So I decided to try a new technique today, using digital negatives (as with alternative processes), but instead using regular silver gelatin paper. The results were the best silver gelatin prints I’ve ever made.

In this case, I used digital originals for 5 of the 6 negatives. As with other digital negatives I converted to B&W, adjusted levels a little, inverted and flipped horizontal. The negatives were then printed on Pictorico OHP, 8×10. Unlike alternative processes, I did not apply much of a curve to the images, but instead compressed the tonal scale on a few of the images, but that was about it. I made the image look decent on my monitor, but did not attempt to modify contrast much.

Paper is Ilford MGIV RC Deluxe, Pearl. Development in Dektol, all images used Ilford contrast level 2 with light from a Beseler 23c II condenser enlarger. Exposures at f11 had a tight range from 5.2 to 6.7 seconds with most being either 5.7 or 6.2 seconds. I just set the height of the enlarger high enough to ensure full coverage. If I needed to do any dodging and burning (last print might have benefited from that), I would probably raise the head even more or stop down to f16 or both.

One great advantage of this workflow was how rapidly I dialed into the correct exposures and how quickly I got quality results. Sometimes with film negatives and actual enlargements, the workflow is–getting the paper in the easel correctly (time after time), getting the grain focused and perhaps cursing at the film holder for not holding your curly negatives flat. This was simple. Place digital negative on paper, slowly close down contact frame, maybe adjust a little, and expose. My next experiment will be to do this with fiber-based paper and attempt some lith prints as well.

I scanned with my Epson V700 and did nothing to the scans than export them from tiff to jpg. You can see some edges on the prints that would normally get cut or matted over.

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