The last time I processed B&W prints myself was in the summer of 1982. I had done photos of the wedding party at our wedding reception. But I soon dismantled my darkroom and sold the equipment that was at my parents house after we got married. I did some photo processing at the photo studio I worked for in 1980’s until they moved their studio and didn’t reassemble the lab. From the late 1980’s up to 2003, when I went all digital, I had all my film processed and printed by commercial labs.
My darkroom is now fully functional and I have used it to process film and print photos. On my first venture back to those days gone by, I chose a few negatives that ranged from thin to dense to get back into the printing process. Printing the negatives of the “Road Closed” and cornfield with the Sandias in the background were particularly challenging because of the large ranges between light and dark — these photos were taken in heavy rain while the sun was shining (a New Mexico phenomenon).
In the last version of the “Road Closed” photo, I accidentally exposed the back side of the paper and noticed nothing was happening in the developer, so I rinsed the paper, squeegeed it off, and then exposed the emulsion side of the paper. After developing it again, there was a ghost image from the exposure on the backside of the paper that makes it look like I picked up a reflection in glass.