Presbyopia Here I Come

Usually, I am the first to admit that I do not like to get my fingers dirty. But not when it comes to get hands-on with developing. Or so I found when I went back to the darkroom again, last weekend. It had been a while and recently I have only had a number of sessions in the processing chamber. Now it was time to get a few prints onto paper. And as the last time that I printed anything was Christmas 2009, I was indeed worried that I might have lost my touch – two years down the line.
But it all came back to me in a flash. With my large format negatives in tow, I had the LF darkroom all to myself, while the plebs… eh… sorry… the first years were packed in the large darkroom. Initially I had only planned to take a few contact prints of the negatives for my college work book. But with the LF enlarger all at my disposal, I decided to enlarge some images, too.
Scan of a LF contact print
 Luckily I had been given some 30x50cm photopaper a while ago, so I had material to experiment with. Printing LF negs is an absolute joy! As the negative is so large, it is obviously much easier to focus the image on paper. No faffing around with that annoying focus finder – the bare eye will do nicely. At least it did for me- presbyopia here I come!
I will admit that I had to familiarise myself with the developing times again. And I was very taken aback when one of the first years kept playing around with his iPhone right beside the various baths, using it to count down the various immersion times. “Stay away from me with you shiny phone”, I kept thinking. (Only to find out later that he was using a darkroom app with red light which was specifically made for darkroom timing *doh*. Do I feel I have been taken over by modern times? Nooooo. But I am tempted to get this yoke myself…)
Ah, how nice it was to get the fingers into the chemicals again. I still love the magical moment, when the image appears while the paper is agitated in the developer. I love the suspense of it and I like the slow pace. So I carry the whiff of developer on my fingertips with pride!

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