Pepper fogging on Ilford MG warmtone

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mooseontheloose, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I'm currently working on a series of lith prints for an exhibition that starts in two weeks. This was only my fourth lith session (in as many weeks) -- I'm using Moersch Easy Lith (1+25, sometimes with replenishment or hot water top up leading to a 1+35) and mostly Foma papers - 542 and 132 being my favorites. The Kentona liths nicely, but doesn't have any nice colours.

    Anyway, during each of my sessions I usually like to try some other paper (usually old ones we have at the darkroom) to test their lith capabilities. This time I thought I would try some (new) Ilford FB warmtone, since I was having such a great session and I thought it might work with the high dilution (1+35), hot temperature (32 degrees C) and having a more mature developer (had one replenishment).

    Well, it took about 5 minutes before anything appeared, and after a while I could see a veiled grey image appearing (borders remained white). I finally pulled the very grey print out after 22 minutes, and to my surprise it looks like what might be pepper fogging -- what was an image of a wooden carving now looks like something carved of stone, and very weathered. Although it's dark, it's still kind of interesting. I was just curious if others have experienced similar pepper fogging on this paper?

    rachelle

    (I'd post the image but my scanner doesn't allow for resizing to APUG limits)
     
  2. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    -- warning, borderline APUG appropriate response to follow --

    Take the image from your scanner (scan as a TIFF, not JPG so you don't start out lossy). Perhaps 150 or 300 "dpi". Then use something like TheGimp to resize it and compress for upload. TheGimp is free, Google for it. Lots of other software can do this too, but TheGimp is a good, FREE, substitute for Photoshop.

    -- end warning --
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Could be something wrong with the developer.

    PE
     
  4. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    I've been using ILWT a lot lately for lith..about same color I get from Varycon but smoother, no occassional banding and no peppering.

    I use Maco at bottle solutions and now Arista lith at same.
    Could be the longer dev times, but surely Wolfgang will chime in...
     
  5. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I'm sure it has everything to do with the old, diluted, hot, mature developer! I just thought it was interesting because out of all the papers out there that lith, I never heard of pepper fogging on Ilford warmtone.

    Of course, this is just my interpretation of it -- I've been all over Tim Rudman's book (again) on lith printing and it seems the most logical explanation.
     
  6. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    If you are starting with a significant amount of the old developer, there is probably enough bromide in solution that you don't need to add more to the new tray. 22 minutes is a long time in the pan, and it sounds like development is being restrained.

    I have found a fairly reliable way to trouble-shoot the developer . . .helpful but not fool proof. I start with 50-50 fresh developer and Old Brown, so there's the developer, the bromide and the semiquinone. As for chemical variables, that only leaves the paper (assuming it's lithable) and the sodium sulfite. Drop a test strip into your developer, with the lights on. Watch for a minute or so, then sprinkle a pinch sodium sulfite over the paper. If it goes infectious when the sulfite hits it, there you have it. This trick hasn't solved all my problems, but I find it more expeditious than titrating chemicals just on a hunch. Although that can be fun, too.
     
  7. Wolfgang Moersch

    Wolfgang Moersch Member

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  8. rst

    rst Member

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    Just to be sure that I understand these examples right, these examples are from a direct lith development in hot lith or are they redeveloped in lith after bleach of a standard print?

    Thanks and ciao
    -- Ruediger
     
  9. Wolfgang Moersch

    Wolfgang Moersch Member

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    Moin Ruediger

    direct lith at room temperature in SE5 with a small additional amount of bromide and sulphite
     
  10. rst

    rst Member

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    Thanks Wolfgang,

    I will give it a try. The top right looks promising for some of my last negatives.

    All the best
    -- Ruediger
     
  11. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Wolfgang -- Thanks for the tulip and the explanation -- it's really helpful and I now know where I went wrong. I guess I'm so focused on my blacks and highlights that I usually let the mid-tones fall where they lay. Normally that works fine but in this case I got an interesting result. I'm still using your easylith developer because I'm very much a beginner at this, but with every attempt in the darkroom I'm learning more and more.

    For some reason I can't attach the photos to this message (just like I can't use the smileys or any other features) so I'll post them in the technical gallery so you can all see what I'm talking about.

    rachelle
     
  12. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    New 'PF' type problem?

    Hi Rachelle
    Actually I don't think this this really is pepper fogging. I think it is the grainy look you get when infectious development moves up from the blacks into the mid tones. It can look very good too - just different, as with your Buddha print. there is no right or wrong with lith. It's interpretative and if it's what you like - it's right ;-) But as Wolfgang points out, there are various ways of changing it.

    Those who were around doing lith in the days of the 2nd generation Sterling Lith paper will remember the PF effect. On the 1st print it appeared on (usually about print 3) it looked like pepper sprinkled very lightly over the print. Notably it was as obvious in the highlights as the midtones, in fact more conspicuous there as it was so out of place. The next print would be more affected and the following one severely so all over. The cure was simple (once the cause of the problem was diagnosed!).

    A few other papers have shown it to much smaller degrees (e.g. MACO) but it isn't much of a problem now.
    But some papers have other random infectious development problems occasionally. Forte's 'black spot syndrome' is an example.

    Interestingly I have just come across a few one (for me) today.
    I have been lithing a new Kentona batch (an emulsion I have been using for years in various incarnations) and it suddenly develops little black spider shapes all over just when the main blacks emerge. This is a new one for me and so far I have found that it didn't respond to various amounts of sulphite addition but did to a stronger developer. I'll have to explore this more over the next days.

    Has anyone else had this?

    Tim Rudman
     
  13. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Thanks Tim for clearing that up.

    As noted in my previous posts, I wasn't really sure what it was since I'm pretty new to lith printing, and could only think of pepper fogging, which I've only seen in your books (although the pictures are kind of small to see the 'pepper' effect clearly). It just seems like such a strange effect -- I like it, but it would just be a matter of figuring out how to achieve it purposefully (instead of randomly) for particular images.

    I've been using Kentona as well but haven't noticed the little spider shapes (yet!) that you've mentioned.

    rachelle
     
  14. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Actually they are quite big spiders! up to 1/2 cm across.
    No, I've never seen them before either, but that is how PF started on the old Sterling paper. One day it was just there. i'll talk to kentmere and Ilford tomorrow, and do a few more tests.
    Tim