Is it my Safelight???

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Rolleijoe, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    On the last few pages of Varycon Fiber, the white border is very white, but the rest of the print seems almost fogged. I've cut down to 1 safelight (Delta Jumbo), and even with all washes etc, I still end up with the odd numbered stained print, and gray rather than white in the areas next to the borders.

    Any clues, or am I just missing something completely? I've wracked my brain till it's mush on this one.

    TIA,

    Rolleijoe
     
  2. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I don't know anything about your safelight or paper but a sure fire test to see if the Delta Jumbo is fogging your paper is to take a small piece (4x4) and put a quarter on it.Turn on the safelight for 5 minutes.Develop the paper to see if there is a difference in whiteness between covered and uncovered.
     
  3. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    It could be fog. Often you need a certain minimum amount of exposure before the fog will become evident, which would explain the white borders.

    Try another identical exposure with the safelight off, and see if it's different.
     
  4. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber

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    Are you using Red Light ?
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I was just going to say what Guillaume beat me to. You should use red safelight with Fotokemika papers. The orange ones will fog paper at one point or another.

    - Thomas
     
  6. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    This is true - and it is also why you should slightly fog the paper before doing your safelight test as recommended earlier. Otherwise you could get a 'safe' test but still have fogged highlights in the print.
    Tim
     
  7. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Thanks everyone, I'll give all the recommendations a try tomorrow. Yes, I'm using a Delta Jumbo RED safelight. I have 8 of them in the darkroom but only use 1 at a time due to fogging 2 years ago when darkroom was built. May have to switch to the smaller size delta bulbs and see what happens.
     
  8. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    One thing to keep in mind about fogging. Paper has a threshold, just like film. Once a paper is exposed, it will fog more readily than a completely unexposed sheet. The quarter test is fine for unexposed paper, but an exposed sheet has a lower threshold. tim
     
  9. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    This is absolutely correct. The "quarter test" is quick and easy but even after passing it, you can have a severe fogging problem.

    This test takes time but it will reveal the true extent of your fogging problem:

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/products/techInfo/k4/k4TestSafelite.shtml

    All safelights will eventually cause fog. Your job is to keep the illumination level low enough and your print handling process fast enough so that your print will be in the fixer long before you hit the safelight fogging threshold.

    Have you checked your enlarger for light leaks? Put a mirror on your enlarging easel, put a lens cap on your enlarging lens, turn off all the lights and then turn your enlarging lamp on. Inspect you enlarger from every possible angle - including from the easel area. You may be leaking white light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2008
  10. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    May be leaking white light? I have yet to see the enlarger that doesn't leak some light.
     
  11. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    I'm thinking my JUMBO safelights may be too much. Perhaps need to switch down to the JR size. L-O-N-G day today, fresh darkroom start tomorrow.

    Included is a shot of my darkroom, maybe this will help out some. Thanks for everyone's input.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2009
  12. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    That's quite a lot of safe lights and that's only 1meter or so away from your paper it looks like? Seems a little too close to me.
     
  13. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I use the older kodak "bullet" type safelights with 8 watt bulbs. They point at the ceiling and have very dim output. One in the dry area and one in the wet area. Those bulbs look pretty big to me. Can you move them to a location behind the work area? tim
     
  14. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    There are a total of 7 of these in the darkroom, and I only have 1 on (the farthest away from the enlarger), so I'm not understanding why there should still be so much problems.
     
  15. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Tim, the 1 safelight out of all 7 that I am using is in the farthest back corner about 11' away from the enlarger, but maybe 5 from the wet side. They cost a bundle, but I think I can switch them to the JR model which should lower the amount of light.
     
  16. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    Mine doesn't ..... Anymore. :smile: I have it taped up, shielded and surrounded by black walls.
     
  17. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Joe, just a thought about what may not be "fogging" of the paper. Have you checked your chemistry lately? Is your developer fresh or has it "turned" on you? Can't help but wonder since your paper edges are still clean. tim
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I have the same safelights as you do rolleijoe. I only have one though, but my darkroom is about 1.5 times the size of your enlarger table so it's plenty. It's in a in-ceiling fixture, however, so I get less light from it. But it works fine, even with Fotokemika Varycon.

    One way to get fogged paper with clean edges as you say would be to keep the paper in the darkroom permanently. The chemistry fumes in there will fog the paper. Then during development, if the whole print isn't submerged all the way, but the edges are 'sticking up' and agitation is poor, then what happens to you could definitely happen.
    Can you post a scan of one of the 'unhappy' prints?

    - Thomas
     
  19. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Thanks Tim, but I'd just mixed everything up fresh before the session. After about 2-3 days of non-use, I'll throw them all out and mix fresh again.
     
  20. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    That's what I've been doing, is keeping all the paper in the darkroom permanently (even fresh unopened packs of 25sh 16x20). When I put a print into any of the 4 chemicals, I make sure it's completely submerged, and then agitate the tray as well.

    Unfortunately I'm still waiting on my scanner to arrive from eBay (old Agfa scanners went kaput with the company), and since switching to iMac, have had to start all over again in some areas.

    But I will as soon as possible. I've had unopened paper in there for months as well as the box of 8x10 I used for test prints. The AC stays on all the time inside, which is why I left the paper in there. Where would you suggest I store the paper?

    I'm about to order some Foma 542 and Varycon 20x24.

    Thanks very much,

    Rolleijoe
     
  21. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    As mentioned in an earlier post, you might check your enlarger for light leaks. In looking at your enlarger table setup, I'd also suggest painting the walls and ceiling surrounding your enlarger flat black. Any light leaking from the enlarger and bouncing off the walls will contribute to fog. Light from the lens bouncing off the work surface and the walls will contribute to fog. So will burning in a print with a hole in a card that has a white or other reflective surface facing the paper. Use only a card that is black on both sides. This may all sound pretty picky, but if following any or all of these steps reduces stray light by only 5%, you've reduced potential sources of fog.

    Peter Gomena
     
  22. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Click the link Bruce (photobackpacker) gave you and follow the instructions (or use the similar one on the Ilfordphoto site). It will tell you 100% if it is your safelight or not: no need for all this speculation. I do this every time I use a new paper - it takes 20 minutes.

    As long as you do not keep chemicals such as the smelly type of sepia toner whose fumes can (in theory at least) fog film and paper I can't see any reason not to keep paper in the darkroom. I keep most of mine in a spare fridge with my film in my kitchen but leave some (the larger sheets) in the darkroom without any problems.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi Rolleijoe,

    I store all my paper outside the darkroom. I have an adjacent room in my basement that I keep de-humidified in the summer. That seems to work well for storing them. Something similar to that is a good location.

    - Thomas

     
  24. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Thanks Bob, the only chemistry I keep out there in bottles is stop bath, Polymax-T, and Zonal Pro wash aid. Plus some Studional and R09. The Rodinal, HC-110 and all others are in the house.

    My film stays in the freezer in the house, but there's no room in my darkroom for a large enough size fridge to store the larger (20x24) paper in.
     
  25. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    I just ordered the change from Safelight Jumbos to safelight Jrs. Hopefully that should have a difference with the lower wattage. My darkroom is a fully enclosed (including ceiling) room built within the garage only using 1 exterior garage wall. The rest of the walls are all insulated and finished on the outside, so there are no leaks. All leaks were calked/taped up immediately after construction. The ext garage wall has a hole for the AC, but that's been taken care of as well.

    Hopefully this is all that'll need to be done, and as soon as the new safelights arrive, I'll let everybody know.

    Thanks for everyone's help. + HNY

    Rolleijoe