How to bleach the print correctly?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Henry Alive, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    I usually work with the Kodak farmer`s reducer in my photos. I follow the instructions that Kodak give for working with negatives in my papers: Part A (farmer reducer) dissolved in 473 ml of water; Part B (Sodium thiosulfate, anhydrous) also dissolved in 473 ml. Then, I mixed equal part of each stock solution to prepare the final solution that is supposed to be active for, at least, 10 or 15 minutes.
    I notice that the bleach effect is very slowly. So, I want to ask to the forum:
    - Am I wrong when I work my papers as Kodak recommendation for negatives?
    - Ralph Lambrecht recommends mixing 10 cm3 potassium ferricyanide with a litter of water to make a 1% stock solution. This stock solution is mixed 1+1 with fixer to make the working solution that is supposed to work for 10 or 15 minutes. According with his book “Way Beyond Monocrome”, it works fast and well. Notice that he just uses the part A of Kodak farmer`s reducer, but he ignore the Part B completely.
    I appreciate any comment, recommendation, etc.
    Thank you,
    Henry.
     
  2. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    are you looking to reduce the entire print? My experience with bleaching has been to reduce only small sections of a print. Slow is better then fast because if you over do it = not good. Personally I don't bleach often and although it will be frowned upon I don't measure. I use some powdered potassium ferricyanide in 2/3 water:1/3 fixer to make a light urine yellow. Work on a wet print. I have a hose in the sink and wash off the print immediately and repeat as often as needed. I know it is far from scientific but it works for me. I use multigrade paper and an Aristo 4500VCL light source so I can control local contrasts and don"t often have to bleach. For what its worth for me that works.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  3. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    Thanks, Jeffreyg:
    I am looking to reduce some specific areas of the print: clouds, eyes, teeth, etc.
    I just want to know how people prepare the solution.
    Henry.
     
  4. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    Henry,
    Ralph uses the "part b" in his formula as sodium thiosulfate is "fixer" as called for in his formula. Jeffrey is correct imo, it is better for the bleaching to occur slowly as it is easier to control. If it is too slow for you liking, make a stronger dilution of solution A and see how that works.
    regards
    erik
     
  5. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    If you've not done localized bleaching before, I'd be very careful. You need a fixed print to start with, and it's always best to have a small hose with running water at the ready. Place your wet print on a sheet of plastic .... Use a small brush, or cotton pad, and wet it. Then dip in bleach, and apply to your target area sparingly.... Then rinse with running water right away in between each application of the bleach and wipe the area off with a damp cotton ball...... If you leave bleach on their too long, it can get away from you, and look obvious... The rinsing step right after application is key to minimizing the overbleaching. Also try not to do a large area at once as it's easy to let the bleach sit too long on some areas before you rinse it off.... Remember, small areas, avoid applying too much bleach and making the bleach run. Dab it on, rinse off right away, wipe, and gradually work your way through it. Once you are done, a re-fix is needed. Then follow your normal wash / toning cycle to reach archival permanence.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2011
  6. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    You can mix bleach to your desired concentration -there's no set rule. I'd dilute more to start with and add more if you don't see the changes you want. I dab a wet Q-tip with the powder and put about 150mL in it to start. Andrew's method works, but I've found it easier to just get some gloves and drape the print out of the fixer onto your arm, making the part of the print you want flat. I blow off some of the fixer to allow the bleach to set in better. If I need resistance, I leave the fixer on as the fixer kills/slows down the bleaching process. When I see the area highlights/midtones are turning, I flip the print back into the fixer, pull it out and see if it needs more. I can do this as many as 10 times before I hit the contrast I want. There's more room for error in mishandling and creasing the print with this process, but I find water acts too slowly to stop the bleaching process and can leave a running trace of reduced density if it sits too long or if the concentration is too strong. I also avoid putting the print on a sheet, because if you see it changing and need to act quickly, you can't stop it in time. If you use andrews method, I'd get a cotton ball with fixer ready on hand and use that first to kill the process quicker, then rinse.

    Bleaching is an art and you need to just experiment and see what works. Use some workprints or test strips to practice before working on the actual print. I've gone back to prints that I bleached when I learned about the technique and now scoff at them because my bleaching technique was not very refined when I started. Keep in mind that you should never need to bleach too much -it is retouching that just adds a bit of punch to the photograph. If you are bleaching to make the print lighter, try adjusting your exposure first. You shouldn't use bleach to compensate for exposure, but instead use it only to control local contrast. Also, let the print dry down before you bleach so that you can accurately gauge how much bleaching is necessary, if any at all. Depending on the size of the area, I use a cotton ball, Q-tip or a small brush.
     
  7. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    I want to thank all of you for your comments I am going to try doing the same way but with this proportions: Part A (2/3) + Part B(1/3).
    Henry.