Paper negatives, 4x5" camera, and a 100 year old lens

I recently became the owner of an Intrepid 4x5 camera (red bellows mmm yeah!). It's a great lightweight camera for large format shooting. I do own a vintage Russian FKD 13x18cm and a 3 1/4x 4 1/4 Speed Graphic, but the Intrepid is fast becoming my favourite.

My research at the moment is using paper negatives. This involves cutting down photographic paper under red safelights to fit the camera I'm using. In this case 4x5" of course. I've been experimenting for some time, at some point I'll try to do a more explanatory post about my journey. For now, using paper negatives involves using photographic paper instead of film in the camera. It has a unique look and is actually a faster way of creating an image generally, as the development process is very fast. Exposure times can be quite long however.

To begin you start with finding a base ISO (Ilford MGIV in my case is 3 ISO). This will result in  a quite contrasty negative. Preflashing (or post, it doesn't seem to make a difference) will cut down on the contrast and give a faster speed to the paper (ISO 6 in my case). I preflash under my enlarger and have tested with test strips to get the amount of light JUST BEFORE any tone is registered on the paper, so that last possible fraction of a second of paper white. Once I've gone out and exposed the paper in my camera I develop it in paper developer that is only half normal strength and for a maximum of 1 minute. You dont want tones being too strong and contrasty. I actually like to pull my negs out even earlier if I can get away with it, as they'll have more of the textural uneven look I'm after.

Anyway, this post is about my new lens! I recently acquired a 100 year old lens in a shutter for my Intrepid. It was originally from a pretty basic folder camera. The results: Amazing! I've only had time to give a brief testing in the backyard just before the sun went down but I can't wait to try it some more. It's so exciting being able to give this old equipment new life.

Intrepid 4x5, Antique 130mm lens, Ilford MGIV paper negative, ISO 6 (post-flashed), 3 secs@f5