It appears, my friends, that I've been guilty of fooling myself. And I'm not talking about the quality of the images - though you are indeed correct, that is also highly questionable. No, I'm talking about the print-ability of my negs. What I am beginning to realise is that too few of my negs are actually easy to print. Too many are only printable at grade 4 or even grade 5. Now this isn't a problem per se, but it does give you little room for manoeuvre if you need to do a bit of jiggery-pokery in the darkroom department. Bear in mind that grade 5 is pretty much the hardest, most contrasty grade that you can achieve on normal papers. OK so a bit of toning can sometimes help with the contrast, but from what I can glean about the whole thing ideally you want your negs to print around grade 2 or 3 out-of-the-box, so to speak, so you have a bit of latitude should you need to harden things up a bit, or soften things down, if you get me drift.
|8x10 print, Kentmere paper. WT-10 developer (which is getting a bit old now and therefore I'm trying to use it up - but at 1+19 dilution it will take a while).|
I've posted the shot above before, a while ago, but only as a scan. This is, as they say in the movies, a real silver print, folks! Well of course this is only a representation of the print, but it's the best I can do in the circumstances. It's of 12th Street, aka Roosevelt, in the West Chicago suburbs, on Thanksgiving Morning 2014. Exceptional for the fact that it's almost bereft of motor vehicles and let me tell you, it's probably the only day of the year you'll find it like that. The Brother drives this pretty much every day and according to him, they try to take him out from all angles. From what I've seen, his synopsis is pretty much spot on.
This link may or may not work, but this is where Google Maps Street View puts us: https://email@example.com,-87.8009941,3a,75y,277.71h,83.04t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1su8a-SO1OmC7YuZR12xheIQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1
Anyway, as usual I digress. The point is, too many of me negs are a bit on the soft side, through mostly, I believe, a lack of exposure to light. I don't tend to mess about too much with the developing side of things - I just go with the manufacturer's recommended times. I assume they know what they're talking about.
I have another theory about all of this, but I'll leave that until the next post, since it's getting late in the day.