Old paper?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jfoote, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. jfoote

    jfoote Member

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    I have two huge boxes of polycontrast III that I got for a great price (free). As I am just restarting, I thought it would be a great way to burn through some paper without much expense.

    Anything special I need to know? I think that storage hasn't been too careful......I have about 750 sheets so I can use a lot for experimentation! I saw he had written purchased 2003 on one of the boxes.
     
  2. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi,

    try Lith print - I find it always interesting to try old and different papers in Lith :smile:.

    Regards,
     
  3. monodave

    monodave Member

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    It will be low contrast. The max contrast achievable will be less than grade 4. It will be good for contacts and proofs where you just want to see what's on the neg. If your negs are high contrast it will probably still make good prints. With normal and low contrast negs you may struggle to get the contrast that you might wish for. Dave
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I have some dated older than that, and it prints just fine. Try it out and make your determination from your tests.
     
  5. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    One of the first things you must do is to resolve not to throw it out. Then there is more...

    I have often worked with age-fogged B&W paper with excellent results. The determinant here is just 'how' fogged it is. In the dark cut off a small (2" x 2") piece and place it on a table with a penny on it. Then expose to full room light for about 30 seconds. Then back to darkness and develop it for the normal time, stop, fix. Then look at it. How dark is the coin area? How black is the exposed area? The whiter the coin area the better off you are, obviously. This area is indicative of the extent of age fog.

    Now, assume that the coin area is about midway between black and white. You are still safe here and can garner excellent prints. How? First, resolve not to develop for more than that required to bring the unexposed base density up to the midway level just stated. (If you go further you will not be able to properly 'bring back' that density to the original white without seriously destroying the image area.) If the unexposed area gets fogged beyond that point sooner than about one minute in the developer you must modify the developer to react slower which I do by adding baking soda. Try about 10 to 30 ml, measured (volumetric) in a cylinder (or 10 to 30g) as a starting point. That should slow things down. Then add the restrainer: about 15 to 45 ml of either a 10% potassium bromide solution or a 1% benzotriazole solution to the developer. Now you have a developer that will not allow the unexposed density to get too dark. This rather drastic 'solution', applies only to paper that is rather seriously fogged by age. Determine the time for development based upon not allowing the unexposed portion to get too dark.

    Now that you have a proper development time you are in a position to determine the proper exposure by trial and error. The objective is to develop a print that is darker than normal because you will next reverse the excess density in Farmer's reducer after the normal stop and fix. It will take some getting used to but really excellent prints can be achieved with this method. The reason you allow development to progress long enough to get some density in the unexposed area is to allow proper contrast to build up in the print. The Farmer's reducer (used as a 'cutting' reducer by combining the sodium thiosulfate and potassium ferricyanide) enhances, or builds contrast. With age fogged papers achieving sufficient contrast is usually the most daunting task. - David Lyga.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Also - try from the middle of the pack. The outer few sheets, and certainly the top one are likely to have deteriorated differently that the ones in the middel, which may not show many signs of deterioration.
     
  7. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Another way to test for fogging is to take a sheet, divide it in two and number them. Develop and fix one unexposed, and only fix the other. The degree to which they do not match is how much fogging you have.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    As you may have noticed, using old paper can be quite a bit different than using fresh paper. You should keep that in mind if your intention is to use the paper to (re)learn how best to print, because the lessons learned may need to be revised for fresh paper.

    In addition to the tips above, I would strongly suggest doing a safelight test with the paper. It may very well have different safelight sensitivity than fresh paper.
     
  9. anon12345

    anon12345 Member

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    Depending on it's severity, fogged paper can be used to create Photograms. Blotches and uneven fogging may add character to the print.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I've found that old polycontrast is really great for lumen prints (I know that's not exactly what you're thinking), but I have gotten much better color than any other papers.
     
  11. jfoote

    jfoote Member

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    Great ideas! Keep them coming. Another option I have is to bring it to school (elementary) and can try some stuff there.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i second the lumen printing and photograms
    you can just combine the 2 into one .. and make sunprint ( lumen print ) photograms .. :smile:
    you can also do the same thing but stick the paper in a brownie/box/foldercamera / pinhole camera &C
    and you will get an actual image ( that would have made your negative ) on the paper ..
    a long term project could be a pinhole box camera left to view out a classroom window
    for the remainder of the year ... great-stuff can be done with expired paper :smile:

    john
    ps i make custom camera kits if you are interested, small or big, it doesn't matter the size .. have fun!