The choice of paper depends on the type of negative. The two main kinds of paper are glossy and matte, each of which comes in single or double weight. The glossy paper brings out details very sharply but it also shows up faults or blemishes. The matte paper has a dull finish and, consequently, a slight diffusing quality. It is fine for portraits and snapshots in general. The single weight paper is better for mounting in albums, but the double weight paper is more durable. There are also contact and projection papers. The contact paper is slower and can be used with a brighter light.
All printing papers come in varying degrees of contrast, numbered from 0 to 5. The most common are from 1 through 4. The lower numbers are for use when a soft print is desired and should be used for printing very contrasty negatives which have definite blacks and whites. The higher numbers are for hard prints with definite blacks and whites and less graduation between the two. They should be used tor negatives which tend to be an even over-all gray. It is wise to limit your printing papers to numbers 2 and 3 until you are familiar with the characteristics of them and with other phases of printing.
Within the above general groups there are many variations of surface and tone from deep buff to a clear white paper and from regular glossy to an almost velvetlike surface. The use of these papers depends upon personal preference.
The chemical solutions for contact printing are the same as those for projection printing. They are also the same as those for tray development. The developer (D-72) should be diluted 1 part of stock solution to 2 parts of water. It should be used at about 70° F. The short stop and hypo are made in the same manner as for all other processes. Arrange the three trays to the right of the printing lamp and in this order from left to right: developer, short stop, hypo. A large tray with clear water may be put after the hypo tray if running water is not available.
The printing light should be about a 60-watt bulb in a lamp with an easily-operated switch. A mask slightly smaller than your negative size is necessary if white borders are desired.
The printing frame may be any simple wooden one with a glass, or it may even be two pieces of glass pressed together. One sheet of glass and a completely flat surface may be used. The best type is made like a picture frame with the back held in by springs and a felt layer over the back which avoids scratching the negative (fig. 275). Clean the glass of the printing frame and the negative thoroughly with a soft brush or lintless cloth. Turn off the white light.
(1) ;Remove the back of the frame and lay the cut-out mask on the glass. Then place the negative, shiny side down on the mask. Select the proper paper and determine which is the emulsion side. The emulsion side can best be determined by the fact that it feels smoother than the paper side. It will also show a slight sheen when held under the safelight. Lay the paper on top of the negative with the emulsion side in contact with the negative.
(2) ;Replace the back and close the frame. Place the frame, glass side up, under the white light, at a distance of about 3 to 5 feet. Turn on the white light for about 10 to 15 seconds.
(3) ;Open the frame, remove the paper, and put it face down, into the developer. Wet the entire surface of the paper at once. Turn the paper over so that the emulsion side is up. Leave the paper in the developer for at least 1 minute, while rocking the tray back and forth, or rubbing gently on the surface of the paper. Watch the tone of the print carefully. If it goes very dark, remove it, drain it, and immerse it in the short stop for about 30 seconds. Drain it and drop it into the hypo. Be careful not to take the print out of the developer too soon. The safelight causes the print to look darker than it is.
(4) ;Do not allow any of the short stop or hypo to drip into the developer at any time. It is best to have a bowl of rinse water handy and rinse off the hands after each print to avoid getting hypo into the developer.
(5) ;If the print is much too dark, make another under the same conditions, being sure to get the printing frame exactly the same distance from the light as before. Cut in half the time of exposure to the white light. If this print is too dark, cut the time still further. To make a lighter print, decrease the time; to make a darker print, increase the time. A little practice will enable you to look at a negative and judge the length of time the print should be exposed for best results.
(6) ;The time of development for each print will vary somewhat. Since printing is done with a fairly bright safelight (Wratten OA filter and a 10-watt bulb), you may watch the development of the print and stop it at any time. It is best to arrange printing times so that the print stays in the developer at least 11/2 minutes. It cannot stay longer than 4 minutes without developing a yellow fog. Be careful not to take the print out of the developer too soon. A general caution to be observed is to be sure that the white light is never turned on while the package of paper is open, or before the negative and paper are completely set in the frame.
(7) ;Allow the prints to remain in the hypo tray about 10 minutes. They may be left in a little longer, but it is best to transfer them to a tray of clean water or to running water after about 10 minutes. In running water allow the prints to wash at least 45 minutes. If running water is not available, change the water in the tray every 5 minutes until the prints have had about 10 baths.
(8) ;When the prints have been washed, put them to dry between photographic blotters, or on ferrotype tins, if the surface is glossy. When using a ferrotype tin, place the print face down and roll it flat with a rubber roller. Leave it on the ferrotype tin until it is completely free and dry. Any attempt to lift a print off before it is completely dry will end in disaster.