Print goes instantly darker in fix

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by paula hammon, May 9, 2008.

  1. paula hammon

    paula hammon Member

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    I printed an image on Ilford Multigrade brilliant glossy fiber and it looked great through the developer and the stop. When I put it in the fix it went instantly darker. I have no idea why. Any ideas?
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It does that... just keep it in mind during the development.

    I'm sure someone can give you a more technical explanation, but when you put it in the fix, it clears away all any area that is not fully developed. If you turn the light on (don't do this with a final print), and insert it in the fix, you can see how the print "clears" itself in the fix.

    I often find that my blacks in the print don't look truly black until they are in the fix... and if I have a print in the wash tray while I am developing the next print... the one in the wash looks noticeably darker.

    And welcome to APUG!!
     
  3. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Seconding what Suzanne said. I believe the term used by Tim Rudman is called 'fix-up' It refers to the fact that prints go darker in the fix and can change the overall image color quite considerably.
     
  4. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Drives me fricking nuts, it does !

    Still, no more Elite, so....
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I agree with Suzanne,
    as well in my darkroom I have mixed different safelights and I always thought that that may be part of the darkening in the fix thing.
    Near the Dev is a red safelight and near the fix is a yellow thompson.

     
  6. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Does it really matter if you judge the prints under white light?

    C
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Does it matter ?

    Yes, if you learned to control print tone by observation.
    Like being able to tune a violin by ear instead of a meter.

    Ilford's MG, a great paper otherwise, rewards time and temperature workers.

    If you varied the ratio of exposure and development to fine tune the image,
    that no longer works; it penalizes a traditionally skilled craftsman.
     
  8. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Don't make too much of it. Reserving final judgement for white light doesn't mean you can't observe the process. I just don't fully trust any final judgement other than under bright full spectrum light.

    C
     
  9. snallan

    snallan Member

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    I can't say that I have ever noticed this. But I develop my prints to completion, so there is no exposed, but undeveloped halide to veil the image.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    This is great in theory, and great if that is how the print will be viewed.

    More than likely, however, prints, whether in albums, galleries, or books, will be viewed under low-intensity tungsten light most of the time.

    Results in common viewing light (dim 2800K) after working on the prints in "proper" viewing booths (bright 5000K) were always disappointing for me; especially with color prints. Once I stopped using a viewing hood in favor of household tungsten lamps, my prints improved dramatically.

    2F/2F
     
  11. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I've never seen this... maybe my safelight is too dim to notice. I also always develop to completion.
     
  12. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Try to eliminate variables so don't try to judge print values under dim amber lighting in the darkroom. Develop the print to completion and then view the print under your "normal" viewing conditions. Base the exposure on those values taking dry down into account.
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I understand what you are saying, and it is a valid way of working -- one just has to mentally account for changes in the fix the same way one would have to do to take in account dry-down, future viewing conditions, etc. (since what one sees in the developer tray is nothing like seeing the final print anyway.)

    Vaughn
     
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  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The Nail That Stands Up Will Be Hammered Down.

    Perhaps there might be a grudging acceptance that a different point of view is not necessarily grossly inferior.
    (If there has been an official dogma pronouncement, forgive me. I have been away.)

    What one sees in the developer tray might very well be what one sees on the wall.
    It all depends on what you believe, and how you work,
    and how one integrates and manages the variables that make expressive work POSSIBLE.

    With papers like Elite and Portriga, and others before them,
    it was possible to judge highlights and shadows to a nicety,
    and practice Factorial Development as Adams discussed.
    This is not dark magic, but simple craft. See David Vestal.

    If this violates your personal belief system, I apologize.
    Do what works for you. I learned to print over a long period, a long time ago.
    What works for me, works for me.

    Responding to Suzanne's question, I answered honestly.
    Working with Ilford's MGs is different than working with any other papers I have ever worked with.
    There is no choice but to develop to a given time, fix, and turn on the lights.
    It is a lovely paper. It is a pain in the neck.
    I will use it until I run out of it, be thankful I have it,
    and hope that I can lay hands on a sufficient quantity of goodness-knows-what
    that lets me work the way I prefer to work, the way I am capable of working.

    I wonder sometimes how Edward Weston was so massively productive
    without benefit of all the fancy toys we litter the darkroom with today.
    Trusting his eyes, and his judgement. How quaint, how primitive !

    I wonder how a violinist can compensate for a room's humidity
    and changing temperature of his fiddle,
    or the shifting acoustics of a hall,
    and still play with perfect intonation, and great expression.
     
  16. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I'm glad you're back Mr. Cardwell. I've missed your beautiful insight.
     
  17. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Me, too, Don!! Welcome back!!
     
  18. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Well Don your not the only one who is driven to distraction by Ilford MG. I thought it was just me LOL.
     
  19. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yep it really is something -- one of my all time favourites.

    I did what turned out to be a 2 week shoot recently without Don's help I wouldn't have done nearly as good a job -- Jbrunner was also a big help.
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Printing as a belief system...no wonder you talk in terms of dogma! Believers in a particular dogma do tend to get upset when their particular dogma is questioned. I find your suggestion that those who do not follow your particular dogma (by developing to completion, for example) do not use their eyes and judgement to be typical of a true believer. But as I said, whatever works best for the individual.

    But I do agree that what one sees in the developer can be intuitively used to determine what the print will look like on the wall. I was just stating the obvious that the print in the developer and the print on the wall do not physically look the same.

    I have never used AA's factorial development method. I approached it in another way...seeing the fixed, but wet, print in a "standard" lighting condition to intuitively determine how to make the next print of it. The source of my intuition being years of printing to reach an understanding of how changing the various factors affects the print, including development time. I see this as very similar to your approach in its essence, just not in practice.

    Vaughn
     
  21. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I second that. Having been away from the darkroom for a number of years, I found I had to learn some new skills, as the materials available behaved much differently from the "old" days. And yes, Don, I also learned to print years ago the way you describe. Welcome back.

    Bob
     
  22. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Ages ago, I met a wonderful printer who had a viewing light on a dimmer, to examine a wet print, and because she only printed with one or two papers, was able to adjust the lux for whatever she was printing. Besides that, if she knew where a print was going to be placed, would visit the site and measure the viewing light. She examined her dry prints at THAT level. It was very simple to accommodate both techniques. When I started using a Thomas safelight, it was easy to adjust the safe light light to the be close to the wet viewing light. Of course a few papers didn't like that, most did, and sometimes a the restrainer needed to be adjusted in the developer.

    Back in the '90s, didn't Howard Bond talk about a wet light on a dimmer ? Can't remember.
    Anyway. Point is, we DON'T have to work in the dark, however we work.

    LOPAKA: Joe Clark, a great guy.
    CALLOW: where's the beer ?
    ERIC: The Ilford trick snuck up on me, I was drinking beer and printing and listening to a really good hockey game. It gradually sunk in what was going on, but it was too late to do anything about it so I just sat down, opened another pop and listened to the rest of the game.
    Everybody, I've got the COOLEST picture of Suzanne working in her studio.....
    But, umm, its d*g*t*l so I can't show ya !
    Matt: hiya ! Salmon running in Iowa ?
     
  23. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    To return to the original proposition, the reason that the print darkens as it fixes is that there is residual silver chloride (milky white) after development, which scatters light from the safelight and makes the overall tone somewhat lighter; what it is actually doing is veiling the shadows. When this dissolves in the fixer, the true blacks can be seen. Unfortunately, dry-down darkens the highlights, so it takes some doing to be able to accurately predict what the finished print is going to look like. From memory, certain developers like LPD showed the effect less than did Dektol. and the higher-end papers like Medalist and Ektalure showed it more strongly than Kodabromide. (I don't use a wide enough variety of papers today to know how much variation there is with modern stock.)
     
  24. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I've noticed a minor change of tone when prints go into the fixer, but it's barely detectable, and it only happens once in a while. It should be noted that I use a stop bath and a slightly acid (pH 6.5) fixer. The tone shift appears as a very slight increase in contrast. If there is a major shift in tone, something strange is happening. One possibility that comes to mind could happen with a water rinse and an alkaline fixer. It all the developer is not removed in the rinse, the print could start developing again in the fixer. The thiosulfate in the fixer could make the problem worse than you might initially believe, accelerating the development and adding fog until the fixing action overcomes the development action. This would be even worse if the the print were overexposed and not fully developed.
     
  25. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    OT : Don, I'm pleased to see you're back!!
     
  26. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, and besides the digital issue, I was having a bad hair day, er... month... :D