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Thread: Lith printing?

  1. #1

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    Lith printing?

    What controls colour? The paper? The developer? Or a combination of the two? How long until I have any real idea what I'm doing?-)

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    Hi Nick

    I have been lith printing for a few years now, you can see some examples at elevatordigital.ca. I find that the paper generally controls the colour and exposure /flash control the contrast and look of the print. I normally use Champion Nova Lith developer which has its paticular look. I have been forced by supply to mix my own lith and notice that the look is different with the new formulation.
    Bleaching, toning will also change the look of the print in a very dramatic fashion.
    Lith printing is endless in application and looks and can keep you experimenting for years
    Have fun

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    Ole
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    Colour is determined by the paper, and controlled by the developer

    Fortezo Museum has some very surprising colours in Fotospeed Lith developer, at least sometimes. At least sometimes, when I do it...

    So far I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, which to me is part of the fun

    If you want to learn to control the process, I suggest you ask Tim Rudman - read his book, and/or ask him directly.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    I've been using Kodak D-9 developer that I mixed myself. Paper has been Agfa MCP or Forte polygrade [I forget the name]. When I started out I had some colour with the Forte and a little with the Agfa. Now that the developer has aged to the point it's slow enough I'm getting almost no colour. I'm going to replace half the developer with fresh. I've only got 20 sheets of paper exposed so far. I won't call them prints.

    With the Agfa it seems I either have no highlights or the blacks go too black. It's happening at the edges of the paper with the middle taking longer to build. I wonder if the paper is bending in the developer tray? I'm trying to avoid poking the prints too much. A couple of days I had prints with what looked like damage from being bent. But the paper wasn't damaged.

    I've read the Rudman book. But I think I've got quite a few sheets of paper to expose before I know what I'm doing.

    Thanks.

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    I agree with ole; the chaos is addictive (apart from the long waits in the dark). I also bought Tim Rudmans book which is great, tho I am hardly a lith veteran. I must have been lucky as with Oriental, Agfa MCC and Forte it hasn't taken too long to home in on a good print (I have however used ready mixed chems). By the way I find that I am not exposing the paper for 3x that for a normal print. In fact I have so far used flat negs with minimal paper exposure with good results. For me the critical bit has been when to snatch the print. I keep the safelight off until the image is starting to build (to allow me to get away with the next bit), then get real close when it is almost done so I can really see the tones in the print well, so I can snatch it at the right point. It does not take much too long to ruin the print. Just like the rest of photography; ages sitting about then blind panic stricken rushing. My experiences have shown that it is best to pull the print when it looks a bit pale and flat as the blacks really rocket in the fixer.

    Maybe all a bit obvious....

    Good luck,

    Tom

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    Ole
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    My most successful prints so far have been from negatives with too much contrast - or too long a tonal scale. With up to 10x exposure, the highlight separation will show by colour changes just before th shadows all go flat black. That to me is the greatest potential of lith printing: Not the soft flat highlights so often shown, but the infinite gradation through miniscule colour differences you can get from a really long-scale negative. With, of course, a 10:1 ratio of failed to usable prints...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    I think I read some place to try using less then perfect negatives and so I've been using some high contrast ones. 10x normal exposure? I've sort of settled on 3 stops. Any more then that and the Agfa goes black. Looking at all the bad Agfa prints I'm starting to believe the problem is how I've been agiating. The Forte prints are only 5x7 and the paper reacts slower so maybe that's why I'm only seeing the problem with the 8x10 Agfas.

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    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
    I think I read some place to try using less then perfect negatives and so I've been using some high contrast ones. 10x normal exposure? I've sort of settled on 3 stops. Any more then that and the Agfa goes black. Looking at all the bad Agfa prints I'm starting to believe the problem is how I've been agiating. The Forte prints are only 5x7 and the paper reacts slower so maybe that's why I'm only seeing the problem with the 8x10 Agfas.
    That's where the fun starts: Developer, age of developer, dilution, paper, agitation, temperature and probably also phases of the moon all influence the finished print.

    I agitate mine "occasionally": Enough to ensure they don't float to the top and dry out, but not much more. So far my developer has been rather cool, more like 16-18 than 20 C.
    Some of my paper is (very) old and would be hopelessly fogged in any "normal" process. None is as old as my very old Agfa Brovira, which I haven't tried yet. Since I haven't bought a new pack of Agfa paper in 30 years, I have no idea what they're like. I use Forte, Foma, Maco, Tetenal, Bergger and Seagull, and find that quite sufficient to confuse me beyond any hope of straightening.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    I may have figured out how to tame the Agfa paper. Standing in the dark staring at the tray I thought why not try a prewash of the exposed paper. I did that with the last print. 10 minutes or so in the developer and I had to pull it out because of time issues but the under developed print didn't show any of the problems that the paper had been giving me without the prewash. Just a soak in plain water. OTOH it's slowed things down even more then normal-)

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    I had a chance to try it again today.

    1st print I forget to prewash the paper. Went straight into the developer before I remembered it. Pulled it out after a few seconds and soaked it. Then into the developer again. I don't know if the print was underdeveloped or if the developer is too weak now. I'm leaning towards weak developer. 15 + minutes in the developer.

    With me screwing up the first print I exposed a second while I was developing the first. When I went to pull it off the easel I noticed it was on top of the blades not under. @$#$@. Prewash then into the developer. Nothing. For almost 30 minutes. I think I put the paper on the easel upside down. @#$#$@#. It finally came up but was very light.

    While this was going on I exposed a third sheet. Gave it an extra stop of exposure. With 20+ minutes in the developer it wasn't any darker then the first print.

    I'm going to dump half the developer and replace it.

    Well at this rate a box of paper will last the all of next year-)

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