Week 5 – more paper negative shenanigans

There’s a really beautiful street in my town that is lined with trees, and especially in the winter they are just begging to be photographed.  I had never stopped before with a camera, but there is the threat of construction that could mean the end of it all, and given all the sunny days recently I decided that now was the time.  I loaded up my film holders with both paper negatives and tri-x, and set up my crown graphic when I was finished running along the trail near the trees (because why not multi-task, right?).

Because I knew that film and paper would give me very different results, I exposed each frame with both.  The filter holder thingy (I love technical terms) that I use on my wide angle lens obscures the f-stops, so unfortunately I underexposed a couple of the paper shots before I realized that I had been moving the lever in the wrong direction.  Oops.  It pays to take the time to look carefully, or just remove the holder.  I did manage to get contact prints from the paper negatives, amazingly enough; they are dark and moody and mysterious, which may not have been intentional but pleases me all the same.

At first I was making contact prints with the old Kodak single weight paper I used last time.  I noticed that no matter what I did, I could NOT get good blacks.  So finally I pulled out some of my lovely new Ilford FB Classic paper and tried that – well, the paper was clearly the problem.  Hello black!  I have since learned that you can add a certain chemical to the developer to make old paper behave better, but that’s an experiment for another day.

Here are the results.  All single weight fiber paper negatives, exposed at ISO 6.brushy creek trees 1 (1 of 1)brushy creek trees 2 (1 of 1)brushy creek trees 3 (1 of 1)brushy creek trees 4 (1 of 1)


These last 2 are on the old / fogged / cooked paper

brushy creek trees 5 old paper (1 of 1)

brushy creek trees 6 old paper (1 of 1)

9 thoughts on “Week 5 – more paper negative shenanigans

  1. Very nice results, I need to do some more shooting with my large formats and paper negatives. How do you contact print them? That is one step I haven’t tried (just expose, scan and reverse).


    • Thank you! I lay the paper negative face down on a piece of photographic paper, and sandwich them together under a piece of glass (negative on top). Then I turn on the enlarger with just white light for a few seconds. You can do this in a bathroom or with other light sources, too, you don’t have to use an enlarger. It takes a little testing to figure out the right time, etc, just like with anything : ) If you work while the negative is wet from the wash, it helps the two surfaces stick together a bit better, but you don’t have to do it that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the results, the way the branches lean into the picture from the right (#4 & #5) and the glow of the first one – and serendipity is the salt of progress 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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