B&W Print - Depth of Tone & Colour

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by MurrayMinchin, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    After many months of reading, navel gazing, episodic bursts of darkroom activity and experimentation, my quest for a pleasing colour balance and richness of tone for my B&W prints has ended :smile:

    Everybody has a different answer to this of course, but here's mine;

    ------------------Ilford Multigrade IV FB glossy paper.

    I loved the look of Ansco 120 developer, but wanted the depth, richness, and keeping qualities of Glycin, so I came up with what I call;

    --------------------------12/15 Developer

    750 ml...............................Hot-ish Water
    12 grams............................Metol
    36 grams............................Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous)
    30 grams............................Sodium Carbonate (anhydrous)
    45 ml.................................Potassium Bromide (10% solution)
    15 grams............................Glycin
    Water to make 1 litre of Stock Solution (S.S.)
    Add 15 ml of 2% Benzotriazole per litre of S.S.

    12/15 S.S. properly contained will easily last a year.
    Dilute 1:3 for Working Solution (W.S.)
    Use at 70 to 72 degrees F...warm Glycin is happy Glycin.

    ----------------------------Developing Time

    Because I keep 12/15 W.S. for up to several months...depending how much it gets used...and because I want consistant print results over time I use the Emergence Time (E.T.) of the image in the developer, multiplied by a Development Factor (D.F.) to find development times.

    This developer has a slow image E.T. so I use the E.T. of the negatives clear edge multiplied by a D.F. of 4.5 for normal development. An E.T. of 40 seconds multiplied by a D.F. of 4.5 equals a developing time of 3 minutes. When the E.T. gets to about 48 seconds it gets tossed.

    Applying a larger D.F. doesn't result in an overall darkening of the image, but has proportionally more effect on the darker print values...a quality which I believe is unique to Glycin.

    ---------------------------------Stop Bath

    30 seconds water stop

    --------------------------Fixing - Toning - Washing

    60 seconds TF-3 alkaline first fix.
    20 seconds water rinse.
    60 seconds TF-3 alkaline second fix, then straight into;
    KRST 1:10 for about 3 minutes, or before it 'eggplants'.
    Water rinse till end of printing session.
    Wash for 1 hour.

    While nice seen in daylight from a north window, they come alive under a daylight / tungsten mix, or under tungsten light at night. Something happens when the higher print values reflect proportionally more warm light than the cool, deep shadows...and the middle values spring to life. They are nicer than my selenium toned prints made on the original Zone VI Brilliant.

    My quest is now at an end, and this post is like driving a sword into the heart of the dragon. Now for the grinding task of reprinting everything!

    (OOPS...edit) Diffusion lightsource...Zone VI variable contrast cold light.

    Murray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2006
  2. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    yeh right

    does it really make that much difference?

    can you actually see, compose and present an interesting image?
     
  3. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Oh Ray...why so surly? This forum is titled;

    "Enlarging
    Share your print making knowledge or ask for advice".

    To answer your comments...

    A) Thanks for agreeing...I think :smile:

    B) Make your best print in Selectol Soft, make your best print in Ansco 120 and compare...you now have taken the first step.

    C) Yup x 3...but not well enough to be close minded to the ways and views of others.

    Murray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2006
  4. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    There is always one...

    Almost anyone given enough film to shoot will come up with some interesting, and in cases, remarkable images. Some of these will even straight print quite well. Others can find great content in any number of things of the world and record them on film with exceptional clarity; conveying that to the print with adequate range and depth can be challenging. There are those who can do everything well, from concept through master print. I am one of those who inhabit the middle category. I am glad to see that one of the luminaries of the latter group come to comment so charitably on we mere mortals. Thanks Ray.

    Murray, thank you for sharing your process. I am about to embark on an Ansco/Formulary 130 adventure. It will be my first outside of Dektol/Selectol for paper. I can see that you have put a lot of thought into this, and that the Glycin is in greater amount. Perhaps this lends to the increased depth of the blacks? Once I get used to the 130, perhaps I will begin tinkering with the formula amounts as well.
     
  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Murray,

    Thanks for sharing the benefit of your experience.
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    This sounds like an interesting formula. I happen to have some glycin that I need to use up, so I will give your formula a try.
     
  7. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Jim,

    A word of warning...a whole lot of nothing happens for the first minute, not much in the second, but things really kick into gear during the last minute.

    Murray
     
  8. John Simmons

    John Simmons Member

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    How about posting an image developed in this creation of yours. I love to see the effects of different developers on print tone. Thanks for posting.

    John
     
  9. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Sorry :sad: hand-me-down computer, no printer, and no scanner.

    Murray
     
  10. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    hey guys, sorry to present as surly and superior, i keep forgetting that in general the posters here care little for considerations of what makes good art/photography/imaging
     
  11. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    You know Ray, I would probably not dignify what seemingly is a passive aggessive comment other then that I was a recipient of your thinly veiled aggression on a photograph that I posted.

    I have taken the time to view those images that you have posted. I think that perhaps you might benefit from critiquing your own work before you assume the position of judging the value of work by others. Just my opinion.
     
  12. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    There's obviously some history sufracing here..... I, for one am very appreciative of Murray detailing his findings. The willingness of the members here to share their knowledge and information so openly is the reason I initially subscribed to APUG.
     
  13. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    you guys still don't get it

    you post endlessly about how to print well but make no attempt to consider the larger 'picture', you then get defensive when a 'newbie' dares to express a contrary view

    as for the thinly veiled aggression, the thinly veiled part was my temerity in asking why do you not grace us with your best/final work

    and yes, i do critique my own work, constantly, we all should, constantly

    if you don't like my work tell me, and explain why, hell i'm always hoping to learn something

    have the balls to put yourself out there, shit, i do
     
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  15. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    12/15

    Murray-while it is all well and nice that a new formula for papers and films appear here on a regular basis I see no real advantage to Glycin developers at all. Especially with a paper like Ilford Multigrade IV. This is one of the least flexible papers made today. With the right negative and lighting during exposure the paper comes into its own. Seriously-you're willing to tell us that some "magical" quality suddenly appeared because of this elixir?
    I happen to have a friend who owns a chemical supply house right down the road from me. I've been compounding homebrew formulas for well over ten years now. Fact; it is the paper and the inherent qualities of that particular paper which are the deciding factors for print quality. I used Glycin on Forte and at first thought it was the holy grail. It wasn't. Zone VI developer works just as well. Glycin is also a dirty developer around the darkroom. True it probably lasts longer but it's all relative. Cost vs. Utilization. Now if you were going to discuss Ilford Gallerie; a paper which can be manipulated in oh so many ways by developer use then I believe we have a discussion. I've done it so I know firsthand. And lately have gone back to using this exact paper but with Amidol and a waterbath. Not because the blacks are any better but for ease of use and the incredible longevity of the tray life during the printing session. You see the blacks in the Gallerie are aleady incredibleit's IN THE PAPER. I've tried all kinds of formulas on all kinds of papers and the results are usually the same. Modern papers do not react all that differently in different developers. They have been optimized for use with D72 type developers because that's what the public wanted. Ease of use and repeatability. Whether that is a fortunate or unfortunate situation I'm not the one to say.
    So here's what I propose. You send me a print on your paper and I'll gladly send you a print on the Gallery. If I see it then I'll believe it....
    Photographers should spend more time perfecting their art than trying to find the magic bullet...I've done both and much prefer the latter.
    In closing I just want say that Murray may have made a wonderful developer which works for him. My post is much more directed at the "newbies" who are looking for ways to improve their printing. That part is easy; go find one of the master printers and do a workshop with them.The Sextons and the Barnbaums of the world use the LEAST exotic developers around. That $500-$1000 dollars you give away will reward one in so many ways. Most of all in time and monies spent at later dates...
    Best, Peter
     
  16. Kobin

    Kobin Member

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    "Photographers should spend more time perfecting their art than trying to find the magic bullet...I've done both and much prefer the latter."

    You really prefer the former, yes?
     
  17. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    OK

    Right...I mixed it up after my long winded post...
    Peter
     
  18. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Just a Thought...

    It occurs to me that there are a number of different paths to arrive at the same destination. Looking around in the postings, we have those that Zone, BTZS, average, use sensitometry, densitometry, stand, semi-stand, etcetera.

    When anyone asks a simple question about FP4 in D76, the woodwork comes alive with those extolling the virtues of PMK Pyro-HD, D23, HC110, Rodinal, Pararodinal, Xtol, Diafine, Neofin, Perceptol, Ilfosol, Ilfotec, Microphen, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Good film for a particular purpose? Good Paper? Best lens? AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH......

    Maybe Murray has been sniffing too much Edwal negative cleaner. Maybe not. Maybe there are too many elitists. Maybe not. But the bottom line is that we are all here to share what we are doing, how we do it, and offer the results as testimony of our craft (or lack thereof). Me, I'm sick of D72 based developers. Michael and Paula have tailored some concoction of Amidol to their purposes. Maybe you naysayers should PM them and tell them to get with the program and use something a little more conventional. Then their prints could be better. Just a thought.... :D
     
  19. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Peter, thanks for your post.

    I agree with you about Ilford Galerie...it's a beautiful paper and was the one I switched to after Zone VI 'improved' Brilliant with Brilliant II and changed the contrast. I also agree with you that a graded paper like Galerie is much more flexible in the developer than Multigrade IV, and I also used to extend developing times or use Zone VI developer and Selectol Soft in combination to get intermediate grades of contrast.

    I switched to variable contrast paper when I began using masking techniques, because (and this is purely a personal choice) I felt I gained a level of control I couldn't with graded papers. The combination of sharp and unsharp masks in concert with variable contrast gives me so many choices, sometimes I find it overwhelming.

    When I started printing I used what Ansel used, rationalizing if after all his years of experience those were the equipment, techniques and materials he had chosen, that if my prints sucked it could only be because of me, and not any other link in the chain. For those just starting out, there's probably no better way (aside from a workshop or appreniceship) than to find out and use the equipment, materials and techniques of the photographers they most respect.

    Finding this combination of paper, developer, and toner is all based on touchy-feely, interpretive, emotional stuff...nothing you can plot on a graph. I liked Ansco 120...I felt Ansco 130 had too much 'snap & sizzle' for my tastes...I liked the keeping qualities of Glycin...so why not shuffle the deck and make a developer of my own, to suit my work and my way of seeing?

    All I know is I've made my choice, am confident in it, and can start reprinting everything without any doubts whispering in the dark.

    Send me a PM with your address and I'll mail you a print.

    Murray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2006
  20. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    PM

    Murray-PM sent
    Peter
     
  21. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Murray's taking a little too much flak for being willing to share his hard work. He found something that works for him, and shared the results. It doesn't follow that something else might not work just as well. So what.

    Print color is important; and developers, fixers, stop baths...can have a significant effect on this, especially if toning is done.

    Ray apparently thinks that technical excellence, and the work required to get it, is unimportant, or at the least that it shouldn't be discussed without delving into the murky waters of what counts as good art. Bull. There are plenty of venues for that, including various threads here on APUG. My experience is that these aren't very enlightening.

    Ray, if you don't like technical discussions, don't participate in them. Start a thread called "Ray's Profound and Illuminating Thoughts on the Nature of Art". I'm sure that it'll be riveting reading. Butting in and blasting away is not only rude it's a waste of time.

    Let's reverse this. Say you start the thread suggested above, and you write a well thought out essay that clearly took a lot of time to come to, but you don't mention anything about technique. Suppose then that someone, much like you, comes in and says something like: "Sheesh! All you people do it talk about the nature of art! What a waste! You haven't even considered the technical requirement of an excellent image! Think about, say, cello players. Do they spend more time gazing into their navel ruminating about what makes excellent music, or do they spend most of their time becoming technically proficient? The latter, of course. You losers clearly don't have the chops to make excellent images, and so all of your pontification regarding the nature of art is a waste of time!"

    The correct answer is that both artistic vision and technical ability are important, and one should be able to discuss one without having to also write a treatise on the other.
     
  22. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I want to repeat what I said earlier. Murray, I thank you for sharing the results of your experiences.
     
  23. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Speak for yourself.
     
  24. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Peter - I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Murray
     
  25. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    No worries at this end Donald :smile:

    It's not like I told anybody to change their methods or that 12/15 was better than ABC-whatever developer...just that it worked for me.

    Murray
     
  26. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    REDO POST

    I want to make a public apology to Murray. My overly aggresive tone in my original post was not called for or needed. I for one am going to try his formula-and not so that I can return to make negative comments. ANY and ALL contributions to this site should be welcomed. We all have much to learn-my self included.
    Peter