I'm doing it wrong

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by BetterSense, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I usually don't print big, because I only print 35mm right now and paper is expensive. Last night in anticipation of my medium-format future I decided to dig into a still-sealed box of 11x14 paper of uncertain age and mileage to see if it was any good. I used my avatar image for no particular reason. I scanned a portion of the print because the whole thing doesn't fit on my scanner, and unfortunately photobucket downsized it. I hope you can still see the awfulness well enough.

    3 issues appeared at the large magnification.

    First, the strange (dark!) spots. I printed it twice, and got different spots the second time, in different places. I'm forced to conclude that these spots are coming from the old paper. Or, something to do with my chemicals, but I don't know what it would be. The negative appeared clean and dust-free. I might have to give up on this old paper.

    The second issue is the fine scratches running left-to-right. These were invisible in smaller prints. I could try nose oil, but I'm not sure if it's on the base or emulsion side. I wonder if they came from my camera, but they don't run perfectly straight. I think my negative carrier has scratched negatives before. I'm careful when I handle my negatives, and disappointed that these scratches appeared. I'm thinking about lining my negative carrier with the black-fuzzy-velvety stuff that I have leftover from my interslice camera seal kit.

    Third, 35mm sucks.

    What do you think about the spots?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2009
  2. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    The paper gets darker when it is struck by light, right ?!
    Any light-leak in your darkroom ? Reflexions of somethig ?

    Do those dark spots appear outside your normal working area ?

    Peter
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Hm. There could be, but it never happened before. Now that you mention it though, the sheet of paper came off the top of the stack, and maybe there are some pinholes in the black bag. Maybe I'll try a sheet from the center of the stack. The spots don't really correspond to each other between the two prints though.

    I'm not sure what you mean; my darkroom is a walk-in closet. There's nowhere else to go!
     
  4. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Sorry about that. You mention that you normaly make small prints, these prints are bigger, thats how I meant.

    Check the light-trap you have on that door: stay inside for 15 minutes and then look carefully.
    Check your negative too for lighter spots.

    I am in the dark about this too, I try to reason things out to come to a solution.

    Peter
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That looks like a flaw in the negative that doesn't show up with smaller enlargements. I wouldn't worry about the paper so much. One things for sure, it's not a light leak.
     
  6. drpsilver

    drpsilver Subscriber

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    29 Mar 2009

    BetterSense:

    I agree that the black dots look like light leaks into your darkroom, or from pinholes in the black bag. As for the scratches, generally speaking white lines indicates scratches on the base side, black lines on the emulsion side. These lines look light enough that a little "nose grease" on the base side of the film will do the trick.

    Hope this helps. Wishing you the best on your journey into medium format.

    Regards,
    Darwin
     
  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I made two prints from the center of the stack of paper. There are still spots, but they aren't as bad as the first one, which has been the worst by far. Nose oil completely got rid of the scratches, though which makes me happy.

    It can't be on the negative, because I've made 4 prints now and the spots are in random places. My darkroom door isn't perfectly light tight...I can see a bit of light in places around the edge. But I consider it light-tight enough to work with paper in there in the daytime. If there were light leaks, I don't see how they could be focused onto an image that would give small spots. I would expect general paper fogging. And besides, the worst print so far was made last night when it was dark even outside the darkroom. I made the exposures through an Ilford under-lens filter, but there doesn't seem to be any pinholes in the filter. I suppose a tiny pinhole could expand into a 3mm light spot on the print by the time it got down to the baseboard.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Try some better paper and I'll bet they go away. Otherwise not a bad print. Use that old paper for practice exposure, dogging, burning etc. Scratches at the bottom print lucent, thus likely on the base side of the negative.
     
  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Process a sheet of that paper without exposing and then fix another sheet w/o developing. The difference between the two will show you any fogging.
     
  10. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I exposed a sheet to a small exposure under my enlarger with no negative carrier, for about 1/15th of the time that I used for printing. My theory was that the spots might not show up if no exposure at all was given. I then put it in developer, and it developed to a light grey tone with several spots showing. I also noticed a dime-sized lighter blotch, and that the extreme edges of the paper was a darker tone, like a microscopic thickness black border, as if the brick of paper had been exposed to light and only the very edge edges were exposed, and the rest shielded by adjacent sheets. I can't provide a scan because I then blackened the sheet with a strobe because I find it useful to have black versions of all paper sizes. Probably this paper was mishandled at some point. I'm not sure how to make best use of it; I could cut it down and use it for contact sheets+proofs+test strips. I still find the spots a bit puzzling.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I think the suggestion to develop an unexposed sheet was a good one. If the spots show up, it's a paper issue. If the sheet develops without spots, it's another issue.

    BTW, don't worry about the "microscopic" edge exposure, as long as there isn't exposure into the sheet. You can trim it, or, if you mat it, it won't be seen.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I'm not sure how to make best use of it; I could cut it down and use it for contact sheets+proofs+test strips. I still find the spots a bit puzzling.[/QUOTE]

    *****
    Cut in half to make 7x11s, 11x14 film can be used for printing full-frame 35mm.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Use it to show digital technoids the wonders and magic of a darkroom. On second thought, forget them, and use it to introduce youngsters to real photography through photograms. If you have a large-format camera, you can even use it to make paper negatives from it. Then contact print them to make positives, just like Fox Talbot did in the early 1800s. Kids love this stuff! It's a sure way to get them off their game boys.
     
  14. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Try using microfilm! Adox CMS 20 at freestyle.