Dry down compensation

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Paul, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Paul

    Paul Member

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    Hi,

    I was wondering what measures people take to compensate for dry down when printing. It seems to me that it is more of an issue with alternative processes than with silver given the nature of the paper.

    I primarily do kallitypes and palladium and I often end up with a print in the wash that I am very pleased with but when I examine it the next morning after it has dried, it is too dark. I know the answer is technically simple: underexpose with the dry down in mind, but is there a reliable way to do this? Has anyone figured out an appropriate viewing light, for example, that one could use to appraise a wet print so that it looks the same as it would once it is dry?

    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  2. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Paul,

    The most straight forwrd way to do this to print a step tablet. Count the number of discrete steps from DMAX to DMIN while the print is wet. Then let the print dry normally (don't use a micro-wave or hair dryer for example.) After the print dries count the number of steps again. The difference in steps will allow you to determine the amount of exposure compensation.

    You can also use a microwave or a hair dryer but i found that this will give a little different results than letting the print air dry.

    With silver gelatin, if you use the same paper and developer and toner, after a while you will be able to make judgements about print density while the print is wet. This is what I call having dry down eyes. I judge the look of the highlights while the print is wet.

    When working on finished prints I usually let the prints air dry over night and make a judgement the next day, so keep good notes of what you do so you can make exposure adjustments as needed the following day. This also applies to changes in contrast. Sometimes the changes can be so subtle only you will notice the difference!

    Oh and one more thing. Make your vieing decisions with a consistent light source, using the same illumination and viewing conditons every time. Don't try to make critical decisons when you are tired.

    Good luck,
     
  3. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Varnish helps to some extend to compensate the dry-down effect. Many people don't like it, because it alters the matte paper surface, but it helps to bring out shadow tones. The question, by the way, is not only one of becoming darker as such, as the dry print effectively looses contrast in the shadow, and the darkest zone, which appeared with luminous shadow detail in the wet print, tends to become obscured. This is what the printer in my opinion primarily has to keep in mind: the issue is not exposure time alone, but also contrast.
     
  4. Paul

    Paul Member

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    Thanks guys. Useful information.
     
  5. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    HEllo Paul,

    Once I get the print the way I want it looking in the tray wet. I than back off 8-15% from my time depeneidn git it has lots of highlights or little and use a hair dryer to dry to print. This let me get an idea of how it looks dry. I than match the dry one to the wet one.

    Kev
     
  6. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Check out "Dealing With Dry Down by Les McLean" in the Apug articles.
    I think the path is, community>articles>how to
     
  7. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Member

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    Hello Paul,

    The best method I've found is to print a full scale image that you're fairly familiar with printing getting it to look exactly like you want it to when wet, set this aside in a tray of clean water, then, make several subsequent prints backing off the time by some increment; say, maybe, 2 - 3%. Dry all test prints as you normally would and compare to the wet one--whichever matches wins. Don't worry about the low values or overall tonal range...the high values up to and including Zone IX are the ones you'll be looking at. When you find the dry print that matches the wet one you've got your dry-down percentage.

    All that said, though, you'll find that this percentage doesn't always work for all images. Many times I back off just a bit more and, when dry, the print really sings! If you happen to have one of the old Zone VI cold light controllers, you simply dial in the percentage and print away.

    Good luck.