Accounting for Dry-down

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Sanjay Sen, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    I would be interested in hearing about how YOU account for dry-down when printing on FB papers. I've read of a number of ways of doing this - quick drying with a hair dryer or in the microwave, using a low-wattage bulb to view the test print, or doing a proper test to determine the dry-down factor.

    I employ the hair dryer route, and find that the current paper I am using requires very little to no dry-down. Someday when I can spend enough time in the darkroom, I would like to do a proper test as Les describes on his website.

    What do you do? Also, are there other ways to account for dry-down besides the ones mentioned above? Just curious...


    TIA.


    Best wishes,
    Sanjay
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I did the test and now it's just part of the process. Invest the time. It's a lot shorter in the long run than doing test prints and using a hair dryer every time. :smile:
     
  3. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I did a test with Ilford MGIV fiber using the info I read on Les's site and found that the dry down is about 8-10%----It only takes a little time to do the test as outlined by Les.
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I just got to know the paper I was using and could tell from the wet print what the dry print would look like...I assumed about a 10% dry down on the Portriga Rapid and Ilford Gallerie I was using at the time. Now I am dealing with platinum printing and carbon printing that have a greater dry-down than silver gelatin and I do the same.

    It is not that I am anti-testing, I just rarely do it...other than expose and develop negatives and make prints -- and pay attention to the results.

    Vaughn
     
  5. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    I am beginning to think it would be a good idea to devote some time and do the tests. :smile: Thanks guys!
     
  6. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I found the tests a waste of time. As part of my printing process, I dry the work prints in the microwave and then evaluate them for needed changes. I'm comparing dry print to dry print, which works better for me.
    juan
     
  7. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Ditto. I think in the long run its the easiest and best way.
     
  8. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I do it this way also, and I view the wet print under a light with moderately low wattage (40w) in the darkroom.

    Paul
     
  9. Skorzen

    Skorzen Member

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    I heard about the microwave technique from AA's book and that's what I did last time, worked well.
     
  10. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    But Juan, wouldn't it save time in the long run if you know the dry-down factor and avoid the wash-squegee-dry sequence? I understand you'd need to do the tests again with a different paper.
     
  11. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    One way to get a quick measure of possible dry down effect is to squeegee the water off the surface of the print. When the print is wet it reflects light differently than when the surface is dry and this can really help me if I need a quick look at possible dry down. I find hair drying slow and a waste of power, but when in doubt fully drying the print is the best way to go. I find the microwave can really effect the paper gloss, making the paper very glossy and thus throws off the dry down for me (on glossy all I use for fb). Hair drying seems to do the same thing to a lesser degree.

    Sometimes you can also look at a print at a stronger angle and it will also help show how the print may look when dry. I don’t know why but some technical person on here can probably explain it.
     
  12. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I don't think so. And I don't do a wash-squegee-dry sequence. In my darkroom, I have a large tray of water. I take the print from the fixer, dunk it in the water and swish it around for a few seconds. I have a few paper towels in the microwave, and pop the wet print on top for 50-seconds (8x10). I then stand the print up under my viewing light and I can compare the dry prints to one another as I make changes.

    I find this a much more reliable method to arrive at a final print than trying to evaluate a wet print and make a percentage change. It could be just me, though.
    juan
     
  13. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    how long does it take to dry a print in the micro wave before it burts into flames?
     
  14. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I just guess the effect now that I'm familiar with my main papers. I can get what I'm after without any trouble. I use a compressed air hose to dry a section of the test print to get an idea of the final density if it's really critical that I get it spot on.
     
  15. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Juan, I think I see what you are saying: what I currently do is a little different - from the fixer the paper goes to a print washer for five minutes, then I squegee it, and then dry it with a hair dryer. So, that's a total of at least 10-12 minutes. Your process probably takes a couple of minutes, so much faster than what I do now.

    Thanks for the inputs, guys.
     
  16. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Can RC paper be dried in the microwave, or will the resin "fry"?
     
  17. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

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    Use a hair dryer for RC. A microwave will cause it to blister and bubble.

    I have a microwave in my darkroom but I use it mostly to warm solutions. I have calibrated my print timer (RH Designs StopClock) for the papers I use. It has a dry-down compensation function built in that works great. I make my test strips with the compensation turned off. When I get a test that looks right wet, I turn on the compensation and the printing time will automatically be reduced by the percentage that I calculated during my calibration process.

    Dan
     
  18. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Now that sounds perfect.
     
  19. hywel

    hywel Member

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    I'm with Juan, except that I do squeegee and then it's only 30 secs in my microwave.
     
  20. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    Go to www.circleofthesunproductions.com Bruce Barlow has the articles he wrote for View Camera a couple years ago. He explains how to do a dry down test and lists the dry down factors for numerous papers (alas many are no longer available). While you are there, check out his book on CD "Finely Focused" well worth the $$.

    Personally, I use an old Zone VI drydown timer. Once the test is done and the dry down factor for the paper is known the rest is a breeze.

    Good Luck
     
  21. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Thanks John, for the article by Bruce. Unfortunately, the papers I use are not on that list. I'll need to do some tests with the paper(s) I use.
     
  22. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I also have one of those timers (compensating type for cold light intensity fluctuations) - good for mass production - but I always forget to reset the dial for the next (new) negative. I stopped using that function and rely only on the foolproof (more accurate, IMO) comparative method and microwave.

    I'm getting older and more forgetful. The truth is: the timer does correct for dry-down very accurately.