Scott, I can't help you with the paper since I haven't had much success with it either (although after reading many of Bob's posts about what to do with it I'll probably give it a try again soon), but I was going to say that, like Bob, I only use gloves to handle the prints and toss them after every print. Nitrile gloves are super cheap, and in my case, eliminated contamination problems not in the trays, but on the prints themselves. Also, it's much easier to 'snatch' prints with your hands than with tongs.
So it was an interesting day/night yesterday. I found out where the splotching is coming from (sort of).
I made up some more A/B of the arista powder. Splotched by the second print.
Since it seemed to happen in every developer and when the bromide content rose, I took it out of the equation. The B solution has it already in there.
I looked on the internet and found a simple alkaline solution for B (5.2% w/v NaOH) which is Kodak D-9.
I ended up playing with that the rest of the night....different ratios/ dilutions/ adding KBr......LOTS of wild things.
Anyway, it just showed me that something in the Arista B doesn't play nice. It could be their solution or my tap water. The next step will be to make it with distilled. The shift quickly to yellow/orange was quite the indicator that something was awry.
Using my mixed homebrew was kinda fun and I got a really warm color I liked but it didn't have that extra bit of pop. I think it had to do with a shrunken range and not being able to reach blacks. The strange thing about this homebrew was the lack of the 'explosion' in the fixer. It actually was even weird compared to other papers in regard to the 'bleaching' effect. It was like the fixer wasn't really doing much. This just reinforces that it was a wonky and incomplete/insufficient development. However, I'd love to have that warm tone with the mids lighter. I actually liked the muted blacks. Maybe used in a two bath dev....
I made the A/B stock solutions in distilled water just not working solutions. That will be next....
Oh Bob and Rachelle, I used gloves and prefer that over the tongs....
Scott, I was going to say it might be something in your tap water. I've used both the liquid and the powder developer, and have always had almost identical results with them. Currently I'm using the powder, and my tap water must be of exceptional quality since I have never seen anything like what you show in your print above. That's wild and completely whacky.
What I do with lith printing is that I never use old brown from other developers. Always the same developer, so if I switch from one brand to another I toss all old brown and carefully rinse the bottle it was kept in. I scrub my tray with a well used scotch brite pad every single time before I print. I use a dish brush and scrub my developer tong too (yes, I use tongs unlike everybody else here; they're stainless steel with silicone rubber coated tips and I can easily move 16x20 prints with them). Basically I make sure there is NO chance of contamination. Mixing beakers are cleaned out too, just in case. And in your case it makes sense to use distilled water also.
I'm sorry you're having trouble. Whether you're contact printing or enlarging shouldn't matter. Light is light is light. Shouldn't make a difference, as long as the plates you're contact printing aren't contaminated with something that the Arista Lith developer reacts to.
Good luck, and sorry I didn't respond to your PM sooner. It's been hectic days here.
No worries Thomas, it's all good.
My water might not be good mixed with developer but its known for making good beer ;-)
" Celis required a water profile as close as possible to Hoegaarden. He found that in Austin, and opened the Celis Brewery (1992? 1993?), using a recipe for the Wit that was, he claimed, the original Hoegaarden. "
Well, then everything is well in the world. If there's good beer, then everything looks better. :) Forget about print developing.
Originally Posted by schrochem
The bad news is that it isn't the water. The goods is that it isn't the water....
I'd much prefer to use beer loving tap water than fool around with distilled.
Anywho, I have some fotospeed coming in today. I have a plate I'm giving to the family and was trying to give them a nice print as well. I have dozens....hahaha. Well a lot of partial test pieces.
To give them the plate I need to varnish it and paint the back black. I don't have to paint it but I feel that's easier on them than backing it with black felt or something.
Doesn't really matter, because the point is once I give it to them no more prints ;-)
I kind of like the finality of it. I'm pretty sick of the damn image at this point anyway.....that's a lot of hours watching it come up in the developer.
But it's all good, lots learned and knowledge gained.
last night I used fresh ld20(no old brown) in a new tray and gloves....no contamination.
It was going well as the bath became seasoned the splotching slowing came in. I had ordered some semi matte and tried that.
It was similar but different. As it was developing it was a foggy layer that slowly 'ate' away.
This is not like a transition to infection but like a clearing of fog in a weird way...
Well this was splotchy. However, if I let it go to deep blacks they splotching would be gone and uniform.
I was able to do this as well with the glossy but it was more susecptible.
It preventing me from snatching earlier and I had to settle on the colder blacks.
To make sure, is a dark red light 5 ft above (on the whole time, exposure,dev,etc) okay?
I wondered about the light source for exposure so I diffused it more but the results were the same.
I have to only guess this has something to do with contact printing.
However, Thomas and Bob seem to have really quick development times so perhaps it goes through this state really quick?
I don't have a heater so this happens later as my bath cools. I start with hot water.
So last night I repeated the ld20 test and for the print I was making the splotchiness eventually disappearing wasn't an issue.
I usually start with hot water from the tap. This gives minmimal splotchiness. As it cools and becomes seasoned it gets worse and dev times increase.
I'm not sure why this 'layer' has trouble clearing for me. Bob and Thomas seem to be the printers with the most experience with this paper here.
Based on their workflows I'm wondering if the heated mixture, strength and short dev times make this 'phase' go rather quickly and it's not as perceptible as mine.
It took me awhile but I thought Rudman had mentioned heating the dev for this paper and found:
"Although not my ideal for Lith printing, it will respond to dilute lith developer and I
know those who like its somewhat different look, especially with higher contrast
negatives. It has less interesting (or perhaps more subtle, depending on your
viewpoint) results than the others listed here but yields an ivory colour with rather
grudging infectious development. Better in hot lith developer or with added
bromide. Recent batches appear to have a whiter base and are trickier to lith. It does
however deserve special mention for 2nd pass lith - redevelopment in lith, after
bleaching a conventionally processed print. Pulled at the right moment it gives a
delicate blend of soft warm browns and cool greys."
I have no idea why you see what you see. It's a complete mystery to me.
I'm currently in school in addition to working, so I can't spend too much time here. I just don't have enough spare time, so I can't test it for you... Wish I could help more.
Good luck with your adventure. Can you find a way of maintaining the developer temperature at a higher level? Like a fish tank heater, hot water jacket, tray warmer (there are some stainless steel ones recommended to me by Max Marinucci that look nice)... There are many ways to do this. I used to have a space heater with the trays on wire shelves, and the heater directly underneath. That worked really well too.