Prints dry too dark after drying

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by tbm, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. tbm

    tbm Member

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    In my 6 x 8 foot darkroom, on the table next to my three chemical trays and my water tray for holding prints prior to washing them, I have a light fixture sitting on it which has an exposed halogen bulb. It is very bright and I think it is misleading me into thinking my prints are satisfactory in brightness because they darken too much after drying. What do you experienced darkroom users use to view and analyze your prints successfully for brightness adequacy in relation to the pending dry-down darken factor?
     
  2. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    Here's an article regarding that very subject. Enjoy!:

    Les McLean dry down factor

    Joe
     
  3. carbromac

    carbromac Member

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    Ansel Adams had a small microwave in his darkroom and dried the test strips
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    In Way Beyond Monochrome the authors suggest that a light intensity of between EV 7 and EV 11 as measured by a light meter is the ideal viewing light intensity. Wandering around the house with a print in one hand and a meter in the other suggests to me that this is about right... Sounds like your viewing light is too bright as you suspect.

    Bob.
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    In my experience, printing large prints, then selenium toning them that I get variations anyway after drydown. Backing of, say 5% will still make some too dark and some perfect.

    I just print a few and later pick the one I like the best.


    Michael
     
  6. eheldreth

    eheldreth Member

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    I just watched a movie with Ansel Adams in it, and during a demonstration he was giving he actualy used the microwave in his kitchen. I remeber because he made some joke that his wife used to get mad, but now shes used to it.
     
  7. KenM

    KenM Member

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    tbm, you've nailed it - your inspection light is too bright. Go for a lower wattage, or move the existing bulb further away from the inspection area. I would also remove the prints from the tray and squeegee them off before inspecting them, as a wet print will look more contrasty. Personally, I have a 15 watt and a 25 watt light over my inspection board. Print comes out of the fix and goes onto the board. 15 watt light goes on, and then once my eyes have adjusted, the 25 watt goes on. If I print just so I can see detail in the highlights, I know the full detail will be visible once the print dries.

    As with all things, your mileage may vary.
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Switch to Polymax. I haven't given dry-down a thought since I started using it. I squeegee off the surface water and if it looks good, it's done. If I go back to using another paper now that Polymax SW is discontinued, I'm sure to waste a lot of paper. I'll have to reread Les's dry-down article
     
  9. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    Ansel did quite a few things that made Virginia angry, and I doubt she really got used to them.
     
  10. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Inline bulb dimmer

    I use an inline bulb dimmer. Approximately $10.00 from Home Depot. I have taken reading from the area prints would be dispalyed and set my print examination light to give a similar reading. I have a mark on the dimmer that I can set it to to get this light value. I use the light first at full power for print examination of physical flaws such as dust before turning down to the proper level. This is a large sized help. To be sure the print is correct as far as density is concerned one needs to be looking at a dried and toned print if the paper being used has more than a slight tendency to dry down.
     
  11. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear TBM,

    If you are using fiber based paper, follow the dry down suggestions. If you are using RC paper, your light is too bright.

    Neal Wydra
     
  12. geraldatwork

    geraldatwork Member

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    After reading Adams's "The Print" I tried his microwave idea and I find it works well. I also incorporate Les's way of working if I find a wet print looks perfect (before putting it in the microwave) I'll reduce the exposure 10% which I feel is about right for the Ilford MG fiber I use. I've also found if I've microwaved a print but not over cooked it it can be re-wet and saved if processed normally.
     
  13. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

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    MOST papers (FB or RC) dry down 10%. I've tested many of them (had an article about it in View Camera magazine). A few dry down slightly less. Your inspection light may be one factor, but exposing your "final" prints for 10% less and then letting them dry down is the best solution. It's critical for delicate whites, like snow and fluffy clouds.
     
  14. tbm

    tbm Member

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    Thank you all immensely, especially for the link to Les McLean's dry down article. What a superb sharing forum APUG continues to be!
     
  15. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    If you've got access to an FB print dryer, then simply dry the test strips/prints and make your assessment from these. BLIGHTY.