Lith problem with MGWT
Hey fellow lithers, and more specifically the MGWT lithers,
I need a bit of help. I got some MGWT and have had some great success with the paper and really want to see what all I can do with it. However, I have two problems I can't figure out. I want to make sure it's clear that I am contact printing with ambrotype (collodion on glass). This might or might not be contributing to the issues. These are not intensified or developed as a negative but regular ambrotypes meant for black backing. I've had no problem with fomatone and fomabrom. I'm exposing with a 40W bulb with a piece of cardboard over it with a hole punched in it. It's 2ft above the print.
Unfortunately, I purchased arista lith developer at the same time and so I don't know if that is part of the problem. I thought for sure it was because switching to LD20 it went away. I had read about the tricky snatch point so I know about that and the 'explosion' in the fixer. Having said that, on to the first issue.
This is with arista lith, 70:70:2000 with about 250ml old brown (from a frustrating session with fomalux). As the development progressed, I could see the image fine but there was the foggy layer. Well it didn't really go away. It was like a mottled scum layer. The weird thing is I could see the infection(albeit slow) progressing 'under' this scum. Being new to the paper I thought this was the stuff that would clear off in the fix. It actually looked like the type of stuff that would. Well it didn't..... The very strange thing about the arista bath is it would go REALLY yellow quickly after a few 4X5 test prints (in 2L dev bath). That's totally different than LD20 so I thought it was definitly the arista. I had similar issues with arista and fomalux (different story.....)
Stop bath is 1%acetic and the fix is 1:7 Clayton archival rapid fix. (2 baths).
Attached is an example of the mottled scum.
I switched to LD20 and I was able to make some prints and learn a bit about the different snatch point. However, toward the end of the session I started to see problem 2 (splotching). It was almost like the inverse of problem #1.
As the development progressed I would see the foggy image (as usual for lith IMO). Then I'd see these black splotches start to come out of the fog. They were in the shadows and mids but completely random from print to print. These weren't blacks progressing from infection but random spots on the print. I chalked it up to warn out developer. I could let it progress and the final image would be fine but the splotches were prominent. See second attachment
Ok, so that is what happen the first session. After reading some things further I wanted to make sure these weren't from contamination. The tray I used has only seen lith developer. However, I was wondering if the arista didn't like some residual ld20 from previous sessions (although I cleaned the tray). So I cleaned the tray well and last night decided to try 40:40:2000 arista with NO old brown (in case it was contaminated). I saw the same problem #1 and quick yellowing of the arista bath.
So I clean the tray again and make up the same dilution with ld20, 40:40:2000 because I wanted to see what colors i could get out of MGWT with the higher dilution. Well that didn't go so well.... I immediately saw problem two. I thought because of the weaker developer I might have to use more exposure than my previous session. I went from 20s to 2min. Then I saw problem #1!!! crap. It was late and I was tired and frustrated and gave up...
Is it possible that overexposure (or wrong exposure) could cause this? That perhaps the arista needs FAR less exposure than LD20? Therefore the high overexposure would kill the bath that fast (seems unlikely)?
Is it possible I got a bad batch of MGWT?
How about the glass causing weird reflections to cause #2? Like a magnifying glass 'burning' areas with extra exposure. If so why would it be mainly in the darks.
Agitation was fine. No edge developing out faster. These were 4X5 test prints in a 12X16 tray so there was plenty of room to move around. The first session with LD20 did produce a nice print that I uploaded.
I was hoping for some gritty grain that I like in lith but it wasn't there. So that might be related to these problems? Also, if you look close you will see the problem 2 splotching to the left of the girls (and elsewhere). It just wasn't that bad at that point and just got worse.
I hope that was clear enough....
Any help or comments will be much appreciated. I ran out of LD20 but have PLENTY if arista....it's 30X less expensive than the LD20. That sure would be nice if it worked for what I want to achieve.
Two other things I've thought of.
Would touching the emulsion cause the second problem? I'm using a guillotine paper cutter to dice up 8X10 sheets and so I handle the paper.
Also, I was mixing the A and B concentrates in the tray not separate and adding. I'd put 2L of water in the tray, add the A, stir, add B, stir, add old brown and stir. Is it possible the concentrates being added like that don't play nice?
This is the powder version of the Arista which I found out is not the same as the liquid arista...
One last stab in the dark here. I'm not sure but snatching happens fast and I'm sure my tongs get in the stop. Bringing that residual acid into the developer isn't good for the alkalinity but could that cause these problems?
I'm wondering if it's what is killing the arista lith. Compared to other formulations it doesn't have glycol which might help buffer the solution?
I think this might fall in a realm that even Rudman couldn't figure out.....
Nonetheless I did some further tests last night. i used easylith and at first it was fine, then the splotching started. After some earlier reading, I decided to add some KBr to delay the lith effect. Well this made it require more exposure. Which might be part of the problem.
I also went back to the Arista powder lith mix and added more B(has the KBr) than A and had the same issue right away. Then I decided to use more A than B and it was good for a few prints and then the splotching started...
I think the emulsion of the paper doesn't like the ambrotype laying on it for very long. The longer the worse it gets. Going from problem 2 into problem 1. As the bromide starts to build in the developer this problem gets worse and worse. For some reason the Arista shifts yellow rather quickly and assume it getting to that state quicker. If I add lots of exposure (time the glass is against the emulsion) it seems to get worse and worse.
The other papers I've used a lot are fomatone mg and fomabrom. I believe fomatone is considered a contact paper and fomabrom is semi-matte. I got the glossy version of MGWT. I'm wondering if the glossy surface and it being an enlarging paper have created this problem. For whatever reason, as the dev exhausts (Bromide increases) it gets worse. Which has me wondering if the semi-matte of MGWT will do the same thing.....
I don't want to give up on the paper for contact printing ambrotypes because i have had some nice results when it works. I also realize I might not get much help because not many have done this exact combination.
You are contaminating the developer for sure, I have been using Ilford WT since its launch , in fact I was a beta tester of the product. . I have never seen a bad batch of paper from Ilford. Not that that says it all but reading your posts , you have so many variables I think there is other things happening.
Originally Posted by schrochem
Thanks for chiming in Bob. I agree it's not the paper.
I've had it happen with three different developers so I'm not sure where the contamination would be.
Have you ever contact printed with it? I'm wondering if it doesn't like being in contact with the collodion. These plates are 'bright' and have not been varnished.
May I ask what developer you use to lith this paper?
I only do enlarging for lith, other than some inkjet negs to lith , but my main workflow is with an enlarger so I cannot comment on your working method.
I started using Champion Nova Lith A B -- If I could find it again I would stick with it.
I currently use fotospeed AB,, I also have used Morechs 5 which btw was really good.
I just saw the Arista A B in larger liguid containers and may give that a go.
If you are every bringing tongs backwards from stop to developer it does not matter what developer you are using you will get contamination.. I would advise you
to get out of that practice.
the pull time for Ilford WT is very different from other papers and I think this may be giving you some problem... I would use another recommended paper, until
you solve your problem... most papers you pull the print when the image looks right in the developer... That is not the case with Ilford warmtone as all the contrast
happens in the fix... if you wait until the print looks good in dev with this paper , you go to the fix and the print immediately darkens and becomes useless.. very tricky.
So I would switch to a paper like slavich 4 which is cheap and works very well for lith , and the snatch/pull time is indeed in the developer.
This will start taking out variables that may be giving you grief. but as I have said I have never printed collodion images so my advice is only geared to silver and inkjet negs.
Thanks again Bob for the response.
I'll admit that this is my first foray into the darkroom...
I felt last night I was more careful with the tongs but I'll make sure of it next time.
I guess I'll move the print to the side wall then use my fingers. It's just that snatch point makes me rush... ;-)
Yes, I read all about the snatch point being different from you and Thomas so I was prepared.
I did have some time with LD20 that allowed me to see what y'all were talking about and feel comfortable with it.
Last night when the bath was 'out there' I switched to fomatone and it didn't suffer from the same splotchy illness.
However, I realize it's a different paper and I can't really go by it.
I think the layer (or whatever you call it) of MGWT that makes that snatch different is what is causing the weirdness (reaction).
If you look at the first attachment in the first post it looks like a residual layer that just doesn't clear off. It's partially 'eaten' away but can't finish.
When I first used the paper, I thought this was the part of the snatch y'all were talking about because it looks like something that would clear in the fix, but that wasn't the case....
I still think there is something weird about that powdered arista that is another issue compounding this one...
I ordered some semi-matte and some more LD20. I'll be extremely sterile and give it another go.
I like warm tones I'm getting with the paper. I do want a bit more grain and therefore was hoping to experiment more with dilutions and exposure time.
Anyway, thanks again for your comments.
I have never used tongs in over 35 years printing.. I wear gloves that get tossed each and every run.. At first glance sounds expensive but with my concern for health it is pointless to use your hands in the chems.
find a medical supply house and put together a large order and be confident that you skin is safe.
Tongs are ok but when you get into larger prints the problems in creases and dings, not to mention the contamination issues you are talking about $$$$ far out weigh a purchase of gloves.
Sounds to me like you are having fun , and for me thats what a darkroom is for...
Yes, I'm having a great time! I'm enjoying lith like I do wetplate with all the crazy stuff that can (and will) happen ;-)
Last Friday I was wondering why my elbow hurt so bad.
I finally realized I had 'rocker's elbow' from lith developing Thursday Night :-)