When water is a luxury

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by arigram, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I recently started using FB paper and I find the water use for even twenty minutes with hypo clear wash extremely wasteful. Even if I live in an island water here is a luxury so just one sessions with FB papers used up all the water for the day!
    I went to the Ilford method of washing films and I was wondering if there is a more economic way to wash fiber prints to archival standards. I don't have a hypo testing chemical to test if all the fix is gone. And ofcourse I don't have an archival washer or plan to get one soon as I can't afford one.
    Any ideas?
    If there was one thing that would make me turn to digital that would be it.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    During California water shortages, Ansel Adams (actually John Sexton, who was his assistant at the time) would wash prints with a system of seven trays, periodically dumping the first tray and moving it to the end of the line, and the prints passed the residual hypo test. I think he describes this in _The Print_.
     
  3. arigram

    arigram Member

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    SEVEN trays? I can barely fit the minimum of three 14x17" in my darkroom!
    Erhh... something a bit more viable? :smile:
     
  4. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Here's a process I've used very successfully.

    After running your prints through the washing aid (hypo clear), fill your wash tray with water, agitate your prints, but shuffling them one after the other, picking up the bottom one in the stack and placing it on the top (face to face and back to back) for a couple of minutes. Then empty the tray and fill it again, repeating the shuffling. Empty. Fill the tray a third time and let the prints soak for about an hour or two. Then return, shuffle them, and empty. Fill again, and shuffle, leaving them soak for another hour or even several hours. (I've left them overnight with no harm.) Then empty, fill, shuffle, and drain. Squeegee and dry them as you usually do.

    This is a total of five changes of water, with prolonged soaking in between changes. I've found that with a washing aid, the soaking leaches out any remaining fixer, or reduces it to such a tiny fraction in parts per million of water, that it's negligible.

    Residual hypo tests have indicated no problems, thus leading me to believe that this method is as "archival" as continuous washing. This uses a fraction of the water that even a 20 minute continuous wash does.

    In fact, prints done with this method 25 years ago are in better shape than some I did using a running water wash for 30 minutes. Perhaps there were other factors that prevented those prints from washing completely (water hardness, too much fixing time, etc.) but I think this method will work for you.

    Larry
     
  5. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Ari,

    It's nothing that money can't solve. :smile:

    http://www.summitek.com/
     
  6. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    You can check the website www.fineartphotosupply.com and they tell how to build your own archival washer.

    It seems to trick to archival washing is not necessarily a huge amount of running water but letting the prints sit immersed in a few changes or water so the fix can leech out. You should be able to devise a system to do that with things you have available.

    If you are too limited on water, I would only suggest that you stick to RC paper.


    Michael
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I don't think you need to wash in the dark-)) You can do it outside the darkroom. How are you doing two bath fixing with just three trays? No stop?

    Also you can go high. Build a tray shelf. Bottom tray would be the first tray. Top tray would be the cleanest water. This way dirty water never drips on cleaner water/prints.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, he had a lot of space, but if you want to try this method, you can build a tray ladder and stack them vertically, or use one tray and seven vessels of water that you pour into and out of the tray.
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Sea water can be used for most of the washing. Then you don't need the washing aid. IIRC, this was discovered some time ago by necessity. One of the first commercial washing aids was simulated sea water, was it not?
     
  10. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I'd love to see a photo of Ari carrying buckets of sea water up the hill to his home from the shore. :wink:

    While you're stuck with the absolute water conservation requirement, Ari, along with the absolute requirement for proper washing of your fiber prints (versus less washing for RC), don't forget to consider the tail end of the water conservation issue. You might, for example, consider the various possible "gray water" uses for the water used in print washing, thereby saving some fresh water "credits".
     
  11. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    Having been a similar situation I ended up using the tray soak method. Put the prints in the tray & let them soak for a half hour. Then dump & change the water a number of times. Per residual hypo testing 7 changes of water over a 4-5 hour time period with 6 prints in an 8x10 tray came out clean.

    I would run at least two changes of water before going to bed at night & then the rest in the morning inbetween breakfast and skiing around town to check on stuff.

    David Vestal in an article I think was titled "mysteries of the Vortex" printed his results of soak rinsing in Photo Techniques a few years ago. It is worth getting for the information.
     
  12. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Thank you all for the replies guys!
    I really feel bad about wasting water so it is very importand to me.
    I don't do much FB, its mostly 97% RC but even one fiber print wastes enough.
    I'll try that prolonged wash technique, it sounds good.

    Ralph, my house is actually on the center of the city, on the hill that is just two minutes walk from the port. :smile: If I could find a good way to use sea water I would, but I wouldn't pick up the dirty one of the port.
     
  13. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    20 years ago I lived in a small village in Southern Italy very near the Ocean, the water was not portable and I had water tank which had to filled. I printed FB and when it was time wash I put the prints in mesh bag and using a line tied to a large rock I just tossed the bag into the sea and let the currents wash the prints for 2 or 3 hours, followed by a soak in fresh water. I just looked though my box of reference prints, none have faded yet.

    Regards

    Paul
     
  14. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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  15. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Using less water

    Since water usage is so critical to you, I would reccommend Hypo Eliminator. It is much more effective than washing aids. It uses equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia. Some feel that it will weaken the fibers on fiber based paper. My experience has shown that some papers show frilling of the emulsion but most do not.
     
  16. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The following are excerpts from the thread (URL below), posted by Richard Knoppow. These excerpts are consistent with my own darkroom experience.

    http://www.photokb.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/photo-darkroom/765/Hypo-Eliminator-Toner-Archival


    “HE-1 can be made from household ammonia and drugstore
    peroxide, both are about the right strength. The Ammonia
    should be just ammonia, not the kind with detergent in it.
    In order to be fully effective some potassium bromide
    should be added. For those interested the formula is:

    Kodak HE-1 Hypo Eliminator
    Water 500.0 ml
    Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) 125.0 ml
    Ammonia Solution 100.0 ml
    Potassium Bromide 15.0 grams
    Water to make 1.0 liter

    The Ammonia solution called for is Ammonia, 28% diluted 1
    part to 9 parts water, i.e. 2.8%. Household Ammonia is
    generally about 3%.

    If the bromide is not added the eliminator will not remove
    some hypo-silver complexes.”

    Note that Hypo Eliminator is alkaline enough to cause
    disruptions in the gelatin of some materials (pin holes).
    This is generally insignificant for prints but is not for
    film. Hypo Eliminator should NEVER be used for film.
    Further, since the main effect of the eliminator is to
    remove hypo from paper support it is really unnecessary for
    film or RC prints.

    Kodak recommends its use only when one has problems with
    toning.

    Images that are completely free of hypo may be unusually
    vulnerable to oxidative agents in the air. These are very
    common and include auto exhaust, exhaust from gas heaters or
    stoves, paint fumes, and many other sources. While in the
    past it was thought vital for long print life to remove
    absolutely all hypo it turns out that it isn't necessary
    and can be counterproductive.

    The point is that it (i.e. Hypo Eliminator) is not really necessary. For film or fiber paper sufficient washing for archival life can be gotten by using a wash aid (i.e., HCA) followed by a reasonably short wash. Prints are more likely to last if toned especially if they are to be displayed. Negatives generally
    don't need toning.

    RC paper does not need wash aid because it washes out very quickly
    even when fixed in hardening fixer.

    The two-bath fixer IS necessary unless you don't need (fiber based) prints to
    last for more than a few years.

    Richard Knoppow
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    dickburk@ix.netcom.com
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Mysteries of the Vortex by Martin Reed. Dan
     
  18. lievehenk

    lievehenk Member

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    If you don't have any space...I use a Nova print processor. Go and have a look at novadarkroom.co.uk. Also for very good archival printwashers.
    My films i wash with just two liters of water per film. Simply by filling and rinsing five times 1 minute and 5 times 2 minutes. That's what you can do with paper also, only it takes more time than just a minute.
     
  19. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    Thanks for the correction on Mysteries of the Vortex. My memory isn't what it oughta be.

    On the Hypo Eliminator. Will there be any shortened print life or greater susceptibility to aerial pollutants if the print is fully toned after using it compared to Hypo Clearing agent and full toning?

    If one uses Kodak selenium toner and then HCA, will there be a difference in reaction to the airborne pollutants? Any studies on it that can be summarized for us laymen to understand?
     
  20. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    One more to add on the limited water issue. A few Culligan or similar 15 gallon jugs filled with water & stored will help with the soak method. This will allow you to keep extra water on hand when flow is low or availability isn't the best. If there are any temp fluctuations with the water it will also keep it at room temperature and ready for use.
     
  21. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Check out my earlier post and go to:

    http://www.photokb.com/Uwe/Forum.as...-Toner-Archival

    There is a good list of literature references there on the subjects you are interested in.

    I believe that the current recommendation for archiival washing is that HCE (Hypo Eliminator) is not needed if you use HCA (Hypo Clearing Agent) followed by a reasonable water wash and toning.

    If you choose to use HCE, the recommendation is to follow the HCE with an HCA soak, a water wash and toning.
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    In that article, Mysteries ... , the very scary performance of a big
    brand archival washer is pictured.

    The Image Permanance Institute, IPI, whose main concern is
    microfilm, has suggested the total removal of all fixer and then
    treatment with a measured amount of sulfide. Sulfide at solution
    strength of 1 part per 10,000 has been found to be completly
    effective for archival results.

    HCA after selenium toner? I've not seen any studies. I don't
    suppose it would hurt. Follow with a wash.
     
  23. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A friend of mine who was getting his Phd in Microbial biology (prior to doing 7-15 in a men's club nestled away in the Michigan country side) told me that washing was less efficient*, although faster, than soaking and changing the water.

    The fully saturated paper will become equalized with the water. It is at this point that the water should be changed and the paper left to soak until the two have reached equalization and then the process repeated.

    *Efficiency being measured by the amount of energy and water used to achieve a thoroughly clean print.
     
  24. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I would'nt trust to an archival washer. If I had one I'd do as some do;
    fuss with the prints, shake the bubbles off, keep the water running,
    then cross my fingers. I'm quite sure they are more trouble than
    they are worth.

    I use a still water diffusion method. I process one tray but when
    washing I use two. An interleaving method is used. Prints alternate
    with very porous hydrophobic sheets. Be sure a sheet is placed at
    bottom and at top of stack.

    A little fussing is needed as the stack is built. For an 8 x 10 use
    250 ml water at bottom then a sheet then a print, and last
    another 250 ml H2O.

    After the fix give a rinse, hca, and rinse then build a holding
    stack as prints become ready. Or you may wish to hold at the
    hca. They will be moved to the first wash when you are ready.
    I've had zero stain with 3 washes. For a uniform wash do not
    mess with the prints once they have been settled in.

    I've very hard well water and use only distilled. I do my hikeing
    in the Cascades of Oregon's Northwest. Dan