When enlarging negatives, I found the magnify glass was really useful, and the key bit of equipment to ensure the image is going to be in focus. I found getting the image the correct size fiddly, as the focus affects the size of the image projected, but once I got used to the focus and height working together, the process became quicker.
I chose to enlarge an image from a bright day, which has a large range of shadows and highlights, as I was stood in the shade, looking out on to an area of dense trees and a lake.
As I am using FB multi-grade paper, I will do my first exposure on grade 5, which controls the shadows in the image.
Test strip. I chose to use the bottom right of the image, as it contains an area full of deep shadows, which will help me choose the right exposure. This strip has 6 5 second intervals, with the shortest exposure on the right. From this test strip, I chose to do a whole exposure of 15 seconds on the frame.
I exposed a whole sheet for 15 seconds on grade 5. The deep blacks in the shadows are perfect, but I found the image looks slightly flat due to the lack of highlights. Also, due to the high contrast between highlights and shadows, the top left corner has almost no detail to it.
Exposing for the highlights. Using grade 0, I made a test strip from the top left corner, which has the brightest highlights. From the left, in 1 second intervals, the highlights immediately come through. Even in this area there is a contrast of light, with the lightest area being in the corner, which made the test strip harder to read. The tones in the 1 second area are perfect, so I added a 1 second grade 0 exposure on top of the 15 seconds of grade 5.
I was very surprised at the difference a 1 second exposure can make, as it brought out nearly all of the detail in the highlights. I feel this really improves the frame, and makes the frame look packed and full of nature, in contrast to the empty space of the first exposure. But the far left of the corner is still lacking exposure.
Using the dodging and burning technique, I added an extra 1 second grade 0 to the corner. This completes the exposure, having the highlights and shadows correct in all areas. I found the dodging hard to do at first, as I practiced covering areas of the frame with my hands, to only let the light touch the corner I wanted, and move them slightly to ensure there wasn’t a harsh line where I had altered this.
I enjoyed working with FB paper, as the results I was seeing in the process made me want a perfect frame, which allowed me to focus on each area. Although the process is long, the final results are worth taking a long time to perfect the correct exposure. I was surprised at how delicate the paper goes through the developing and fixing process, having to be delicate with the transitions between each.