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Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by John Bartley, Mar 22, 2005.
Woooo - Hoooooo !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ya' oughter see this one - it rocks !!!
John, good to hear that. Post it for us!
Hmmmm. I'm not sure, John. It almost looks like it was made in a pine contact frame.
So, two days ago I opened up an old box of AZO that I was given for free. I tried a few contact prints and was thoroughly disgusted by the result. They came out grey and mottled. I figured that it was "me" and my procedure. I read up on AZO for several hours trying to figure out what was wrong and came to the conclusion that I was doing everything "basically" correctly.
The dried prints appeared to have "stains" or "mould" on them, so yesterday I tried a couple of prints on paper from the centre of the package and while the results initially appeared to be great (resulting in my woo-hoo post), after they dried overnight, I found the same results only much less pronounced. I also found that after they have dried, the finish is flaking off the surface of the prints in little round dots. You'd almost think that they were dust specks causing the white spots except that for comparison, I did a couple of RC contact prints and they are completely different, no specks at all. I should have been warned that it might be no good as one side of the box was mouldy on the outside. The inside however looked ok. I know that mould travels and is pretty insidious stuff, so...I guess that's it.
I have to assume that I have come across a box of AZO which is ruined.
However, the prints (from the centre of the box) were good enough to show how nicely detailed the prints turn out, so....I guess I'll buy a package of new stuff and try again.
ps : Ralph - you were right
Too bad about the Azo paper having gone bad, John. But, it sounds like it was sufficient to get you interested in the medium.
Just to flog this poor dead horse a bit more...
...here's the best of the bunch and still pretty poor,
The snow and the sky are very grainy and in the other prints in the same directory, the graininess is very apparent. The amount varies from sheet to sheet.
AZO - best
#'s 5.jpg and 6.jpg are 'sposed to be identical, same exposure, development, the skys are horrible and not the same to boot
Even though they're so bad, there's a "life" about them that doesn't show on enlarged versions
John, the only time I've had trouble with azo, my fault. Fixer, not enough time, old fixer, incomplete washing, improper toning. Is all of your chemistry fresh? You might try once more with fresh chemistry for everything. Toner: KSRT use 1:20 for 3 minutes. Wash for an hour in still clean water if you don't have running water.tim
What are you using for developer? Have you been to this site for much information on printing on Azo? Check out the articles and the forums.
Thanks for the advice. I did go back and do two things. First, I mixed up a new batch of developer. I know that Amidol is the recommended developer, but it seemed a waste to buy it before getting at least a bit of experience with AZO first. I read the Kodak recommendations and used the PolymaxT that they list as a recommended developer. Mixing fresh developer didn't help I'm afraid. The second thing I did was change the light source. I bought an R40 85 watt flood, which is many watts less than recommded by Smith and Chamlee, but is closer to the 300 watt R40 temperature than what I was using. That pretty much solved the problem. I guess that the paper is quite blue sensitive, so using a lower temperature bulb was accentuating the lighter colours, particularly the greys and whites. Once I bumped up the temperature, the whites pretty much stayed white and the blacks got crisp.
So.....like your experiences, I guess the paper is ok (I think that now anyway), and the problem was my fault. (what else is new ? )
cheers and thanks
Thank you for the suggestion. I had previously read pretty much everything on the site, and had found a great deal of useable advice. I think the most valuable piece of info was the tip about which bulb to use. Getting closer to the correct temperature (frequency) range has gone a long way to solving my problems.
From my reading, AZO is a straight silver chloride emulsion, and as such is sensitive to the short end of blue and even more so to UV, but almost completely insensitive at the longer end of blue and into green. You might find a BL B fluorescent light source to be an improvement even over the higher temperature tungsten light you're now using, with an increase in speed as well as a further improvement in the quality of the image.
The good news is, you can use quite a bright yellow safelight, and have a very easy darkroom to work in...
The Kodak brochure in my azo box recommends Dektol 1:2 at 1 minute. There is a bit of a cold tone with dektol, but it works very well. Any developer will work, but some are better than others. For experimenting with azo, use what you have. If you decide you like it, get some amidol to really see its full potential.
As to light, I've used anything from a 25 watt bulb for very thin negatives on up. It's necessary to have an even light source, so make sure you have enough light to work at a distance which gives even illumination from the center to the corners. One thing which may prove useful, make sure you have a good, thick, beefy negative with azo. This seems to give better results than a thin one. Give plenty of exposure.
Get a 300 Watt R40 photo flood. It makes a lot of difference and will yield superior prints on Azo even from very thin negatives. I have one picture in my body of work which I expose for 3 clicks of the metronome on Grade 3 Azo (and I use a cadence of 80 bpm). This sucker is thin. The print glows like the Northern Lights.
I shall forge ahead....
...because after looking at these turdibly poor AZO prints, I did the same negative on RC perle and it's just not........gonna do anymore. Even the poor AZO's outshine the RC's by a long shot.
Donald, Tim and ???, thank you all for the good advice. I am going to persue a higher temperature light source (inexpensively of course, being a cheapskate), and learn some more. Once I'm happier with this, I'll mix some Amidol and see how badly hooked I get
Oh yeah - R40-300watt - I don;t have enough height over my printer frame to use this many lumens, so I'll examine teperature (frequency) first.