Paper choice

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Carol, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Carol

    Carol Member

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    Can anyone tell me if different papers have different capabilities when it comes to printing lighter subjects?

    I have been trying to print a negative that has both bright and shadow areas and am having a lot of trouble getting the brighter areas to print. It is really frustrating as there is plenty of detail in the negative. I have tried pre-flashing and split filtering without a lot of success.
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If the blacks get toodark before the white are fully developed then your paper is too contrasty. Use either a lower grade number or a lower filter number.
     
  3. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    The obvious solution of course is to burn in the lighter values. If that is not possible because of interjecting dark areas, try burning with Grade 0 as this will have less effect on any adjacent dark areas. It sounds like you have tried the most common approaches, though a combination may work better (some selective burning PLUS flashing). If the light areas are small, you could try bleaching them back with pot-ferri... Any chance of a scan so we can see the problem?

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are differences - and if you could read Norwegian you could find those differences on fotoimport.no.

    You can still see the diagrams without reading Norwegian, though.

    There are other tricks as well: flashing, split developing, toning, lith printing and so on...
     
  5. Carol

    Carol Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions.

    Claire I will try the lowest filter no. for as long as it takes to get the clouds to show up. Then I will try and hold back the shadow areas with much waving around of hands.

    Bob. Hopefully I can put a scan at the bottom of this post. I chose this neg. to work on as I thought it would help me to improve my printing. The verandah roof is corrugated and comes up nicely, but you prob. can't see it on this scan. It is the floor boards and lovely cloudy sky I am having trouble with. They are all very clear on the negative.

    Ole. Even if I could read Norwegian the charts would probably be too technical for me, but thank you for the thought.

    I have also been wondering whether the temperature of the developer could have had some effect. The temp. kept dropping so I left the prints in longer to make up for it.
     

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  6. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I would think that burning the boards at Grade 0 may work as it should not effect the shadows too much, and they don't seem to far away from what you would expect - make them much darker and you may lose the feeling of bright sunlight. You could give a bit more pre-flash which will put some tone in to the sky too, but the sky is going to be a doozy with those posts in the way - difficult really. Anything you do to the sky is likely to effect the mid-tones of the posts.

    Sometimes, I think you just have to accept that you are not going to get it all on the print - it could simply be that there is too large a density difference between your shadows and highlights and fitting them to the paper is not practical - I've got tons of those...

    Good luck with it, Bob.
     
  7. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Being a lover of Graded FB paper, I have learned that if I need to reduce contrast, I can do a water bath. I Over expose the paper about a stop. The I put the print in the developer until the first hint of an image begins to show (15 sec.?) then I pull the print and very gently slide it into a tray of clean water. The developer will quickly exhaust and give up on the shadows and will work on the hightlights for several minutes. I can get softer than grade 00 with this. - Then there is the issuer of the "muddy" print. Usually it is better to bring in the sky with burning and protect shadows with dodging.

    This is of course where photography is really an art.
     
  8. ContaxGman

    ContaxGman Member

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    Bob F. exhausted every idea I had in his 2 excellent posts. I think he's right about the sky too. I don't know how close you are to getting some cloud detail in there, but you could perhaps try burning the area at 0 then using farmers reducer on a Q-tip to bleach back the poles only to a ligher shade. On the other hand, I have no big problem with light, luminous skies and think the picture will look quite good with just a subte burning of the floor boards. Good luck!
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    To begin, I don't know what contrast grade you have printed this at, that information would help.

    Your original post is a bit confusing to me...are you printing to obtain highlight values first and allowing shadows to fall or vice versa? Most printers print for highlight rendition first and then adjust paper contrast for shadow values.

    Split grade printing, provided you are not at grade one already, would help this print.

    If you are already at grade one, then a contrast reducing mask would work. That would mean a low density and low contrast positive of your camera negative would compress the excessive density range of your camera negative by the amount of the peak density of the CRM.

    CRM's can be made to work on 35mm and do not require precise registration. Adequate registration can be obtained on a light table.

    Leaving the print in the print developer longer then normal had absolutely nothing to do with your results, in my opinion.
     
  10. Carol

    Carol Member

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    Once again thank you for all the helpful suggestions.

    Bob - You're right about the posts making the sky more difficult to manipulate. I may have to compromise. Darn it. I will give it another go with a 00 filter for longer and try and hold back the shadows. I don't want to give up on it just yet as it is good practice for me.

    fhovie - I haven't tried the water bath before, but will give it a go. I love learning a new technique.

    Contaxman - I haven't had a skerrick of cloud on any of my tries so far and will forgo them if I can get the rest of the print how I imagine it. It's just so frustrating being able to see them on the negative. BTW is "farmers reducer" a bleach of some sort?

    Donald - Sorry about the lack of info. The above print wasn't filtered. I did try one with a 00 filter with no more success, but I may not have exposed it for long enough. Much trial and error here I'm afraid. I will do a search and find out what a "contrast reducing mask" is and hopefully learn something new.
    My concern about the developer was that it was several degrees below 20F and I didn't know what effect that would have on the prints.

    Sorry about the wordy reply, I just want you all to know how much I appreciate your help. Regards. Carol.
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Carol

    What PAPER developer are you using ? There are several choices, and while most are exactly the same, there are a few that are quite different, and can help you a great deal.
     
  12. ContaxGman

    ContaxGman Member

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    Farmers reducer is a bleach - the pot ferri referenced by Bob F. Potassium ferricyanide (I would be surprised if I spelled that right) - I think you can order it from Photographer's Formulary, which has a sponsor's link at the top of my screen right now. Actually you use the pot ferri on a print either with some fixer mixed in or with fixer still not washed out the print, and it is the chemical reaction of the 2 that is a bleach. Kodak makes a farmer's reducer kit in an envelope that you mix in 2 bottles - 1 with the pot ferri and one with fixer. You mix a little from each and you have bleach that is good for 10 to 15 minutes. If you bleach too much though the area will get a brownish stain so it will only go so far without being obvious.
     
  13. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Someone referred to a split grade print. A simple way to see if this will work at all is to try the lowest grade filter first, finding the least exposure that will give you some sky/clouds. Then make a print at that exposure. If the darker areas are too light (good news), expose a print exposed that way (with the low contrast filter), change the filter to the highest grade while the paper is still on the easel, then do a test strip onto the print and make the test strips (in the dark areas) with a verrry short exp interval. At some point you will have black somewhere and can evaluate whether some balance of exposing the two grades will get you something.
    Sometimes the best solution is to re-shoot, if you can, and develop for much lower contrast (shorter time, or something like a Pyro option).
     
  14. Carol

    Carol Member

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    DF Cardwell - I have only ever used Kodak Polymax paper developer as I use Tmax film and film developer and I wanted to keep everything the same while I was learning. As I am going to have to buy other papers now maybe I should try a different paper developer as well.

    ContaxGman - Thank you for the explanation. I'm not sure how good I'd be at selective bleaching but it is another tool which may yet be useful.

    George Collier - Unfortunately even with the low grade filter my darks were getting too dark. I will try stopping the enlarger down so I've got more time to dodge the shadows. Lucky no one can see me doing that because I do a big panic and wave frantically about. Still everyone's got to learn somehow don't they. :smile:

    Thanks all for the valuable help. I am looking forward to having another go using all your suggestions. I thoroughly enjoy my time in the darkroom no matter how frustrating it can be.
     
  15. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    It is important to refix the print after bleaching since the potassium ferricyanide returns the reduced silver back into something resembling its original state before development, ie. it is light sensitive again. Re-fixing then removes the now light sensitive silver halides. Because of this, I don't see much point in mixing the bleach with fixer. Simply put the process is bleach, rinse, re-fix, and wash. Another important thing to remember is to not mix up the bleach too strong. Weak is better in this case. Once you've overdone the bleaching process you can't go back, so work slowly and carefully.

    The classic two bath sulfide sepia toner works in the same way. The first bath is nothing more than a strong potassium ferricyanide bleach. The longer you leave the print in the bleach, the more faint the original image becomes. This rehalogenates the developed silver and makes the emulsion ready for the next redevelopment step. This redevelopment changes then rehalogenated silver into a very stable silver sulfide with the familiar yellow-brown color. Refixing is not necessary in this case because all the remaining silver halides in the paper have been developed. In a case where you are simply bleaching back the dark areas, you need to remove all the rehalogenated silver with fixer . Any remaining silver halides will darken over time and ruin the print.
     
  16. Carol

    Carol Member

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    fschifano - Thank you for the info. The more I learn about the process, the more interesting it becomes.
     
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