HELP!! What is the opposite of spotting?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by tequilabong, May 13, 2009.

  1. tequilabong

    tequilabong Member

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    Well, I had some critters on my film when exposing....By critters, I mean dust, etc.....

    What is the best way to remove the black little specs from a fiber print? I remember with RC you can use bleach, but I remember that does not work with fiber.....

    I have my first show on Friday and I need to clean up a few prints.

    I think one can take an Exacto knife and actually remove part of the emulsion?? Is that a proper way to acheive this??

    Or, is anything available that is like the opposite of spotpens>

    Thanks.

    Gordo
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    you can take some tinture of iodine from the drugstore, a tooth pick and care, remove black specs. you have to re-fix then spot.

    they do make or did make a set of pens that was suppose to do that very thing, but we had a set at school and found them useless.
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Well, its easier to deal with white spots than with black spots, but there are some options -

    1. Knifing is the Limey term for etching away black spots with an Xacto knife or scalpel. It does work, but it leaves a defect in the surface of the print. If you use a textured surface paper, the defect is less obvious. Another solution is to either wax or varnish the print after it is finished. Both are practices that are not widely done any more, and finding both the materials and someone to teach you how to do it without ruining good prints would be a challenge.

    2. You can also bleach the spots, and then spot them back to match the surrounding area. That's also a both tedious and dodgey. I've used toothpicks that I've sharpened with sandpaper to a very fine point, and then soaked in ferricyanide to bleach small black spots with some limited success.

    3. Black spots on the print are caused by clear spots in the negative. If you are working with larger negatives, a very good option is to carefully apply a tiny spot of dye to the non-emulsion side of the negative over the white spots. Then, when you print, they will no longer be white. I use Dr. Martin's magenta liquid water color dyes for this much like spotting dyes would be used on a print - the fact that it's magenta means that it acts like a high-value multigrade printing filter and increases local contrast at the point where the dye is applied - that helps make the effect on the print less obvious. It's hard (actually, impossible) to get exactly the right dye density, so it's likely that you will end up having to spot the print a bit to compensate for too much dye on the negative.

    4. Finally, another solution is to print down the area where the black spots are located so that they aren't as obtrusive. That doesn't make them go away - they are just less obvious when they are in a darker field than when they are in a lighter field. Of course, Murphy's Law says that they will be in the sky where you are going to want to maintain gentle separation of the high values - which means that you are back to one of the other three solutions.
     
  4. Don12x20

    Don12x20 Member

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    Best way is to add density to the negative so that the black spots don't occur.

    But you have prints - and you need a (presume you are working in silver) silver reducer.

    Get hold of some potassium ferricyanide, a fine point brush and some non-rapid non-hardening fixer. apply the ferricyanide sparingly and dip back into fixer. You'll eventually make white spots, which can be retouched.

    Yes, with an exacto knife, you could thin the black spot to match the surrounding denisty...but you'll leave some obvious holes in the emulastion surface. Looks bad...

    Oh, Potassium ferricyanide used to be sold in small amounts by Kodak under the "Farmers Reducer" label.
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Good comments, but careful, potassium ferricyanide and Farmers Reducer are not the same. Farmers already contains fixer. I find it easier to use ferri and fix, ferri and fix, ferri and fix... However, I have never tried to remove black spots with ferri. It seems to me that this might take a lot of patience to work. The simplest way is to add density to the negative as mentioned by Monophoto and Don. There was a product called 'Perfect Opaque', which is ideal for this, but regular spotting dyes applied to the negative will work as well. You could even apply drafting ink to to the negative (not the emulsion side, please).
     
  6. kompressor

    kompressor Member

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    The FR from Kodak i have is a two solution stock after mixing. I use Part A on prints to bleach, thats Ferrocyanid. When bleaching larger areas og negatives i use it mixed as told by Kodak on the label. B&H sells FR
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Potassium ferricyanide must never be used alone! One must refix the print after using it, otherwise the silver left in the emulsion, which will eventually ruin the print.
     
  8. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Kodak sold a product called "Opaque (black)". I picked up a bottle couple years ago at a now defuct camera store; but haven't tried it yet. Have tried a pencil with an Adams Machine, but only marginal success.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    IMO, spotting the negatives to raise density, then spotting the resulting light area on the print is the much less "hairy" approach. It is slow, but very safe. It worked very well the times I have done it. It is time consuming and tedious, but worth it, with etching or digitization being the ugly alternatives. I have used both spot tone and soft graphite taken from an artist's pencil, applied with rounded-over toothpicks of various thicknesses. Spot tone is easier to be precise with, but graphite blends better. I used both together and got better results than I expected...that's for sure. Don't be discouraged by an ugly looking negative. The goal is not to make the neg look perfect, but to make it into a negative that creates a print that can be repaired.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2009
  10. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    You certainly can bleach a fiber base print, and solve this problem with bleach.
    you just have to make sure that you don't use harder in the fix before bleaching. I often bleach these black flecks for people in my lab.

    a second option is using a small amount of photographers opaque or Indian Ink
    on the negative where the small spot is. this then renders the spot white and is easier to spot if you don't want the hassle of bleaching.
     
  11. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Although I would also prefer to first retouch the negative and then spot the print, I have found etching to be a very good tool for removing very small dark defects in the print that would be difficult to deal with on the negative. These include lint and hair marks, which are often too thin to deal with on the negative as well as very small dust specks.

    I have a selection of surgical scalpels and blades. You can get them from surgical supply stores. I imagine Xacto blades would work well too, but have never tried them.

    I use an 8x loupe, and, while watching very carefully, gently scrape the emulsion with the curved part of the scalpel. With luck, one can remove just the right amount of density without breaking through to the paper base. Often, however, the entire emulsion needs to be removed (particularly for tiny specks), leaving a small crater that exposes the baryta base beneath. This needs to be spotted back.

    I find that by using a tiny bit of gum Arabic in my spotting fluid, I can match the gloss of the paper surface pretty well, minimizing the difference in texture.

    My experience with bleaching very small areas of the print is not good. First, a selenium-toned print doesn't like to bleach very easily, and doing so can result in unwanted changes in image tone. Second, the bleach diffuses through the emulsion, often making a much bigger spot to spot than the original defect. Third, ferricyanide often leaves a yellow stain that is difficult to get rid of (haven't tried the iodine yet, but it's on my list). I find that etching is a better choice for very small defects and use it together with negative retouching.

    Of course, the best scenario is to have no defects on the negative to start with. If I find myself spotting a lot, I re-evaluate my film-loading and cleanliness techniques!

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  12. Don12x20

    Don12x20 Member

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    Just don't mix Farmers together reducer -- use the packets separately(or discard the fixer portion and use your own nonhardening fixer).

    And the Ferricyanide is too slow a bleach without the fixer ....
    Dip the print in fixer, squeegee onto a piece of plex, lean the plex, have a hose with water ready- then take a spotting brush with ferricyanide then apply. use water to control. then back in the fix. repeat until happy.

    Use fresh fixer; don't reuse from film developing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2009
  13. RJS

    RJS Member

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    There used to be some stuff called new coccine. I believe it was a red-looking dye made for retouching negatives. Long time ago.

    This is wy us old people are fanatics about cleanliness in film pocessing. There really is no good way to do what you need, just a bunch of bad and maybe some less bad ways. We all learn the hard way to be clean. Good luck!