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  1. #1
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Silver gelatin prints little too dark or little too light

    Hi all,

    Sometimes I get my FB prints little too dark or little too light. I notice this when prints are dry, and when I look at them in day light.
    It is really small nuance, but I would like to correct it.
    What procedure is best to lighten or darken print a little bit? Toner, bleach...? I would not like to change color or prints (tried with high concentration of selenium toner).
    Somebody told me that I can lighten print a little if I put it for long time in fixer again?

    I can't make my own solutions (don't know where to buy raw chemistry), but I regularly get stuff from fotoimpex.de.

    thanks,

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Best = Reprint with a different exposure time

  3. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Best = Reprint with a different exposure time
    +1

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4

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    Also, it could be that your darkroom viewing light (the one you use when judging your print after fixing) is inconsistent.
    What works for me: 40 watt bulb, about 1 meter up from viewing surface pretty much straight up (I don't know the precise distance, but it is mounted in the ceiling and always the same, covered by diffusion glass.)
    Pull print from the fixer, rinse for 30 seconds in a tray of water.
    Place on a piece of glass at right angles to my eyes, as I stand and look down at it, staight on (so, the print is just above counter level). Final dried print always looks right, and my system also accounts for print dry down.
    I had to try different wattages, etc, till it worked, but it always does.

  5. #5
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I have always printed three different looks for myself and my clients.

    It always is significant as to where your print finally ends up. I sometimes see the darker prints under halogen lights and they really pop.
    For portfolios that are viewed in different locations I sometimes select the lighter prints.

    I think it is very good practice to have darker and lighter prints than what one would consider normal. Certain images look best dark and others tend to look best on the lighter side.

    I have always been considered a deep printer , which means my best prints look best with halogen spots highlighting them.

    I do not think there is any right answer to your question, as you can change the lighting conditions for most prints.

  6. #6

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    There is no silver bullet. But it is helpful to acquire a range of options. Different kinds of paper have different amounts of dry-down, and lighting in the darkroom or studio might not equate to final display lighting. Often it is easiest just to reprint something, especially on a different day, after your eyes and mind have had a good rest from long printing sessions. Bleaches work best only on tiny areas of a print - best for adding a little sparkle to a highlight rather than overall lightening, which is tricky. It's easier to go the other way, and enrichen blacks in some papers with some extra selenium or gold toning. Not even Babe Ruth hit a home run every single time, so there's no shame in having to redo certain
    things in the darkroom. It's part of the learning curve.

  7. #7

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    Get a Zone VI drydown timer

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chip j View Post
    Get a Zone VI drydown timer
    A what?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  9. #9
    jp498's Avatar
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    drydown; highlights change a lot (the whole print changes actually) as things dry. You have to dry a print to see how it's going to look. I use a hair dryer or microwave if I'm in a hurry to dry a test strip.

  10. #10

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    Its basic purpose is to be a timer gadget that translates your enlarger exposure times while making test prints into a warped time that will keep your dry prints looking the same. Theory being that you expose your tests normally and decide which one looks best wet, then use the dry timer for the final print. Yes, you have to set it up first for your paper and toning but it then takes care of the percentage math for you.

    It has its fans and detractors, like all darkroom aids. Personally I think that it's a bit over the top for a hobbiest but a working fine print photographer should like the consistency.

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