The First Print

Over the weekend I spent around eight hours, in four two-hour sessions, in the darkroom getting my head around the whole alchemical process again after an absence of more than thirty years. I had been warned that I would be amazed at how little I remembered but I think the amount of reading I did before the weekend was repaid by a very smooth reintroduction and a very satisfying first print.

In particular, the warnings regarding cleanliness and control of dust were well heeded and the first finished print has just one tiny blemish to be spotted out at some point. I clearly remember seeing much more on prints back in the 1980s so I’m clearly being a lot more careful these days. The benefits of my “mature” age perhaps?

© Dave Whenham
Test Strip – Marlborough Downs Top 12-9-6-3 seconds @ f11 and Bottom 15-12-9-6-3 secs @ f16

One thing I remember as being a total faff was test prints (see above) but the benefit of them became very clear over the weekend. I really can’t think why the teenage me disliked them so much, or at least dislikes them in my memory. The test strip gave me an overall exposure of 12 seconds at f16 although to my eye this gave a much darker foreground than I wanted so again using the test strips to make a judgement the bottom half was held back so it only received 7 seconds. The scan of the finished print is below.

© Dave Whenham
Marlborough Downs. Pentax 645.

All in all I had a very productive weekend and am looking forward to honing my skills over the coming months.