HELP!! fixing lumen prints....

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by irakononenko, May 21, 2014.

  1. irakononenko

    irakononenko Member

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    Hello! Can anyone tell me please how can i fix lumen prints without loosing those beautiful colors?
    First time I've tried to fix with Tetenal Super fixer (which is the fixer i use for film and it works really good) it bleached a bit the image and lost color turning ligt brownish, second time i tried to fix with sodium thiosulfate (about 100g/1Liter) but it affects the same way the image as tetenal... so, these are my questions:
    -am I doing someting wrong?
    -how many time do i need to get the image correctly fixed with sodium thiosulfate and wich is the correct proportion to mix?
    -Is outhere any better fixer i can use for it?
    -what about toning the image? before or after fixing?

    I´ll appreciate all your help. thanks.
     
  2. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I don't think you are doing anythign wrong.

    Lets hope mr nanian comes along to give you all the right answers , but in the meantime, I found that lumen prints always seem to bleach quite a lot from fixing, and that odd as it may seem, toning before fixing is better. Most things I have read suggest gold toning works best, but gold toner is so expensive.
     
  3. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    I'm inclined to scan my print before I fix it as the colour changes as soon as it goes into it. But the after fix print usually has a brighter colour and the details stand out a bit more. So I get two prints for each effort (of course one copy is a digital one only). I've yet to try toning my results.
     
  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would suggest Vincent has given you the best option.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2014
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sadly not many of my lumen-type prints made it past the scan or the fix
    true ephemera! :sad:

    but i do know someone who gets spectacular results ... i will pm and see if he can answer your questions -
    john
     
  6. irakononenko

    irakononenko Member

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    would be really nice to get those colors fixed into the paper without any digital tecnology, i use photoshop almost every day and recently i started to read about aqncient techincs which i wanted to tried becouse is a "handicrafts thing", i've wasted a lot of paper, i've got the perfect fix with Tetenal superfix but not with sodium thiosulfate (bleach and/or fade, colors dessapear and difficult to wash away). my fixer stabilizes the image but cant retain thye colors) and still better than famous sodium thiosulfate? thats why i still thinking im doing something wrong! i would love to have some advice on chimestry, please!
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you might try with a dilute solution of sodium thioslfate ... and add 10% sodium carbonate
    so for 100cc ad 10cc of carbonate... print it dark to compensate, it will lighten

    i usually make images with a camera, photogram or film negative .. not quite the same
    as "traditional" lumen print ... and i have gotten images to be sort-of light safe with a very weak hypo bath with carbonate
    but they still lighten ...... caffenol with a TON of carbonate works as a weak-pre-bath sometimes too ...

    i can't say if your colors will be stable ...
     
  8. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Depending on what kind of paper you use, the image might be strengthened by a self-limiting development just in alkali solution. With MGIV and Adorama house brand VC papers, it is roughly 2oz water + 1/4t carbonate ( washing soda ) + 1/2t to 3/4t bicarbonate ( baking soda ). The paper will appear to fog but the fog will clear in normal strength rapid fixer. You will get a partial development that will complete in about 15 seconds... the amount of development depends on how alkali the solution is. If it is too alkali, you'll get fog that doesn't clear ... below that a weaker image. A few minutes of playing around with the dilution will get you to the optimum. ( start with just water + carbonate then add the bicarbonate a little at a time while paying attention to the results.. you can do this all under weak incandescent light. )

    Sadly, this works to preserve the image at nearly the original darkness, but the colors still shift. MGIV gets a rather ugly greenish tinge to it if the solution is too weak, warm browns if it's about right. This approach can preserve a solargraph or an in-camera retina print like John makes.

    I'm about to start experimenting with sodium thiocyanate, which supposedly preserves the color in chromoskedasic prints. I'm mainly going to try it on salt prints but I'll try it on some lumen prints too. I'll report back here in this thread if it looks promising at preserving color. Maybe this weekend...

    Good luck! The only thing I've read is what pdeeh mentioned: gold toning prior to fixing, and my impression is that you still get color shift, just a more colorful result in the end!
     
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  9. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I have tried several procedures, as I too hate to loose all the neat colors some lumen prints have. I have found several things that seem to work well, and different papers and exposures need different processing. Unfortunately, a lumen print is a one of a kind, and you may improve it or ruin it. So here some things to try -
    1. The type of paper makes a big difference. I find old papers which seem to give better results. Agfa papers from the 60's and 70's are especially nice. Old Kodak Polycontrast is good, as is old Unicolor (B&W) papers. Of more recent papers, I've had good results with Adorama VC RC papers.
    2. Leave the print out in the light much longer than you think necessary. When the fixer fades/lightens it, it will still be richer.
    3. After exposure, treat the paper with very dilute developer. I dilute Dektol 6:1 or 8:1, and treat the paper for a minute or less.
    4. Try Chromoskadasic processing before fixing. This can really make some things bright. You may want to try this with just a little developer treatment as in item 3.
    5. Sepia toning, either before or after fixing, or both gives interesting results.
    6. I've had some good results with Rockland Colloid Polytoner used carefully.

    The biggest factor seems to be the paper though. There's something about the old paper that new papers don't provide. I don't know if it's the amount of silver, different chemistry, age, or a combination of all three. We have an old photo store that had a lot of really old unsold paper of various brands which I bought for $1 a box. It had never been in a cooler, just sitting on a shelf. If you try to make a conventional print with any of it, it is fog city! For lumen prints, it's great.

    Hope this helps a bit.
     
  10. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    that's interesting, but I thought it would only work if there is a developer incorporated into the emulsion (which few or none new papers do, surely)?
    Not denying what you're saying, Ned, just don't understand how it might work,
    I'd try it myself but the sun is apparently retiring for a few days over here ...

    (Also do you mean 20oz rather than 2oz? I think 2oz would just be a small puddle in the bottom of the tray :wink:)
     
  11. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I use 2 oz and swirl it around in a jar for 5x7 size... 4 oz for 8x10 size. You could scale up to use in a tray once you figure out the pH.

    Whether or not there is any incorporated developer, I don't know. There is some component of the emulsion that acts like developer even if that is not the main purpose of it. And it exhausts quickly, before development is complete... that's a "feature" we can use to our advantage to get a little development without having it run away and turn the paper completely black. I've only tested MGIV and Adorama VC RC, and don't know how general this is or if it would work with other papers. I have a stack of solargraphs I fixed more than a year ago and they are still fine.

    I am very happy just having a preserved negative image with all the details still there... color shift DID happen. So this doesn't solve the OPs problem!
     
  12. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    This thread might be relevant too. You can also purchase the ammonium thiocyanate stabilizer from Freestyle already made. I'm going to try NaSCN.
     
  13. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I'll just reanimate this thread to note that I've been following Wolfgang Moersch's photostreams on Ipernity and Flickr recently, and he's been posting a series of lumen prints, some gold toned and some not, but all fixed with Ammonium thiocyanate ... and they look fantastic.

    There are colour shifts between the fixed and unfixed, but the colours remain vivid and beautiful

    (He's also been showing chromoskedasic Sabatier prints - equally beautiful, by the way - and he's selling stabiliser & activator for that process from his shop; and of course the stabiliser is ... Ammonium thiocyanate)