Saturday, 12 March 2016

Experience Black and White Film and Darkroom Course

The photo is of one of the Peak District locations, a few miles from home, that I used for the recent 2 day Experience Black and White course. It was a private course for Trevor from Sheffield who wanted to experience using a film camera for the first time to take landscapes on black and white film. I lent him a Nikon FM2 with a zoom lens and gave him 2 rolls of Ilford FP4 film. Most of the first day was spent getting used to the switch from digital to film and taking photographs. 
We were back to base by 3pm. Then after a tea-break it was into the darkroom to process the film and hang it up to dry in the drying cabinet.
Day 2 started in the darkroom with making up 3 dishes of chemicals for making prints (developer-stop bath-fixer). Then the film from the day before was cut up and we made a contact print (the equivalent of thumbnails in digital-speak! This is a print of all of the negatives on a film at the actual size of the negative, no enlargement). From this we could choose which negatives to print. Since Trevor hadn't been in a darkroom before I was explaining everything as we went along. Next came a demonstration by me of the printing technique that everyone should be using in the darkroom, called Split-Grade Printing, the technique specifically designed by Ilford to work with the Ilford Multigrade RC paper that we used. It's the easiest way to make good quality prints without the need for lots of work in the darkroom. Then the rest of the day was spent with Trevor making 14 x 11 inch prints from his film. We managed to make 5 prints before time ran out. The final washing of the prints takes just 5 minutes or so and I have an Ilford 1250 dryer which dries them in about 20 seconds. We were soon finished and admiring results from the 2 days. He had some excellent prints to mount and frame for the walls of his home as well as now having first hand experience of the entire film camera and darkroom process.
If this sounds of interest contact me and we can talk through the options. The course is usually 2 days but can be done in 1 day with 1 location, 1 film and making just 1 or 2 prints.
See for videos and illustrated articles of some of the techniques that will be covered, all free, no subscription.
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