First lith printing session - mixed results....help!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Mark Fisher, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I can see how people can get both frustrated and addicted to lith printing. I tried a couple of images and I'd be well on my way to addiction except for one problem.
    I'm using Forte polywarmtone and finding that that I have lighter colored streaks with some fairly well defined edges. It almost looks like something was laid down on the paper for about half the exposure. A scan is attached. I've used this box of paper for regular printing and it was fine. Earlier in the session I was printing another negative with Forte neutral paper (and fresher developer) and I did not have the problem. My first thought is that it is the paper, but it could also be something about my process. I was very careful not to touch anything to the paper surface. It would be a shame if it was the paper since I like the results otherwise. Any thoughts?

    Thanks -- Mark
     

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  2. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    Are you letting the print sit in the developer for any length of time without agitation?
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I agree with Travis, looks like agitation. Forte PWT has worked well for me for Lith.
    However, some people have reported quality and consistency problems with Forte papers, especially the in their final round of production. But, if your other prints from that package are OK, then it may more likely be your processing. Maybe exhausted developer?
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    The only time I might have stopped agitating is to move another print to the fix or something like that...maybe 10 seconds? I am using an 8x10 tray for 8x10 paper. Maybe more developer in a bigger tray?
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Mark
    this looks like problems that I get if I do not agitate the print immediately in the stop bath, and or the stop bath is weakend at the end of a day,
    Since lith pull time is within seconds it makes sense that if your print is not immediately stopped the dev will keep on going.
    I now us a strong stop bath with lots of chemicals in the tray for this very problem.
    Bob
     
  6. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    I think Bob and the others are on to something. Use a little bit bigger tray if you can with some more chem. Mix in a little "old brown" from a previous session into your "fresh" lith dilution. Aged solutions generally do better.

    Agitate reasonalby constantly and use plenty of stop bath. Go straight into the stop from the developer, don't let it drain over the tray like you might for regular developer. Get it in and under quick and agitate for a 10 or 20 seconds in the stop.
     
  7. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Hello Mark
    I think this is a technique problem, not a paper problem. PWT lith prints beautifully.

    It might be uneven development if you left the print unattended. Prints tend to float up to the surface and parts lie out of the developer (also true of fixer etc) and processing will be uneven. If you must leave a print, turn it face down, but not for long. If you have a shallow solution the extra depth in the troughs of the dish will cause even processing.

    More likely I think is the stop bath as Bob suggests.

    If the stop is too weak or too used it cannot stop quickly and evenly, especially if not agitated swiftly and fairly enthusiastically. Remember, with lith you don’t process to completion as with regular B&W. Development is still progressing when you move into stop.

    If the stop is very strong it can also cause flow marks, especially if your technique is a bit casual. I see this in workshops sometimes if someone reaches across somebody and tosses a print into (onto) the stop bath, instead of moving around them as snatch point approaches. The print belly flops onto the stop and flow marks show where some areas stop quicker than others. The print should be immersed swiftly and agitated at once. Some older papers, notably
    Sterling Lith paper, were prone to flow marks if the stop bath was too strong anyway.

    If you develop evenly with constant agitation and use fresh normal strength stop bath, again immersing quickly and agitating immediately, I think your problem will probably disappear.

    Best wishes
    Tim
     
  8. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Thanks all. I'll go back and use 11x14 trays for the developer and stop and make doubly sure I maintain constant agitation. I think the problem is in the developer. Perhaps I'll also try pouring in the developer after I put the paper in the tray to assure that I get it under the solution right away and evenly. I've done that with Pt printing and it worked well.

    Thanks all -- Mark
     
  9. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    Hello Mark
    I would agree with the above, but it's also worth pointing out that that some papers really need to be placed in the developer as evenly as possible and agitation started right away. If you see the developer splash over the white sheet of paper as it is inserted, there's a good chance you will get streaky marks. Best to work out the method which suits you. With larger sheets, I often lift the nearest edge of the tray up about 20-30 degrees, place the far edge of the print in the far end of the dev tray at about 45 degrees, ( I trust there is a nice white border on the print), and then quickly lower the tray down and hopefully the dev will flow over the print in an even fashion. Continuous, even agitation then hopefully follows. Good looking print otherwise. Shame about Forte going.
    Best wishes
    Mike
     
  10. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    PS. I forgot to say that if you pour the developer over the print from a jug, it may cause more problems with splashes and areas starting to develop too quickly.
    Mike
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am not sure what this means about pouring the developer over the print in the tray???
    Mark are you using a single tray method for this work???
    If so I can see the lag time between dev and stop will be a nightmare to control.
    just a bit confused.
     
  12. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    No, I am working from a set of trays. I just thought I might be able to get the developer to cover the print more quickly and evenly if I did that. Sandy King recommends that approach for platinum printing. After developing, I'd pour it back into a container to get ready for the next print. From Mike's comments, I think I'll try his method first.
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    For lith printing I would not use a pour on technique but rather use lots of chems in an over size tray and immerse the print quickly and agitate very quickly for the first 15 seconds of development to make sure you have covered the emuslion.
    I would also transfer the print when you think and agitate for the first 15 seconds in the stop. this is an explosive dev process and timing is of major importance. There should be no wait times as with normal silver or platinum printing.
    What you are most likely seeing is developer continuing before it is properly stopped.

     
  14. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    I endorse what both Mike and Bob say here. The jug method has some advantages in Pt pehaps but for lith I would suggest using a large tray, large volume and slide in the print evenly and quickly.
    If you are using dilute developer and long dev times (say 15 to 25 mins) the entry phase is not too critical!
    Tim
     
  15. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    The upper defect you have circled is well-defined and lighter than the surroundings. Is there any chance at all that this is on the negative? Just for giggles, if you ever pull that neg out again print a little test strip of that area at high contrast and see if it's still there.
     
  16. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Definitely not. I had similar problems but in different areas. I have not got back into the darkroom yet to give it another go yet, but I will either tomorrow or over the weekend.

    Thanks for all the advice folks -- Mark
     
  17. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I ran into this with Polywarmtone in LITH AND regular developer. I used to place my prints into the dev tray emulsion side down for the first 30 seconds and then flip the print. It was something that I was taught from the beginning to make sure of even print development. I am using 15 year old plastic paterson trays, and this could still happen. I am firmly of the belief that the molding sprue at the center of the tray is the culprit. If there is even the faintest piece of plastic sticking up, it could rub the the emulsion and cause these marks. After I changed my technique to put the paper into the dev emulsion side up, no problems like this have ever occurred since. I am not sure what make your trays are, or your processing technique was, but this certainly solved mine.