Preparing for the big step

If you’ve read this blog for a while maybe you remember my entry about the (happy) day I finally got my Leica M2 in the mail, and how I mentioned I received another great surprise as well in the shape of a wet print from my RFF Print Swap IV partner, David Widom.

That really nice shot, apart from hanging on a wall now started a chain reaction of some kind, and I started to think seriously (or more seriously than before in any way) in getting started with that wet printing thing myself.

Honestly, I’ve been using a regular consumer lab for all my work and although I haven’t printed a lot lately, I sent them some B&W scans after being worked in PS for them to print in their Fuji Frontier systems. The resulting print looks a lot like the regular ones you get from color negatives, only that in B&W, of course.

But (and here’s the important thing), when you compare them against a REAL B&W print in REAL B&W paper… well, as we say here, no hay color. The quality of touch and looks, the texture, and the luminosity and range of greys I see on that Ilford MG IV print are amazing. I realize how much of this is merit of David and how possible it is that my attempts don’t even come close to that, yet I can’t stand from wanting to try it myself, I’m a curious guy 🙂

After commenting this with some friends, one of my very own guard angels, G’man (aka as Greyhoundman / Dave) showed me again his generosity and mailed me the main body of his first homemade enlarger, which you can see mounted here:

I’m in the process of building the central column and extended lightbox, and today I finished the more simple task of the negative carriers, for 6×9, 6×6 and of course 24×36. They are made from the matt black plastic cover of a used notebook (the ones you write on, not the ones with keyboards ;). The ‘glass’ is made out of a CD case.

As developer I just got some Dektol plus some stop bath. I’ll try to go with household recycled materials as much as I can, but of course I also had to buy the paper, Ilford Ilfospeed RC semimatt grade 3. From the very little I understand so far, RC stands for Resin Coated paper, which seems to be far easier to use for newbies as an alternative to the more tricky Fiber Based one.

I feel like an alchemist, I only hope I won’t blow up the house in the process…

To be continued…

Categorized: _theprocess


2 thoughts on “Preparing for the big step

  1. Lemme know how you manage with C41 negs in a BW enlarger. I’ve rebuilt my lab after a long while whitout one… I’m enjoying it more than ever, as I’m also printing better than ever. Good luck with it.

  2. Thanks guys ! 🙂 Luis, I’ll tell you since one of the first prints I’d like to make is a Fuji Superia color one. Glups… I also have quite some Ilford XP2 C41 B&W though…

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