Easel color.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Dave Krueger, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Does anyone ever worry about light passing through the paper and reflecting back up from the easel to affect the print? I'm reading a book where the author says he uses a piece of black paper under the photographic paper in his easel just to be safe. He also mentions that some easels are black. Obviously, white easels would be the most prone to this problem.

    After thinking about it, I like the idea of a black easel. Maybe dark gray so I can see the black blades. My Saunders easel is yellow, so light of a wavelength likely to affect the paper tends to be absorbed, but black would be even better. The idea is that you should then stick a throw-away print in there, face down, while you are composing and focusing. The focusing would actually be more precise because it is the same thickness as the paper you're going to be using. Then you take out the throw-away and replace it with the actual paper you're going to expose.

    Any thoughts? Should I consider seeking professional counciling? Perhaps switch to better drugs? Start working out? Get a mistress?

    -Dave
     
  2. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I do not believe it is an issue. I did a test some time ago with black, white and silver under the photo paper. The white and black showed no difference with even the silver showing a barely detectable effect. The post is in this thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=15162. Not sure what effect colour paper may show, or if thinner b&w paper than the one I tested (MGIV-RC) was used.

    If I remember, I'll redo the test next time I am in the darkroom now that I have a densitometer...

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    The only time I ever use a black enlarging easel, is when I'm enlarging onto film.

    I don't think you will have any problem with a white easel. Remember that a white easel is a great aid to framing of your enlargement.

    As for the throw away piece of paper, I cannot remember the amount of times I have left a throw away piece of paper on the easel, placed another (unexposed) sheet and then scooped both sheets up and dropped them into the developing tray.

    I usually notice the second sheet, as I'm dropping the paper(s) into the tray.

    Mick.
     
  4. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I think it was in a Fred Picker instructional video... He cements a piece of enlarging paper to the bottom surface of the grain focuser. That way, there is no danger of forgetting to use a "dummy" in the first place, or removing the dummy piece of paper before the actual enlargement... or finding two pieces of paper on the easel after the enlarging exposure and not knowing which to process.

    That has worked well.
     
  5. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I have a white easel with black checkerboard markings on it; I've never experienced any problems with reflections.
     
  6. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    So Dave, do you play Chinese Checkers in the darkroom?

    Mick.
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Mick,

    Generally I'm too involved trying to produce something that looks like a photograph for such frivolity.

    Anyway, shouldn't you be in bed at this hour getting some beauty sleep?
     
  8. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Beauty sleep, bit past that stage!

    Actually, being self employed, I have a tendency to troll the APUG site late in the evenings after I have finished work, or a session in the darkroom.

    I also hit APUG before I start work, bit of a worry, eh?

    Mick.
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I vaguely remember long ago encountering problems with reflections from a white easel. It may have been with the light-weight paper Kodak made without the baryta layer. Speed-Ez-El claimed their change from white to non-actinic yellow was to prevent such a problem.
     
  10. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I know just what you mean Mick, I find I now need at least 3 hours solid sleep a night to keep the laughter lines at bay. As for the compulsion to view the chat here, well I can’t help there, as I suffer from that malady too.
    What’s that got to do with easel colour you may ask; nothing absolutely nothing?
     
  11. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    The problem with black easels is that you can't see the image on them without having a piece of paper in them. I have never experienced the problem with B&W papers whether the color was white or yellow.
     
  12. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Thanks!

    OK, I gather it's not a problem that is of concern to most people. The only way I can think of to test it would be to try a print with and without a piece of black paper behind the printing paper. I suspect I wouldn't notice any difference. I just needed a sanity check.

    Thanks for all the replies.

    -Dave
     
  13. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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  14. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Great! Glad to see the discussion. I never thought to put a pattern on the easel and see if the pattern is visible on a print. I will try that with no negative in the enlarger and expose a piece of paper for a medium gray. If I see the pattern on the paper after I develop it, then I'll know there's a problem. I can understand how white would be an issue, but all of my easels have a flat yellow color which should reduce the problem.

    When you think about it, the light that passes through the emulsion is also reflected to some extent by the bright white fibers of the paper all through the thickness of the paper. I guess the perfect paper would have a dark antihalation layer directly under the emulsion that turns bright white in developer. :D
     
  15. eric

    eric Member

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    Won't an easel color the same color as the safelight cancel out any color? I once had a "red'ish" piece of paper in the darkroom and I couldn't find it only to turn on the white light and see it. It didn't occur to me that the wavelength canceled it other out. (or am I just spacing out?)
     
  16. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    I assume that the yellow color is specifically meant to absorb all but "safe" wavelengths. I have no doubt that yellow is better than white.

    Paper thickness would be another factor. I print on Ilford MG IV these days, but I remember the old days when single weight paper was pretty thin. Some paper was even thinner, but I can't remember what they called it. Half weight?
     
  17. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    i have a black metal thing with marks fro 4x5 5x7 and 8x10 my easel is white but i put the paper on the black metal