newbie lith questions
I finally tried out some Moersch easy lith on Wed. I'm just curious, when I do it again, does saving some of this week's "old brown" help to get it going sooner next time and how much do I add? I made this week's batch by using 20ml of A, 20ml of B, and 1000ml of water. Should I replace some of the water with old brown (though it looks more yellow than brown) or add it on top of the 1000ml of water (assuming I make the same mix)?
Attached is a straight print and a lith print of the same image. The straight one is on Ilford warmtone fiber and the lith is on Art 300 (the middle is slightly darker in both - pretty sure the lighting was a bit uneven, but maybe the development was). Is what I got for lith pretty much what I can expect with Art 300? Exposure-wise, the straight one is f16 for 12 seconds and the lith was f8 for 10 seconds. Should I try more exposure or is that in the ballpark? I really like it - the scan is close but doesn't really show the texture. I didn't get anything with the RC I have except uneven development.
If I want to try other papers, which is suggested (I know, I'll probably get 15 answers from 10 people)? I know Marianne likes Fomabrom 123 (and I like her look from what I've seen in the gallery), but I saw someone post that it's not that easy to start out with.
Yes, I'm now addicted, btw.
Originally Posted by winger
You can save 1 liter of old brown (and replenish with each session if you'd like) and add 50-100ml to one liter of fresh solution. You may have to play with that a bit. The exposure looks good (based on the highlights) and keep in mind that Art300 gives somewhat low contrast results with normal exposures. You may want to try more exposure but only use 10ml each of developer per liter and bump the temperature up to 90-100 degrees. You may get a bit more color and interesting results, although Art300 will still give pretty muted and neutral colors in lith. Paper wise, that negative may look great on Varycon, or even Slavich (but with Rollei Vintage developer) with heavy exposure, dilute hot developer and an early snatch. So many possibilities! :)
Good luck but that's a GREAT start!
Something I found helpful.
Start with 500ml of old developer (warmed to 70 or 80f) in the tray. With the lights on, drop a test strip in while you're setting other stuff up. See what happens to the test strip. Sprinkle a pinch of sodium sulfite on it, see what happens.
This way you can find out what is in the old developer, to some extent, before adding developer and water to full volume.
It's also a great way to test the infectious response of a known lithable paper. What makes the image explode on Forte or Foma isn't exactly the same for the Art 300, I bet. And congratulations on the new addiction.
Thanks! So more dilute and higher temp with more exposure?
Will a tray of hot water stay warm long enough to heat the developer from below for a 2-3 hour session? Or should I look into a plant warming mat?
And I do foresee more kinds of paper. I just haven't really tried many besides Ilford. Does it help to also have regular developer there to see what a "normal" exposure is? Then open up the aperture a few stops?
For whatever it is worth, here is my accumulated experience with lith printing:
I am currently using Arista Lith because it is lower priced and works as well as Fotospeed and Moersch (which have all worked well for me. I did not have good luck with Rollei Lith.)
With the Arista Lith I am using 20ml A:20ml B:1000ml water:75ml old brown. Other brands were in the same general neighborhood.
I typically leave the developer from a printing session sitting in the tray overnight to oxidize even more. It is usually strong tea/weak coffee colored by the next morning. As Max suggested, I then top off my 1 liter Old Brown bottle for the next session, and dump what is left. Sort of reminds me of that bread recipe where you save a little of the old dough as a starter for the next batch. To season the first mix, you can put a sheet of paper (any brand/type will do in your developer, and leave it there with the light on for awhile.
I strive to get the nice, pinky highlights that I like with the least amount of exposure. Since my negs are fairly consistent density-wise, I start with the same f/stop-time factor every time I print, then go up or down in time from there, depending on results of the first print. That also helps season the "new" developer, even though it has been spiked with old brown. I usually don't start getting the color I like until the 3rd or so print anyway.
I like to keep my developer at about 30c, and get snatch points of 3-5 minutes. I'm not sure if a plant warming mat or baby pig heater would keep it that warm. I found a contraption (I think called a Phototherm) that heats and recirculates water; an 8x10 tray fits into the container as a water bath, larger trays sit on top. It is thermostatically controlled and works great.
Paper: lots of people here have good luck with Ilford paper. It has not worked that great for me. I love the pinky highlight tones that Fomatone gives me, so I stick with that for lithing. I don't know why people say it is hard to start with. As long as you use tongs so as not to contaminate the paper in the developer with your fingers, and don't poke at the paper with your tongs, Foma works great.
Well, that's about it. My knowledge is exhausted. My brain is empty.
Another way of keeping the developer warm is to use a tray with water, of the same size - then the warming water does not get cold as fast. I have tried OB but I have never seen any big differences, so I just skip that for the most of the time. As Dan above, I start out with a set time (in my case 90 seconds at f8) and then I adjust as needed by eye. The most useful thing I have is the red led torch I bought from RH Designs. Maybe expensive, but it has been super handy for the Fomabrom papers.
I forgot to mention a "torch" (flashlight to us Yanks.) I bought one of the old fashioned, plastic, L-shaped flashlights at an army surplus store, and somewhere along the line came up with an amber lens that makes it a perfect portable safelight.
Originally Posted by Jerevan
I use roughly 300-500ml of old brown to 1.5 of solution using the Rollei/Maco developer. I think I use more than most folks, though. Regarding the exposure, it depends what you want. More exposure, less contrast. Less exposure, more contrast. I have zero experience with the new ilford paper, but Tim Rudman didn't seem enthused by it. Lastly, I think I am the one who said that formbrom (not necessarily 123), is hard to work with. From what I understand, the glossy paper (stuff I have) behaves differently that 123 (what Marianne is using). I just bought a pack of 123 and will be giving it a try because I also like the tones of Mariannes photographs.
Thank you very much, Dan and Mark. The combined experience of this site is the best! Not only would I never have known about lith and what I could do with it, but to get all the help here is fantastic.