Printing with RC (resin coated) papers by Seder Burns
When focusing, use the largest aperture as it provides the brightest image.
Put a piece of paper with the backside up into the enlarger easel. Use a grain enlarger to insure critical focus. When the grain is most sharp, that is when the image is in sharpest focus.
Be sure to stop down the lens after focusing. You should fully stop down the lens and then open it up two stops. So if a lens has a minimum aperture of f22, then you should use an aperture of f11 to print. This allows for good depth of field and good lens performance. Typically, a lens doesn’t perform best at its largest and smallest apertures do to inherent difficulties of lens design and optical properties. That is why I ask that you open it up two stops from its smallest aperture.
Control density/time for the Highlights, adjust paper contrast for the shadows.
Make a test strip insuring that the areas of greatest importance are included. Control density for highlight detail. Insure that there is texture and detail in the highlights. Once the highlights look good, analyze the shadow tones. Are they too light? If so, increase contrast by dialing in magenta and yellow according to the chart on the side of the printing stalls. (or change the Variable Contrast filter). Control contrast for shadow detail.
Dodge and burn areas as desired to control local contrast. Dodging is the process of preventing light from striking select areas of the print to cause that part of the image to appear lighter. Burning is the process of allowing additional exposure time to select areas of the print to cause that part of the image to appear darker.
Contrast: the difference in tone/brightness values between light and dark parts of the same print. Start with a number 2 filter in place (or the equivalent combination listed below when using a color head enlarger). This way, if you decide to change contrast you will not have to alter your exposure much or at all.
Processing the print: Each step in the development process is timed to insure adequate time for the chemical to have its affect on the paper while trying to minimize the time it sits in the solution to prevent the paper from absorbing unnecessary chemicals which will ultimately lead to a shorter print life. This is why it is important that you don’t leave your prints sitting in any of the chemical solutions for longer than they need to be.
Developer: 1 ½ minutes with gentle agitation. If there are multiple prints in the developer tray, then shuffle the prints by taking the bottom most print and putting it on the top of the pile. Keeping doing this until the time is up. Longer development times will lead to greater print density. It is very important that you are consistent in your print processing. Drain for 5 seconds.
Stop bath: 30 seconds with gentle agitation. Drain for 5 seconds.
Fixer: 5 minutes. Drain for 5 seconds.
Final water rinse: 10 minutes.
Drying: While still wet, take the print and insert it with the image facing up into the print dryer. Do not put any prints smaller than 5x7 into the print dryer. They may jam.