Retouching (Spotting) 8x10 B&W Negatives
I knew it would happen. One of the shots I developed tonight has a nice dust spot (about the size of a pin head) above the mountain in the open sky.
I really don't want to look at the resulting black spot on the print.
Can anyone recommend a good way to "spot" the negative?
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I have done spots with both red and black fine point sharpie pens. It leaves a white spot on the print that can then be spotted in.
Another way that I have heard about but not used is to take a needle and insert the eye end into the eraser on a pencil. Now take this assembly and gently etch the base of the film at the spot. This will diffuse the light passing through the film and not produce a white spot on the print.
Marsshall and Dyene are dyes that can be applied directly on the negative. The come in red and black colors - you would need the black. Also, there is a product called Opaque Perfect Liquid ~ this would be a good choice, if they still sell it.
The best way is to scan into Photoshop.......just kidding. I use an opaque material by the same folks that make spotone it is called Photo Opaque. It somes as a black liquid. It is pretty strong and I have never been able to make a perfect match, but it give a white spot in the print which is a lot easier to deal with that a black mark.
Originally Posted by JMoore
Another approach if you are careful and that is to use an almost dry brush with a small amount of reducer/photo bleach. Have a cotton swab loaded with fixer to quickly stop the action. This way you are only messing with the print and not a valuable negative.
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Go to a photo store & order a bottle of Crocein Scarlet. A negative retouching media that works well. It is made for this use & is still easy to get from a decent photo supplier.
Originally Posted by JMoore
I have asked this same question, and gotten about the same answers (which I appreciate, don't get me wrong!). BUT, being impatient and experimental, I have developed an alternative solution, which is cheap and works well for me.
I found a very cheap pen nib (of the old dip style) in an art store nearby. It has an incredibly fine point (they would probably call it "extra-fine"). It came with a bottle of India ink for about $3.00. With a little practice, a strong back light and a huge magnifying glass, I am now able to place the tiniest dot of India ink right on the dust spot. This of course gives a very black mini-dot in place of a clear spot, and as mentioned above will print as absolute white on your print. From there it is easy to use Spottone to convert white to Zone Whatever.
Practice on some scrap negatives, use the the tiniest spot you can place, and remember that this is a one-shot deal. There are those who shudder at touching a negative, as it's forever. They would lobby for dealing with the prints only, but I find that my retouched negatives are now easily printable and saleable, where before I had relegated them to the seconds drawer.
You've gotten some good advice. Another thing you can do is to bleach the print before it is selenium toned. Get some tincture of iodine and a toothpick. Sharpen the point of the toothpick if needed. Dap toothpick in iodine. Touch the point of the toothpick lightly to the spot for a second or so. Wait a little while and repeat as often as needed. You will have a redish yellow stain on the spot until you refix, which you have to do to make the bleaching permanent anyway. After re-fixing, wash, tone, wash, hypo clear, wash, dry... You then spot the resulting white spot with whatever you'd like.
Another thing to try would be to tape a sheet of drafting film to the negative base. Do your spotting on that, and then print the sandwich. That way if you screw up the spotting, you'll not have ruined the negative.
Someone mentioned india ink. I use this with some gloss medium for retouching prints. It works very well. Unlike Spotone or Marshall's dyes, however, india ink is waterproof, which mean that you can't wash away your mistakes. With prints this doesn't bother me, but I'd be more hesitant with negatives.
Never having heard of this I looked it up at B&H in New York. A little pricy but at least they have it. Kodak offers:
Originally Posted by WarEaglemtn
Kodak Crocein scarlet (neo-coccine) 1-oz
Mfr # 1463751 • B&H # KOCS
Our Price: $ 22.50
Thanks for the idea.
Doesn't Victoria Cass retouching supplies offer the proper stuff for retouching? I would bet a nickel she does.