mode on the iPhone). I started with a #3 filter, but that was too contrasty, so I went down to a 2.5 filter, exposed for 6 seconds, waving my hand over the shadows in the bottom half of the frame, which didn’t actually help much. It’s too dark overall and I probably need to use a #2 and go for 5 seconds. There’s almost no gray in the image.

I’m still using the stopwatch on the Casio G-Shock, which confirms the continuing problem with the drifting lab timer.

Not pictured: A halfway successful attempt at printing a photo of Mel, Meg, and Max in West A.J. in 1992. Used a 2.5 filter, lens stopped all the way down, exposing the whole print for 6 seconds at the same time as sweeping across and dodging their faces with the round dial of the lab’s metal thermometer (Meg got the most of it and she looks like a ghost moving through time). Then I burned the window and Max’s shirt for 12 seconds each (I think). Next time I’ll bring a proper dodging tool made of wire and cardboard.

I did not try again on the Leesburg photo of Delirium on King Street. I could have, but I figured it was better to move on.

There was a moment last night where I headed back into the darkroom after pulling a print out of the dryer and putting it on the drying rack. I thought, I’m in my happy place and this is all I care about doing anymore.

March 23, 2023