Though my photography class is still frustratingly hands-off and non-visual (dude...at least throw some slides in if you're just going to lecture), it feels good to produce some tangible and visual results which I'll share.
Outside of contact sheets, these were the first prints I actually made and the key lesson here was to use 3 different filters in the enlarger to produce 3 prints of the same photograph. The end result is varying degrees of contrast.
20 second exposure on the enlarger
18 second exposure on the enlarger
25 second exposure on the enlarger
So it's easy enough to see the difference the filter makes, but this also became a lesson in margins and focusing. The assignment asked for 6x9 photos on 8x10 paper. I don't know if the easels were just crap or what, but if you look close enough, the margins are all off and to top it off the #5 isn't completely in focus (click on it; you'll see)...things that could be possibly helped by the presence of an instructor. This is what winds up sidetracking me in the darkroom for 4 hours because if these things are off, you have to reprint it...and this is where digital has me spoiled because the amount of time it takes to see if you did that adjustment correctly is just insanely long compared to using a slide rule in photoshop. Grr.