XXL enlargement

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by gattu marrudu, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    I started discussing this topic here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum41/73425-designing-xxl-print-developing-system.html
    And I came up with a few good ideas about processing XXL prints.

    Now it's about which method to use for enlarging.
    I want to enlarge small sized negatives to about 4x6 ft, so I am thinking about projecting on the wall with a small enlarger.

    The negatives are pinhole shots and they are quite fogged - so I might end up having 1h+ exposure times. A halogen light would bend and shift, and evenually ruin, the negatives, even in a glass carrier.
    That is why I thought I might use an energy saving bulb, the most powerful I can find, and add a computer fan cooler to the outside of the bulb case. Light stabilization should not be an issue with such times.

    The other problem is which paper to use. Begger produces rolls up to 127cm tall, which is my ideal size, but it is extremely expensive (even compared with the excellent Adox MCC or Fine Print), and it only seems to come in warm tone.
    The other option would be using liquid emulsion on high quality, 300g/mq watercolor paper. Fabriano Artistico comes in 140cm rolls. I never used liquid emulsion so I don't know if it would be very hard to spread it over such a large surface.

    Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    gm
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    When you print that large, your enlarging lens also becomes important. Most standard lenses work well to about 16x20.

    With exposures that long, you should also consider reciprocity failure of the paper.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2010
  3. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    I've made lots of mural prints, some up to 30 feet long. For paper, I've used Adox MCP310. You definitely want to use RC!
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/12042...42-inch-x-33-ft.-Mural-Roll-Glossy?cat_id=501

    I have access to a darkroom with an 8x10 enlarger, which I can point to the wall. Other murals I've created by exposing sections of the paper under a regular enlarger.

    The rolls of mural paper were developed in plastic troughs. Roll the paper tightly, put it in the trough with the developer. Then grab the end and and start re-rolling the paper, so it's like a scroll. Just keep scrolling and re-scrolling the paper until it is developed to completion. Repeat for the other baths.

    Drape over a clean clothes line to dry.
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Very, very big enlargements of small negatives are limited by diffraction caused by the very small effective aperture. You can cheat physics by making a 4x5 or 8x10 internegative and enlarge that to your huge size.
     
  5. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    I am replying here to Ian, who wrote me in private, and Thomas.
    Thanks for the reply. I have already tried some quite strong enlargements, not so extreme though. I am enlarging from 35mm details, and I have found a Schneider 28mm which seems to work well. I definitely want the grain to show, and probably aligning the enlarger head with the wall plane will be tough...
    As far as enlarger, I have a DeVere 507 but even that won't go far enough, so I have to use a small Durst to project onto the wall.
    I am also thinking about building a "tunnel" with black cloth between the enlarger and the wall to minimize light spilling. Last time I printed 65x130 cm I noticed that the larger I went, the lower the contrast got.
    @vdonovan: Why RC? It's so ugly!
     
  6. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    BTW I should enlarge something like 150x.
     
  7. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    Hi gattu, RC just makes paper handling easier. It's sturdier, less likely to rip, and dries nice and flat no matter how you hang it.
     
  8. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    FB paper can be handled carefully enough to avoid damage, but RC has that "cheap plastic" looking finish which I do not want to give to my photos.
    I really would like to go watercolor+liquid emulsion. That would make a sturdy, custom sized support with a beautiful look. I am only afraid of the gelatin cooling while spreading, and the lower contrast (I might need quite a bit of that because of light spilling).
    Has anybody experience with those sizes?
    BTW internegatives *might* be a good idea. I tried that before, but I had problems with a "double grain" effect: the grain of the original negative, which I want to preserve as much as possible, being disturbed by the internegatives' one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2010
  9. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Hi Gattu,
    I have made large prints from 35mm negatives both direct and with large format internegative dupes. I had a lot of room in my shop for horizontal projection with several enlargers. As Ic-racer states; diffraction is a serious problem. In spite of that, there may be something artistic in that look. I got around that by enlarging with longer focal length lenses and using filters, so I was essentially using monocromatic light. This makes a big difference when using a lens well outside its best range of performance. Unfortunately, exposure times are ridiculous but are greatly improved with a condenser enlarger (point source fastest).
    Just a thought regarding internegatives: I would eliminate the grain of the original negative most of the time. You could try a high contrast graphic arts film to retain the original grain but not have grain from the internegative. You might need to balance your 35mm negative exposures to get the best results.
    I built 3 very big enlargers and used flourescent lights for my diffusion source. It is not the power of the lamp which is the most important.
    I inherited a 16 x 20 enlarger. The light source was 6 x 500w photofloods. It also doubled as a stove and oven. I replaced those with 6 x 15w x 24" fluorescent tubes. The result was no heat worth considering and the same exposure times.
    If I can help with more; let me know.
    Regards
     
  10. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    I have a light box with 10 actinic tubes (180W total, and an amazing light power - not bad for energy and heat saving!) which I use for alt processes. I can switch the UV tubes with white light, and build a reflective "funnel" to converge the light to the original lamp housing. That would dissipate heat very well and make a diffuse source (I would prefer a point source for better sharpness, but that's the lesser evil). See illustration
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    What about "hangar" size? :D

    The world’s largest pinhole photograph

    [GVIDEO]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8711483461517692046[/GVIDEO]

    Marco
     
  12. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    Interesting - although I am definitely not in a contest for the largest picture (I'm not American, eheh... although I took these pictures in Chicago). I think each work has its optimal size, and 2m is the right one for this project - if I ever get to show you those pictures one day you will understand why.
     
  13. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Well, actually, I am in Europe too, and wasn't involved in this project. But I have done a bit of liquid emulsion work. Fun, but at times also a bit frustrating, due to the fragility of the emulsion layer.

    Grazie per l'invito, ho studiato la lingua italiano da 2005, ascolto la Radio Rai quasi tutti i giorni. Forse visiterò Sardinia un giorno. Il tuo sito web è interessante. Vedo che hai stampato molto in formati grandi. Sfortunato, non sono in grado di fare simile nel mio stanzo scuro...
     
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  15. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    By the way, in my experience, cooling of the gelatin should not be an issue with coating. Just make sure you keep the stock gelatin liquid by storing the container of molten emulsion in a bath of hot (e.g. 60 C) water. It will keep the emulsion at high enough temperature for you to work with.

    Of course, with such big sizes you want to work on, the use of a very wide brush (at least 10 cm) is recommendable, to coat the paper quick enough. I personally prefer soft synthetic brushes over stiff hog hair brushes, gives a much more smooth result. To get an even coat, I would recommend at least two (thinner) layers, maybe three thin ones, and than quickly finish it off by sweeping the brush very softly (without added emulsion) over the whole coated section to remove any bubbles.

    Try finishing the coating process in maybe 10 minutes or so. Before attempting big sizes, try optimizing your coating technique with smaller sizes. It will help take the stress out of the coating process with big prints if you feel more comfortable with it.

    By the way, I don't completely understand your remark about "contrast" issues with liquid emulsion. The image can be very good, just look below at one of mine, done with Black Magic VC (Variable Contrast) emulsion, subsequently sepia toned. Although the emulsion only goes up to grade 4 if I remember well, it is good enough for most purposes:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2010
  16. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    By the way, love the concept of your Fotospazzatura garbage camera's!
     
  17. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    Grazie dei consigli! Vieni pure a visitare la Sardegna!
    As far as contrast, I noticed that, even masking most of my darkroom with red or black, the larger I went the more I had to push the contrast. A print that looked fine on grade 3 in a 30x40cm format, would still be almost too flat at full magenta filter on a 120cm width. That is why I was thinking about using Adox MCC which claims to rach a true 5.5 grade. Too bad the height of 106cm is too restrictive.
    That is also why I prefer using cold light, so I can use additive (blue) filters without reducing the light strength too much.
    I can see brush strokes in your liquid emulsion image pretty clearly. Did you leave them on purpose or is it something you can't avoid?
    gm
     
  18. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    To be honest, I have never printed that big. Actually, just today, I made my biggest print ever, a 4x5 neg on 50x60 cm paper. I haven't noticed any of the effect you describe, but that doesn't mean it is not happening. I would be interested to hear what other readers of this thread have to say about your contrast issues related to enlargement size...

    Using a brush to coat, means brush strokes. Some people may be able to do it better than I did, but in my opinion, it is part of the "game", and enhances the hand made nature of the print.

    There is a method though to avoid brush strokes, and that is using a "coating rod". I have never done it, but many people here on APUG should be able to help you out with that. However, I am pretty sure not many will ever have used a coating rod the size you would need to coat at the size you plan to print.

    So all-in-all, the "wide-brush" option is probably the most realistic, although taking on the challenge of creating a super-sized coating rod might be fun too. I am sure there will be a number of APUGer following your endeavours with a lot of interest...

    Certamente ricorderò il tuo invito. È un piccolo sogno personale vedere una stanza scura con l'attrezzatura e spazio per stampare "super-sized", come tu fai! Non sono molti che hanno l'opportunità. Sei fortunato!
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You might want to try to send Bob Carnie of Elevator Digital an email. He's probably one of the best printers alive, and he makes some very large projection prints. Of course I can't vouch for him responding, but he's usually more than helpful. He's an advertiser at this forum.
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am blushing Thomas

    I am making 30x40inch murals from Guillume Zilli pinhole 35 as well as 40x50 inch mural from 8x10 with no issues.

    things to consider when making large sharp murals

    Black wall darkroom and surrounding to behind the Enlarger setup
    this is probably arguable by some workers , but I have done enough murals to know that this is a critical element.
    Good optics with glass carriers, with laser aligned walls, no skimping on this-very very very critical
    I use Apo lenses whenever I can .-Critical
    Magnet wall so to hold the paper.- Critical
    Vacumn system though a good idea really needs a huge system to hold fibre and I have never seen the system that could do the job properly therefore good magnets
    two stop down as normal printing- critical
    mask out negative so no flare. Critical
    Dodging and Burning is the same as a small print , just a bit more difficult as you need to work from the side of the enlarger and practice until you get it.
    Full test strips rather than step offs, and one waste sheet for dodge and burn.
    Split contrast is easily done with the larger enlargers and nothing changes in that respect.
    If you are using a good enlarger the basic exposures should be in a realistic time line and is not a issue.

    Fresh chemistry and lots of it
    A normal negative should react basically the same for a 8x10 inch print vs a 40 x50 inch maybe a slight boost in contrast is required.
    I use a 3.5 min dev time, acid stop double fix .
    I use time temp method, since I am using 40 litre chemistry and my darkroom is humidity and temp controlled it is hard to move this chemistry's temp if the ambient is at 70.
    I use hypo clear and the wash is quite a proceedure.
    A hot developer is good beside the dev tray to take care of small isssues. dipping a sponge and putting on the emerging print where needed.
    this is why I like lith printing as it forces you to look at a print in the dev and any hot spots can be treated quite easily

    Hot press the murals and mount to either Acid Free Rag or Diabond

    hope this helps
    Walking into a mural assignment is not taken lightly and all of the above is important and as well a good assistant.
    Do not take on a mural print project unless you have time and willing to finish off the wash process in the single run.

    It should be pointed out that all of the above my opinion only and is what I consider when making prints.. these points are not end all be all, have to happen , but from my perspective to make gallery quality prints that photographers will buy it is essential.
     
  21. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    That's great. Thanks a lot for the precious advice.
    A few things:
    - How does an apo lens improve the quality? By reducing diffraction?
    - You enlarge up to 12x according to what you write - I will have to enlarge from tiny details up to 100-150x. That would probably make a difference in terms of reprocity, exposure times and related heating issues.
    - I use some home made Ansco 130 developer for printing large format. This is an amazing developer, it lives forever (useful when you make a lot of it), especially when you use it at stock solution for maximum contrast.
    - I also use a sponge from time to time, although using gloves and dipping your hands in the chemicals might be more effective. I discussed the paper processing in another thread though, and probably the best solution is rolling the paper in a half pipe shaped tray.
    - Washing is an issue indeed. How about rolling the paper vertically in a large tube and flooding it like a film reel? Maybe even sealing the bottom end and leaving just a small drain tap so the cehemicals will flow down to the bottom like in an archival washer.

    I know there is a lot to build and experiment. My whole photography career has been about it.
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Practice makes perfect

     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The smell comes back :D

    Have to agree, many lenses were APO before Canon made the term a desirable sales feature, so suddenly one day a lens was sold as an APO without any changes except to the name :smile:

    Ian
     
  24. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    BTW if anyone needs the formulas I am using , I defer to Ian Grant who has helped me economise and work from scratch formulas.

    He is the man.
     
  25. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber

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    And the day Bob will spell or say my name right, cows will fly...!
    But for murals listen to Bob.
    :smile:
     
  26. gattu marrudu

    gattu marrudu Member

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    Which formulas do you use?
    For my latest large format project I used Ansco 130 (I get glycin in 500g cuts from Photographer's Formulary when I am in the USA since it looks impossible to find in EU); acetic acid (but I will use citric acid next time! That stuff smells in wide containers); double plain hypo fix (sodium thiosulfate + sodium sulfite - http://www.heylloyd.com/technicl/plain.htm ) and a separate acid fix for test strips so I don't pollute the one reserved for final prints; selenium toner 1+25 OR Agfa Sistan (very useful to get an uniform drying, acts as a wetting agent). Water at each step.
    I think this is a pretty economical and effective concotion.

    As for the enlarging plane, as Bob suggested, I might use a thick wood board with a steel plate attached, so I can use magnets.