I had been keen to try out the Hasselblad Red Filter that I purchased for my Camera as I wanted to make more contrast in some of my black and white photography.
My first attempt at using the Red Filter the other month was a complete disaster. I had looked at the filter guideline, which I understood as altering the exposure on the light meter by 2.5 stops.
The results ended up with some very under exposed shots that were pointless scanning.
I spoke about my results to the London Camera Museum (where I originally purchased my Hasselblad from) and they said to just expose as normal and ignore the 2.5 stop alteration.
I therefore exposed as per the light meter reading without any adjustments, using the Rollei RPX 100 film and I decided to take some photos of the fishing boats at Brighton Marina and here are the results:
These photos came out just as I’d hoped so I’m really happy. They have the contrast and gritty feel that I was hoping to capture of the fishing area at Brighton Marina.
On the same day, I also took photos of some white fluffy clouds in the sky using the red filter:
Here is a photo I took of the clouds with the cliffs underneath:
I particularly like this photo I took of Roedean School on the Cliffs with the clouds:
I used the 80mm lens for all the photos and will definitely be using the Red Filter again when I want some dramatic contrast in my black and white photography.
A couple of weeks ago during one of my darkroom sessions, I decided to do an enlargement of a black and white fishing boat photo I had recently taken at Brighton Marina.
I currently use the Ilford Multigrade IV RC De Luxe photographic paper in an 8x10in size since I think this is a great photo paper for beginners and also I can use the Ilford contrast filters on it.
I used a masking frame easel whilst doing the enlargement and in my first print I came across some darkness at the bottom left hand corner of the white border:
I did another print and still had the same problem as in the above photo. I’m always very careful in packing the photographic paper away before putting the white light back on and I thought to myself that it must be a masking frame issue since I had never used this particular masking frame before.
I therefore taped the corner of the masking frame down from where this problem was occurring and was still getting the same black mark.
After several prints and much frustration wondering why the masking frame was not working correctly, I then made this print which ended up being a slightly different black mark to the other prints:
I then began to question whether it was a photographic paper issue after all and not the masking frame as I had initially thought.
Before making these enlargements, I had printed a contact sheet of some beach shots I had taken using my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera as I had recently got the developed film back from my local lab.
I decided to look closely at the the contact sheet and immediately saw the same issue in the corner:
At this point, I knew that it was definitely a paper issue and although I thought I had been careful with not exposing my photographic paper to white light, at some point, I must have not bagged this particular corner of the paper up properly so the whole batch of what was left must have got exposed.
Thankfully all was not lost as I was able to trim down the border to still have a nice print since it wasn’t on the main photo. I was also glad that I found out what the problem was as that was frustrating me the most.
All was not lost with the remaining photographic paper left either as I was able to cut the remainder of it up and use it for test strips.
I’m really hoping I’ll never make this mistake again and I now triple check I’ve wrapped up that photo paper properly before turning on the white light!
I have now visited the Brighton Community Darkroom a couple of times since I joined and am slowly getting more familiar with the Durst DA 900 enlarger every time I use it.
Currently I’m managing to get there once a week and am spending approximately 4 hours there per session.
I was there yesterday afternoon and wanted to work on developing some prints from my 120mm black and white negatives that I took on my Lubitel 166B Camera.
There was a really nice beach shot I recently took on a stormy day in Brighton and the waves were crashing against the sea defence wall and there were some clouds in the sky.
I’m still very much at the learning/experimental stage of my darkroom work so accept the fact that without a tutor on hand (like during my black and white photography course) I’m going to probably make many mistakes and waste a lot of paper.
Yesterday was my first time enlarging a 120mm negative print on the Durst DA 900 enlarger as in previous sessions I had been making contact sheets.
I was slightly nervous if I was actually going to do it correctly. I had an initial introduction to the enlarger by one of the helpful members of the community darkroom but that was a few weeks back so I wasn’t sure what I’d remember.
Thankfully, as well as an actual manual on the enlarger, there were some helpful notes provided to me by Paul who is one of the community members and in the notes he provided his recommended combination of condenser and lens that he feels work best depending on the size negative I’m doing an enlargement from.
Rather than going by the manual recommendation, I used Paul’s guidelines since he has experience of using this particular enlarger.
I therefore used a Unicon 105 Condenser lens and 105mm enlarger lens for the 120mm (6cm by 6cm) negatives.
After doing an initial test strip, here is the print I did with the aperture moved down a couple of stops from the brightest aperture to f/8:
You’ll see that its quite dark and doesn’t have much contrast. I also was annoyed at the fact there were dust/hair marks on the photo, which I hadn’t noticed on the negative. I currently use a cheap plastic air blower but I’m seriously considering investing in the more powerful aerosol type of blower as I think that will do a better job of getting rid of unwanted hair/dust as I don’t think my current one works very well.
I decided from this initial print that I wanted more contrast in the photo and also to be lighter.
I had learnt about contrast filters at my college course and thankfully the community darkroom has the Ilford Multigrade filters that I can add to the condenser lens.
I decided to try a No 3 contrast filter and again, did a test strip. I also removed best I could with the equipment I currently have, any unwanted hair/dust on the negative.
Here is the print I did with an exposure of 40 seconds:
This photo is much brighter than the original one I did but I’ve also lost all the cloud detail.
I looked at my test strip again and decided to do another print with the same No 3 contrast filter and a slightly longer exposure time of 50 seconds:
This resulted in a slightly darker photo (as you would expect) but there still wasn’t much cloud definition.
I decided at this point that I perhaps didn’t want so much contrast so changed the contrast filter to No 2 and did another test strip. I did the following photo with an exposure of 80 seconds:
I was much happier with this photo in the fact it was lighter than the original one I did and that it had the cloud definition.
I wanted to next experiment with a No 2.5 contrast filter just to see the difference but I unfortunately ran out of time in my darkroom session so will have to try that next time.
Although the photos aren’t perfect yet, I’m really enjoying the whole process of experimenting and the trial and error.
I noticed on this final photo that more dust had managed to somehow get onto the negative which shows in certain areas of the photo so I really do need to find a way of making sure I can fully clean the negative. I do also wear white fabric gloves when handling the negatives to avoid finger marks.
I look forward to blogging more about my darkroom sessions as I learn more.