On the 10th October 2021 I went on a short walking weekend to the Yorkshire Dales. The Dales is a beautiful place to visit and is fantastic for walking. In this post, I will be taking you through the process of printing this very challenging Photo from negative to finished print.
I wanted to visit the Keld/Muker area for a few reasons but mainly for the classic Yorkshire views of old barns and dry stone walls that can be had from up high on kisdon hill and through the fields around Muker. So I plotted a 6 mile route from Keld to Muker and back to Keld again and off we went. It was a fantastic sunny October morning.
The Photo I will be discussing here was actually the last exposure that I took that morning and It was a challenge to shoot. I had to stand on a rock and lean against the dry stone wall to get the angle I wanted as I was using my Mamiya RB67 with waist level finder (I try to keep the weight down on these walks and the prism finder weighs a ton! I also hate carrying a tripod and avoid it where I can). The photo was shot on Kodak Tri-X at box speed of 400, developed in Xtol and printed on Ilford Multi-grade RC Pearl paper.
As you can see from the negative, there is part of the wall I was leaning against in the bottom left of the photo. I did not want this on the final print so I knew at the time of shooting there needed to be some cropping going on in the darkroom.
I knew this photo would be difficult to print just by looking at the negative. I would want to retain the detail in the foreground wall and the barn and also have a correctly exposed rest of the print and sky. This means a lot of masking and dodging/burning which will make it a really fun print to produce!
With negative loaded into the carrier I set the easel mask to 16×12 and start to work out the cropping.
After producing a few test strips, it is now time to work out how much time to expose each section.
Using the enlarger settings of f-11 at grade 4.5 I determined the following exposure times:
- Overall exposure of 12 seconds
- + 13 seconds while dodging the foreground wall and side of the barn
- + 8 second burn on roof of the barn (the edges of the roof are very dense on the negative so would probably be blown out on the print but this does add some drama!)
- +45 second burn on the sky (I exposed for somewhere between the fore ground and middle ground when shooting, confident that I could achieve plenty of detail in the sky when enlarging)
The above photos show how I managed to mask the certain areas that need it. It may seem a bit long winded cutting out bits of card to achieve this but I really enjoy this part of printing. (note: there is no print on the easel mask while taking these photos as the light from my phone would fog the print plus taking photos while doing this would be a bit of a challenge!)
So here is the print fresh out of this fixer. I am really pleased with how it came out. I knew I wanted this to be a high contrast print and there is so many tones, shadows and bursts of highlights. (note: the white line is a reflection from the print being wet)
Now lets get it washed and let it dry!
The Final Print
The Yorkshire Dales are an amazing place to visit, particularly if you like walking, If you haven’t visited before, I certainly recommend it!
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to hear from you in the comments below.