Lith print exposure questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Bosaiya, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    I have a couple of questions relating to exposure for lith printing. The general consensus seem to be exposing for an extra three-stops or so. In the books and comments online people seem to do that by adding time: taking an x-second exposure and leaving it in three times longer. Here's my first silly question, Does that give different results from simply incresing the amount of light by three stops? I'm thinking it must be different or people wouldn't sit through many-minute exposures, but then WHY would it be different?

    If it's not different, if you can just add light, then if you were doing a contact print could you not just stick it in broad daylight for a few moments? All three options (more time, more enlarger light, sunlight) as all as easy or as difficult for me.

    I've tried both extra time and extra stops but I'm not very good at lith printing to begin with and thought some others might have a definite opinion one way or another.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    With how long a Lith print can take to develop I'm using an exposure meter. It's calibrated for normal developer. The thing is I measure closed down three stops then make the print after opening things up. I don't think it's a problem. If anything I wonder if it avoids the risk of recpirorcity failure.

    Sunlight is a lot brighter then my enlarger. I'd think even a few moments might be too bright.

    My problem with lith printing is the long developer times. By the time I've finished the first test print half the morning is gone-) The long times means I need long sessions to really learn anything. I'm tempted to set up multiple developer trays so I can have a few prints developing at once.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    they may be different, as 3 times the inital exposure and 3 fstop more are not the same amount of time.

    controling the process is not easily done with just putting a contact print in sun light.
    People who do alternative processes that require UV light find that a UV box will give more consistent results than just placing the frame in sunlight.

    As with any process, the more you work the luckier you get.
     
  4. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Hi Ann, yes, three times exposure is not necassarily three f/stops. Let me rephrase the question: Would exposing for the same amount of time while increasing the f/stop to the appropriate amount that gives three times the exposure produce the same result?

    With regard to sunlight, again I'm just trying to see if I can increase the amount of light for less time to get the same result. Consider it a theoretical question.
     
  5. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Two threads you might give a look: Why Pyrol Rather than ... ,
    my last post there, perhaps some clue as to;

    With Lith Prints is ... . There Bob Carnie tells of his regularly
    cranking out lith prints in three to four minutes. Alt. Photo,
    a week or two ago.

    Have you tried a minimal solution volume? Doing so could
    provide a clue to your problem. Dan
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Minimal? I'm using the biggest tray I have and filling it to the brim-) The developers are fairly dilute.

    Fast development times are also going to mean more critical snatch times no?
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Nick
    My typical snatch time with lith is withing 3-5 min with fresh chemistry and over a printing session this may turn into 5-8 min. Beyond that I go fishing.
    If you are in the GTA area drop by and I will give you some of my A B to try out. I have seen some of the effects with really long ,long dev times and these are not the look I am after. I prefer the Corbjin look with my lith prints and work from there.
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    http://www.museiciviciveneziani.it/images/Corbjin copertina.jpg

    Bob like that one?

    I'm not getting the colour but I understand that's a function of paper.

    With Agfa I had to go with a water bath before the developer. Without it the developer would soak in from around the edges and the print would develop from the outside of the paper towards the centre. It was quicker but didn't work out right. By the time the centre was developed the outside of the 8x10 was way too far.

    I never had that problem with Forte paper. But the developer took longer.

    With both the Forte and the Agfa paper [with the water bath] I'm looking at over 10 minutes. Unless I expose the wrong side of the paper-)
     
  9. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I'm using Forte Fortezo and Adox Classic Art ( J&C Expo) with Fotospeed Lith developer. Snatch times average around 12-13 mins with best effects at 20 mins when developer becomes exhausted. Color range at longer times are yellow/peach/grey for Forte & chocolate for Adox. Fresh developer gives shorter snatch times with tones more in typical B&W range; but I've been trying for some of the effects that Tim Rudman demonstrates in his book. So I take "old brown" from last session as part of my mix for each session.
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Nick
    Yes:that is one of the looks that I am working with .
    I have never had any luck with Agfa by the way.
    today printed with the lastest mix of sterling lith. just got a shipment from the UK. I absolutely love it . It will not make too many people happy but it is gritty with a nice yellow cast. strange horizontal lines but I am distressing the image so much it dosen't matter.
    I have never had to go over 5 min with development, seems to go against all the posts I have heard but my times are always withing 3-5 min.
     
  11. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Right now 'm just trying to nail down the exposure equation. I've read a lot of Bob's stuff and I understand the development aspects, I'm just wondering bout the initial exposure.
     
  12. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Bob, what do you think about my initial question regarding exposure times and f/stops? Would increasing the exposure while keeping the time the same result in an identical (theoretically) print? Would exposing at f/64 for a seriously long time also result in the same print? I've been looking and have yet to see that part of the equation discussed.
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Bob I thought Sterling was out of business. Is it for sale only in the UK?
     
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  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    If you understand the relationship twixt f stops
    and shutter speeds when using a camera then you've
    the answer already in mind. Dan
     
  16. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Nick
    I bought the paper from Mike Rosen at Darkroom Inovations , he is on the Kentmere site as a reseller in North America.
    The original sterling plant was sold 2-3 years ago in India and stopped production overnight . the new stuff is not the same, but I really like it as an extra paper to work with.
    This stuff is hot off the presses so to speak, How the hell do you add an attachment I would post an image from todays printing to show you what this stuff looks like, definately not the pretty rose colour , peachy warm, kind of crap that some like for lith. Very strong looking stuff, prints nicely in champion and the surface is very nice.
    I will try tommorow to post the image here.

    Regarding the exposure stuff Bosaiya, all I can say is practice. I really don't know where you are going with this sunlight stuff and relation-ship between apeture and time.
    f64 on an enlarging lens will take you into diffraction and crazy exposure times
    Look at Anton Corbjin's work printed by an amazing UK printer I have been hooked on this process ever since.
    Like any process we work with , exposing some paper and trying different things in the darkroom you will get it in time.
    It took me 10 years of silly practice to get nowhere with solarization, a good friend gave me a Mr Jolly's manuscript on this process , one good read and the next darkroom session I was making solarizations.
    I would suggest reading Mr Rudmans book cover to cover, buy Anton Corbjins Star Traxx book (really look at it) and you will be well on your way to making lith prints with no problem and with exposure times under 5 minutes.
     
  17. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Hi Dan, I know that adjusting f/stop and shutter on a camera to get the exact same "reading" produces vastly differing photographs. Based on that then using a different combination at printing would give different prints.
     
  18. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Bob, here's what it comes down to: How many 7-minute exposed prints can you develop at 3-5 minutes vs. 7 1-minute exposured prints? I'm looking at ways to make the best out of the time I have. Simple as that. You already do this when you alk about your 3-5 minute development time. I'm asking the same basic question but with regrds to expsoure time.

    I've got Rudman's book in the bathroom (no offense to Tim) and have read it cover to cover dozens of times. I checked out the Star Traks last week from the library and have pored over every photo in it many times since then. These two things are what prompted me to compose my initial question.

    So... do you develop your lith prints at the same f/stop as you would for regular prints but for a longer time, or do you expose brighter to save yourself not standing there waiting for it to expose?
     
  19. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Bosaiya

    If I am concerned about edge to edge sharpness I still try to use the sweet spot of my enlarging lens as always. I use stronger wattage bulbs than recommended for my enlarger 250w vs 150w or 75w. I buy a case at a time and do not panic over the fact that I go through twice as many bulbs.

    There comes a point where too much exposure flattens out the image too much and a point where too little exposure increases contrast too much.

    There in lies the balancing act to finding proper exposure in lith printing. Contrary to popular belief. Exposure in Lith printing has as much as an effect on contrast as does extended developing times.

    As well the selection of negative developer combination is extremely important with lith printig. A normal negative just does not cut it. Unless you are using certain papers. (sterling lith or Ilford Warmtone)
    hope this helps
     
  20. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    This certainly seems to be the case. Lest you think I have been slacking or asking questions without actually trying things, here are two scans of prints I have made recently:

    http://www.knockoutproductions.com/angels/lith/

    Sometimes I am able to produce this look with some degree of consistency when using certain combinations of materials, but when I try to apply those to a different negative it doesn't work (as I would expect to be the case). Therefore I'm trying to find combinations that work, and as I do I am seeing what sort of range of negative they will work on. That's why I was hoping to cut exposure time to a reasonable amount so I could get more prints done.

    I think I've got a good starting handle on increasing exposure vs. development time to get decent hilights (the scan can't do the print justice of course, but if you look at the collar and surrounding skin on the portrait there's a nice range), but it seems like there are different ways to achieve that balance.
     
  21. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Bosaiya
    Both very nice images,
    Lith printing and its options with papers, exposure, film choice ,film developer choice can be mind numbing.
    As you try different things make a mental note or better yet in my case write down what happens and try it again to see if it works again, I have made a lot of prints and with lith , I learn new things just by doing something totally unpredictable and different from print to print. There are no rules with this type of printing as well with solarizations and this is why I like printing using these two processes.
    The one constant that I have found is Champion Nova Lith A B, which is also rebranded as fotspeed lith.
    I have tried three or four other mixes with limited sucess.
    Others on this thread (danq) are mixing there own concoctions and I would love to see him progress with his efforts as I think this can open another world of lith printing .
     
  22. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Yes, mind-numbing at times! That's why I'm trying to save as much time as possible without affecting quality. Right now I'm using Maco developer and the only paper I get good repeatable results on is the Maco paper. Unfortunately they are only producing glossy (according to the email they sent me when I asked) and I can't stand the look of the finish. I've tried three other papers with mixed results. Sometimes I'll get an incredible lith print with those only to have the ones before and after completely unusable. I'll definately try the Nova Lith next.

    It's very expensive to keep trying different papers as I want to test more than just a few before I get an idea of what it will do with my current setup. It's been my experience that this lith printing endeavor is rewarding when it turns out correctly, but really depressing and frustrating the rest of the time.
     
  23. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    A little prod there. I've not done anything in the last year
    with that unintended lith developer I concocted. The pleasant
    browns on Arista RC and reddish blacks from Forte FB, both
    graded, took me away from the more nearly neutral
    black I am and was after.

    I've been working with Dr. Beer's multi-contrast developer
    and have found it really does work and produces blacks. So,
    with that I've some whole print contrast control. I only
    work with Graded papers. I've a very well lit darkroom.

    I'll pull my notes and mix a batch of lith. I should have a
    couple of new papers; two which will work well with my Beer's
    for straight B&W and also may produce interesting lith results.
    Got any suggestions?

    BTW, do you or maybe Nick ever process more than one
    print at a time? Dan
     
  24. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I've done it. Started out the day I exposed the back of the paper. By the time I figured out what I'd done it was past the ten minute mark. I exposed a second print and put it in the tray. By the time the second was done the first had started to develop. So I pulled the second and added a third print.
     
  25. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Dan
    I always (well almost always ) use three enlargers, two for images and one for flashing. therefore I print back to back alot.
    We just finished a project about two months ago where we needed to produce 1500 lith prints. Pats and I did this project together where we would expose a test and when balance was in expose prints while she processed.
    When a box of paper was exposed I would take over the developer tray and she would handle the stop fix fix pre rinse.
    As you can imagine we mixed up crazy amounts of developer a couple of times a day. at one point we were developing 6 prints at a time staggard to allow different emergence times to snatch the prints.This project allowed for slight variences in the print look as they were very distressed images and they were all going to differrent locations. Over 7 days Pats and I finished the job.
    This is definately not our prefered lith printing method , so far we have done two projects like this and we have one more slated for the fall.
    Definately wear gloves on both hands on this kind of printing session.
     
  26. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    What about a couple of paper suggestions as per my just
    previous post.
    What about size and quantity of prints through how many
    liters of working solution prior to refill. Dan