Methods of Lightening Ilford MGIV Fiber Prints?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Andre Noble, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    Hello,

    I need to lower the density and contrast of prints exposed on Ilford MGIV Fiber paper. What bleach / toner (or other process) do you recommend?

    I want to use a commercially available product from Freestyle Photo, Los Angeles - a few blocks away. Don't want to mix from scratch.

    The prints are portraits of my graduating class, Suffice to say that they are about one contast filter grade too contrasty and +1 stop too dense. Nevertheless I want something nice and presentable for my students and their family.


    Thanks in advance for knowledgeable and thoughtful replies.

    (back story - Yesterday I exposed/developed test prints in aged Bromophen developer in a Nova slot processor to taste. Then exposed 3 copies each and kept those in paper safe overnight for development the next day. This morning, I mixed fresh Bromopohen developer and processed the stash of prints. Damnit! too dark too contrasty. The fresh developer developed prints more dense and contrasty then the old developer -Duh! . Took me two days to expose 17 negatives and I don't envision repeating it.)

    Thanks again.
     
  2. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    How are the highlights in the prints? Too light? If so there's no recovering them. If they are too dark, bleaching the print in a standard ferri bleach til desired result then re-fixing will work. If the highlights are ok but blacks too dark try full sepia toning.
     
  3. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    Yes, highlights are ok but blacks too dark.

    My (limited) experience sepia toning says your suggestion would work beautifully for Graded bromide Paper such as Kentmere Bromide. But sepia toning of Ilford MGIV did not *seem* to lessen print density/contrast in the past for me.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    So you are trying to reduce the density of black without affecting the highlight....? I don't think there is any way to do that, really - especially if you have to bring down the density by as much as one stop.

    If you bleach your print and if your highlight is OK as is, you'll end up losing it entirely.

    I don't think there's anyway to save this....
     
  5. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Hmm, I'm stumped then. Others may have better suggestions. I'm not sure how to reduce density in shadows only other than fully sepia toning. In my experience works better with MGWT than MGIV.

    And bleaching will lighten the highlights first, therefor increasing contrast.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    How about something like this.

    Use brown toner to tone to a point where highlight is completely toned but mid tones and shadow aren't. At this point, bleach the print very lightly and fix to remove excess build up of density. Then brown tone the rest.

    Theoretically, it might work but by the time you find the correct timing, you may not have any print left to give out....
     
  7. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    I found something in Tim Rudman Toning Book: Fotospeed Variable Sepia Tonet ST20 with a 10ml per 1000ml additive of NAOH - page 29 third step wedge.

    Like you suggested, Brian full sepia toning. Hope Freestyle has it in stock.
     
  8. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Local ferri bleaching with q-tips or sponge and then washing away the ferri with water, if the shadows aren't too big?
     
  9. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ...use a weaker developer with more dilution and even pull it out earlier (1:30 instead of 2 min). I don't know any kinds off the top of my head. I personally would like to get more blacks in my prints and strive for that, so I'm not sure about the other way around.
     
  10. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    While I agree with jerevan on the bleaching, Andre didn't say what filter he was using with the multigrade paper. Why not reprint with a less contrasty filter or split grade printing?

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  11. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I just thought of another option. Complete indirect sulphide toning. Again, more density loss in the shadows on MGWT as opposed to MGIV but still worth a shot. As Jeffrey says though, it would be much easier to reprint rather than doing toning gymnastics to save the prints.
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Bleach the print back fully, and redevelop it in a developer that is well spent, like the Bromophen you used prior to mixing fresh.
     
  13. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    *Solved*

    With Brian's suggestion to full sepia tone and Tim Rudman's Book on Toning on hand, I went with the Sepia tone route:

    I used a 10ml of the Part C toner Activator to 1 Liter of Toner, Solution B of the Fotospeed ST20 Variable Sepia Toner kit. (One can use anywhere from 10ml to 100ml activator per 1000ml of working strength toner)

    So this dilute amount of Part C activator was key to lightening the prints.

    I had to keep adding a tiny amount of activator to the toner as activity dropped significantly after about ten 8x10's through one liter of toner.

    Through this accident, I discovered a new tool "Fotospeed Odorless Variable Sepia Toner" that I probably would not have discovered otherwise.

    The weird thing is that the toner was odorless(?). I took no chances (on chemical fogging) and processed away from my unexposed film and paper.