A test print

I first made a darkroom print in the mid-1970s and marvelled at the wonders of a test strip. An off-cut of darkroom paper, a series of exposures at five second increments to give a starting point for the first “real” print.

© Dave Whenham
Test Strip – Marlborough Downs

I’ve been happily using this method ever since.

Until recently.

I was introduced to an alternative way and decided to give it a try.

A little smaller than a 5×7 piece of paper this is a clear acetate sheet printed with a circle of wedges of different densities (see above). After composing and focusing the negative, the sheet is placed on top of the paper, enlarger stopped down to the required aperture and an exposure of sixty seconds is made. The paper is then developed, stopped and fixed in the normal way.

The end result, see above, gives a test “strip” in one take without having to fiddle with a piece of card, slowly revealing each segment. The numbers around the outside indicate the equivalent exposure time. In this case I thought somewhere between 16 and 32 seconds would be about right. The resulting print is below.

This came out nicely. It was raining when I took the photograph and that comes across well. I printed it at grade 3 and there have been no local adjustments. I will reprint this in the next day or two at grade 2 and with some dodging to the windows above Andy’s head.

So, there we are. A short post to introduce my latest “toy”.

One thought on “A test print”

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