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  1. #1
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Greetings Gurus .... and all the rest of you:

    I have spent a lot of time trying to create negs (4x5 in PMK) that will print well on grade 2 paper with no manipulation. I also use grade 3 and have some VC paper I also use when thing go awry. I have gathered that some feel that PMK negs should be printed on VC paper as a preference because of the contrast changes due to staining. I have not yet walked down this road. Fiber papers are slower than RC papers and I like not using filters .... BUT ..... I am ready now to think about experimenting a little. I would like to know what the PMK neg - VC paper combo advantage is (from experience,,, I can guess the theory) and is it a first choice and are there situations that make it vastly superior etc. etc. Your comments will be much appreciated - Thanks -- Frank
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  2. #2
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    I think you must use VC paper. I recently shipped all my graded paper to a student friend of mine just to get it out of my darkroom. Now instead of having 3 or more boxes of paper for every type, I have one. I go through that box faster and therefore it is fresher. It is fresher from the store, too. Even with PMK (which I'm using), you may not wish to have a 1:1 transfer of negative scale to paper scale. It is nice to compress unimportant areas and expand the more interesting areas. A common example is a landscape scene with a few clouds in the sky. The sky may occupy the greatest part of the scale and if you print on a graded paper, your shadows may easily look lifeless. Better to print the shadows with a higher grade filter and print the highlights in with a lower contrast filter. That's the key to VC paper...different contrasts in different areas of the print, because natural lighting is never perfect, but it is your job to make it look that way. It is also very handy if you want a 1/2 grade or a 1/4 grade. You can tweek the grades down to nothing steps if you need to.

    I find VC to be plenty fast. With 5x7 negs I'm using an ND filter on the coldlight to slow things down and optimize the f-number (not use f/32 or f/45).

    Take more pix.

    Watch for Loose Gravel

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I prefer graded papers in general for PMK negs and in general for that matter (except for particular negs that benefit from split grade printing or burning/dodging with different grades). The theory is that PMK stain will reduce contrast in the highlights, since it is yellow green and increases proportionally with silver density. For the right neg, it may work, so I have a whole lot of boxes of paper, VC and graded for enlarging and Azo grades 2 and 3 for contact printing.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #4
    Aggie's Avatar
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  5. #5

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    I thought graded papers were not sensitive to yellow-green, which would negate any staining from PMK? Why use a staining developer if the paper can't see the stain?

  6. #6
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    I've switched from PMK to ABC pyro for all my film development and use both variable contast and graded papers to make enlargements and contact prints developed in Dektol and amidol, respectively. I switched because I get better prints with ABC. I started using PMK ten years ago because I got better prints with it than I had with HC-110. Why use a staining developer when the paper can't see the stain? Because the prints are better. Why are the prints better? I couldn't care less.
    Jim

  7. #7
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Good input all - I will be experimenting with VC and compare. I already have done a whole lot with graded paper. The graded paper sees stain density but doesn't change local contrast based on color - only exposure based on the density of the stain. I ordered some Cachet RF graded FB - I saw it listed as having a much greater silver content - I have been using and am calibrated around Forte Fortezo graded FB. I am not unhappy with it but I am searching for a greater D-Max (who isn't?) and maybe I am now ready for the next step. I have some Forte Fortezo VCFB paper that I have used for negs I screwed up on an dneeded outside the range of 2 or 3. I thought I might try the Cachet VCFB paper that is similar to the RF. Not always easy to find these - most are special order. I can think of a recent shot I took at the Cosumnes Refuge near Sacramento. The sky has a lot of drama but to get he image I want, I have to do a lot of burning. I think this shot would respond well to a low contrast foreground and a high contrast sky - this is fun!
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    To Dave M.--That's exactly it. The paper is blue sensitive, so the yellow-green filters out blue and pushes up the highlights, because the stain is proportional to the silver density. It also has something of a grain masking effect that is advantageous for enlargements.

    I'm also using PMK for negs to be enlarged and ABC for negs to be contact printed on Azo. ABC produces grainier results but more contrast than PMK.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com



 

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