going from RC to FB enlarging.
this one was put in a group, but gets no respons, so maybe better luck here ...
i've been printing solely RC paper (Ilford MG) for some time now and for an opcomming show i would like to make 40x40 FB prints. what things (other then longer everything-time) should i do or should i expect when starting with FB-printing? like i heard FB prints darken a bit some time after full-development, so how can i check testpieces to see what the result would be like? any help, advice or thoughts are welcome!
Depending on brand, some FB papers require longer developing times plus much more clearing times in the wash. I stronglt recommend a wash aid(HCA) and expect the print to have wavey edges when dry. Yes, the paper will exhibit some dry down darkening. I print to where I think the image is optimal then back off 10-15% on time to account for it(depends on paper:test for your preferences). I use test strips to dial in time before commiting a full sheet for first print, dry it then evaluate for B&D, time adjust, contrast adjust, etc. I keep notes on all steps and changes on a dry erase board in my DR.
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FB tends to show quite a bit more dry-down effects than RC. Not so much in glossy variety but matte changes a lot. When I make test prints, I squeegee, then either use a hair dryer or microwave oven to quick dry. Even then, the next day when it's completely dry, it's different. You'll learn to accommodate this change but it is a bit more work than doing the same with RC.
Also, when handling larger than 11x14, it's like wet noodles. It dents and creases very easily. Stop bath makes it slippery. I lost so many prints when it just slipped off of my tongs. Using more than one tongs or gloved hands are options.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
If there is dry down I would highly recommend, after fixation, dipping the print briefly in diluted (bleach and fix combined) Farmers reducer. Use it really diluted so that it does not work too fast and keep agitating it continuously so that the reduction is even. It is only common sense to develop it a bit darker than normal and expect a slight increase in contrast. You will understand why this is called liquid gold because it seems to be THAT valuable. Clean, pure whites without disturbing the rich blacks. - David Lyga
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Longer and more care, for reasons previously mentioned. Also watch out for (gloved) finger prints if you choose not to use tongs, usually from developer, as you will be holding them longer during transport between chemicals. I use spring tension tongs which will evenly hold up to 20"x24" wet double weight sheets (hands being required on mural sizes, printed with an adequate white border with which to trim in presentation). Unfortunately, planning on some amount of processing "breakage", may be necessary.
Originally Posted by maarten m
Dry-down may or may not be significant to your process depending on paper and image. Assuming it will occur is best. Some have used microwaves to hasten drying, though I find it unnecessary and sometimes misleading once one is accustomed to paper and working environment. The surest thing you can do, assuming your enlarger illumination prints consistently, is to print a "perfect" print, under-print one version, and over-print another. Dry them using your normal method, air likely being best, Come back the next day and observe them under proper viewing conditions before arriving at a final printing regime, which may include everything from ambient room light to balanced spot. I would only wish you luck if you attempt to evaluate anything other than starting points with anything less than your entire composition on a full sheet of paper.
Last edited by ROL; 07-15-2013 at 12:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
As mentioned earlier, large fiber prints are difficult to handle. A few things that I tend to do when making large prints:
1) I will sacrifice a sheet of the large paper, and cut it down to 8x10 or 5x7 pieces, then use those on some small portion of the overall print to dial in the exposure, contrast, burn/dodge recipe etc.
2) Up to 20x24, I put my trays next to one another, and grab the paper with gloved hands and siide the print from one tray to the next, over the lips of the trays. Once the prints get bigger than that, I don't use trays anymore, but go to a tube. NPS14, schedule 40 storm drain pipe will accommodate a 40" wide sheet of paper, and you may be able to scavenge a piece if you keep your eyes open. Seal one end, and put a cap on the other and you are set. Another method is to get two people, and put your chemicals in the trays that they sell for wallpaper - then roll up the print and slide it back and forth through the trough - works best with two people.
Everyone has pretty much said it all but if you're toning, keep it clean. You don't want to go through all the trouble of making nice fiber prints only to discover that you poked the paper, touched the edge, had wet hands when you first touched it, didn't use Hypo or wash enough. Dedicated tongs for dedicated trays and work very very clean. Find a drying regimen that works for you.
FB paper is a lot curly when it dries. Dry it slow. The slower the better. If you dry it too fast, it will roll up into a tube.
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The above is really good advice, and good method even if you don't tone your prints.
Originally Posted by Ghostman
With experience we all learn how our papers behave. The paper I use has similar density when it's wet in the print washer as when it's dry... Makes it easy to judge. Sometimes I print darker than normal on purpose, in case I tone to make the toning more pronounced, or to use bleach like David Lyga suggests, which really cleans up the whites nicely.
If I hadn't used a particular paper before, I'd try a print that looks good when it's in the wash, and one with 10% less exposure in the enlarger, to compare, and base my judgment on what final print times would be. That has worked well for me in the past as I have switched paper. Hopefully that will help somebody else too.
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