Video - Making a Large Format Contact Print with a Paper Negative Using the Split-Grade Method

December 06, 2015  •  13 Comments

In this 22 minute video, I take you through the process of creating an 8x10 large format contact print from a paper negative using the split-grade method and the new incandescent light source that I just built for my off the grid darkroom.  

I share the entire process from start to finish with viewers.  

You can purchase my eBook Split-Grade Darkroom Printing - Step-by-Step and get immediate access.  

Large format contact printing is one of my all time favorite things to do in the darkroom.  I love the process of creating the print with simple materials (film, light, chemicals, and paper) and not needing any fancy equipment. 

Keep printing in the darkroom!

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-Tim Layton 

Tim Layton
Darkroom & Large Format Photography
Platinum Histograph Heirloom Prints & MiniaturesTM


Craig McMurtrie(non-registered)
How do know what speed the paper negative is to make the correct camera settings?
Tim Layton Fine Art
Hello Steve, thanks for taking the time to comment. I don't get any noticeable contamination between the chemicals for a couple of reasons. First, I only use my fingertips and then at the end of each cycle I wash my glove off. Then for each new print, I use a brand new glove and start all over again. Hope that helps!
That's a very interesting video. I've done a few split filter prints from 35mm negatives which has markedly improved the result over using a single filter. I recommend that anybody try it based on the outline you've provided. There's a certain amount of trial and error which is part of the fun.

Do you get cross contamination of the chemicals from dunking your gloved hand from one to the next?
Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Kimberly !! Thanks for commenting... I used white art board as my prototype so that I could see my lines when drawing on it... lol I did buy some black art board too and I will be making a refined version with that. After using it a few times I already want to make a couple small adjustments. I will post a new article when I get that done. Yes... split-grade with contact printing is a trick that I have been doing for many years. Sometimes the very simple and obvious stuff gets passed us... I am really loving your salt prints by the way.
Kimberly Anderson(non-registered)
Tim! Well done video my friend! Love it. A few thoughts:

1. The filter holder, while awfully ingenious, might be better made out of black foam-core. I know from past experience that the white turns into it's own extremely YELLOW light source when illuminated from behind. You are essentially turning your work lamp into a large warm-ish softbox with just some slight filtration. I am wondering if you would have even more control making the filter holder out of opaque material so that 100% of the light is actually filtered.

2. I have NEVER, EVER considered doing split-filter contact printing for paper negatives. I don't know why, honestly. I love the paper negative and have used it a LOT over my career. I can't for the life of me figure out why I haven't used split contrast printing in my own paper neg printing. I use it often when enlarging but somehow that simple idea never translated to the contact print! Some of us are just slow... ;)

Thank you for making my bag of tricks even deeper. Well done!
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