I was thinking about getting into alternative, non-silver based contact printing processes. Only one problem: the biggest negative I shoot is a 6X9, and even that is out of an old Brownie (most entertaining camera I own...)
So, under the kind guidance of J Brunner, (thanks Jason!), I was pointed to ortho-litho film. Frankly, I haven't the foggiest (pun?) clue on how ortho litho works, how to expose it, etc, etc. Do I test strip away for a proper exposure? Are exposures measured in seconds like paper or tenths of a second like film? Do I need an A/B lith developer or can I just use dektol? the questions go on and on, but the point is, can you kind souls give me some advice in the arena of the non-******ly enlarged negative?
Here is just one method:
... and another method on the same site:
You are about to begin a real adventure, so have fun with it!
For almost a year, 6x9 Brownie negs were all I contact printed in cyanotype. They're actually not a bad size and if you group them together, they fit nicely on an 8x10 sheet of paper.
Personally, I strongly suggest the method suggested in the first of Tim's links, with however, substantial alterations.
To make negatives by reversal is substantially faster than making them via an interpositive, and you also get, provided you get it right, very first quality.
Should you be interested, mail me for more detailed hints, here a few initial points:
forget about hardening of washing with sodium sulfite. As a first developer, I recommend Rodinal in one of its current forms.
With this film developer you will get a much longer tonal scale than with the paper developers recommended elsewhere.
Use dishes without grooves. I have often got a funny sort of ghost image of the grooves in the final neg - spoiled it, of course (did not try grooves and rodinal, but i suspect you may run into problems here also).
I do 4x5 cyanotypes, I love the size. 6x9 is pretty close. I'd start with the native size just to avoid problems. Get the process down.
I use 4x6 strathmore drawing for cyanotypes, I buy the little books. No trimming of paper needed, 6x9 would fit sweetly on a 4x5 piece of paper.
They make great postcards. Also framing them in inexpensive frames and hanging them in a grid looks very impressive.
Making enlarged negatives can be done but interpositives are a huge pain in my opinion.
I too would strongly consider development by reversal.
You would expose your ortho lith film like paper, process it so it comes out like a b&w slide and you're good to go (once you get the process down)
I've made 3 or 4 enlarged negatives over the years that came out 'good'. I used ortho film, I used panchromatic film for the diapositive, etc. I followed guides. I just suck at it.
If you look at the articles section here on apug there are a large assortment of formulae for reversal processing kindly provided by one of the members. Alessandro Serrao has a great article in the alt. process section, and Ian Grant has provided many formulae in the Film Developer - Non Staining section.
Also, Ilford has a very easy to follow PDF on reversal processing. And 8/16mm reversal processing of movie film is a good, informative read too.
Having a timer that can handle tenths of a second is handy. I use an analog timer that only goes down to 1 second. Dilute dektol works, I like Ethol LPD. Either way.. You can watch the positive and negative 'come up' in the tray.
Get a nice thick piece of glass for contacting the film and keep it meticulously clean.. Allow yourself about an inch for a border as you'll inevitably get fingerprints somewhere, if not on the glass on the positive or the negative.
I feel like I kill every post I reply to. Sorry.
why omit the sodium sulfite?
Originally Posted by Lukas Werth
I read that one result of using the sodium sulfite is that the sodium sulfite changes the chromium from the evil nasty hexavalent form to a less toxic valence
Originally Posted by Lukas Werth
I think I will end up using Arista Premium paper dev, simply because thats what is in my school's darkroom. HOWEVER, with that in mind, can you give me some more pointers on processing by reversal?
About sodium sulfite: it just does not seem necessary to me, as the dichromate washes out without problems. I rely on the yellow colour to disappear, and give the film a few additional washings. Then anyway goes the redeveloping developer over it (for this I use a paper developer), which is alkali as is sodium sulfite, and many developers contain sod.sulf. (not that I checked particularly).
I print gum/casein, and use dichromate for contrast in other processes, I just make sure to keep my hands out of the stuff, but I am, to be honest, not over concerned, as I use it in some form daily when I am printing. The one substance in occasional use which I treat with utmost care is mercury chloride.
The reason I use Rodinal (2 min. predevelopment water bath, ca. 1:50, 8 min dev, first min. cont., then once a min) is: I have tried a number of developers before, including some mixed by myself, and Rodinal seems to give consistently the best results. Sometimes, with this process, mistakes show up only when the film is fully processed and dry, and this is tiring. Paper developers may work well if the original neg is not too contrasty. Mine often are, as I mainly want to enlarge negs meant already for alternative processes. In these cases, when you try to make sure that the shadows are well exposed, the highlights become very flat.
Other recommendations depend also on the local water quality: I always make up the bleach bath with distilled water, and give a short wash with a little distilled water after the stop bath.
Oh yes, I forgot: as I mentioned already, to avoid ghost images, use a dish with a flat, clean bottom. I got them custom made for me (surprisingly affordable by a company at the outskirts of Berlin); or glue a peace of flat plastic into a dish. But i use one dish all the way long, changing baths by pouring fluids in an out. Saves dishes and space, and, most importantly, you don't damage your film by lifting it in and out.
For flashing, I place the exposed film under a 15w bulb attached to the ceiling, and connected to a timer (between one and two sec.).
Actually, this might get you started.
Thank you gents, this post was timed perf. for me. Been tossing around trying this process, it was a great help.... THIS is what APUG is in its living and breathing form.