SIQ - How can I make black-and-white prints from my color slides?

A - By making a black-and-white copy negative from which prints can be made. The negative can be made on 35-mm finegrain film or enlarged onto 4-by-5 sheet film, depending on how good a copy negative you need. For your personal collection, 35 mm may do; for reproduction, sheet film will give you a larger image, and you can burn and dodge in for more correction.

The big problem is controlling contrast. Try overexposing for shadow detail and underdeveloping to hold back the high-lights, just as in normal black-and-white photography.

For 35-mm copies use Panatomic X at half its rated speed - ASA 20 instead of ASA 40. For the 4-by-5 sheet film use Super XX, at half of its normal ASA 125. Follow the same technique for development. You can use D-76 1:1 for both and halve the development time. These guidelines are only approximate, since each transparency is different. Increase or decrease as needed.

To copy a 35-mm slide on black-and-white film you'll need a micro-closeup lens, a bellows or - cheapest - a copying tube attachment (such as Spiratone makes). The light source can be either daylight which you can meter right through the lens, or a small strobe. If you choose the strobe light, make a series of exposures at different f-stops. I use a small small strobe at f-stops from f-16 to f-32, depending on the transparency.

The technique for sheet film is basically the same as making an enlargement on print paper. Put the slide in the enlarger, dull side (emulsion) up, and focus on a 4-by-5 piece of printing paper with safelights on. Then remove the paper and, in complete darkness, place the sheet film on the easel, being sure it's dull side (emulsion) up. The explosure should be about two seconds at f 16. You can dodge and burn in just as you would with paper, and use filters for better tone separation just as you would in taking black-and-whites of the original scene: that is, a light yellow filter will improve foliage detail and darken the sky; for more dramatic effects you can even use orange and red filters.