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  1. #1

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    Im getting weird lines in my prints when I mask..

    I was making some prints tonight and got these weird lines in them when I tried to darken the sky a bit. Do you have any idea what is causing this?


  2. #2
    Joe VanCleave's Avatar
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    It's either in your negative, or an artifact of your print development.

    First take a close look at your negative, the sky area, to see if these streaks are present. If so, this may indicate improper agitation during film development.

    If you're sure the negative is good, then you may not be properly agitating the print sufficiently during development.

    ~Joe

  3. #3
    David William White's Avatar
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    I'll assume a straight print doesn't exhibit this. When you burn in the sky, what contrast filter is present? A higher number contrast filter will bring out any present unevenness in the negative. A lower contrast filter will reduce it.

    How about your paper developer? Powder (Dektol, etc.) or liquid concentrate? If a fresh batch of powder, might not be disolved sufficiently.

    Do you see the unevenness after development but before the fix, or does it come out after the fix, after the dry-down? If insufficient fix, and this shows up after the drying print is exposed to roomlight, you will get this fogging in the highlights.

    In your title, you said 'mask'. Are you using a litho mask (high contrast version of the same print), to block out the shadows and burn in the highlights? If so, your mask might have this detail and contrast in the highlight (sky) portion.

    Offhand, without much to go on, that's a couple of things I can think of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David William White View Post
    I'll assume a straight print doesn't exhibit this. When you burn in the sky, what contrast filter is present? A higher number contrast filter will bring out any present unevenness in the negative. A lower contrast filter will reduce it.

    How about your paper developer? Powder (Dektol, etc.) or liquid concentrate? If a fresh batch of powder, might not be disolved sufficiently.

    Do you see the unevenness after development but before the fix, or does it come out after the fix, after the dry-down? If insufficient fix, and this shows up after the drying print is exposed to roomlight, you will get this fogging in the highlights.

    In your title, you said 'mask'. Are you using a litho mask (high contrast version of the same print), to block out the shadows and burn in the highlights? If so, your mask might have this detail and contrast in the highlight (sky) portion.

    Offhand, without much to go on, that's a couple of things I can think of.


    Im using Ilford liquid paper developer.
    I can see this right away in the paper developer.
    By masking I mean Im burning in the highlight using the same filter as I used for the rest of the photograph.

    This is a 8 sec exposure adding 4 sec to the sky, same filter the whole time. Then I put the paper in the tray with the developer and this apears with in 10 sec.

  5. #5
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    How long is your print in the developer?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    How long is your print in the developer?
    about 30-40 sec.

  7. #7
    applesanity's Avatar
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    I think i had this problem once. It has to do with how you put the print in the developer (dektol for me). It was caused by the print not being evenly covered in developer. You gotta make sure the print is entirely submerged. Lift one side of the tray up and down periodically to agitate. Also, I have it dektol for about 3 minutes. 30-40 seconds just seems too short such that it would cause volatility.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I think there are two contributing factors here.

    1. With the short exposures you're using, you stand a good chance of uneven exposure because you have so little time to do your burning. Stop your enlarging lens down a stop or two to give you about 1 minute total exposure with 30-40 seconds being your main exposure and your burning/dodging 10-20 seconds. This gives you a lot more room for error, because errors you make will have less significance and impact on the total exposure.
    2. Extend your developing time. An RC print is probably not fully developed until after one minute. I always develop prints two minutes or longer. Some fiber papers, like Fotokemika Emaks I let develop for 3 minutes or even longer.

    Also, what do you use to burn the sky? Do you cut a piece of opaque material to shape? Or do you use your hands or other tools? I think the way you burn the sky might be a contributing factor, but I don't know how you work.

    Good luck, I hope this helps.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
    Andrew Moxom's Avatar
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    I agree with thomas about lengthening your printing times by stopping down a stop or two. Then try inserting the paper into the developer emulsion side down for the 1st 30 seconds. Then turn it face up and process as normal for at least a minute. Then place in the stop bath for at least 30 seconds before placing in fix.

    If it's still there, then it's a neg issue or if the neg is clean, you are getting reflections projecting onto the paper during exposure somehow. Enlarger flare can be a problem in some instances. If your neg is clear, check the lens mount and inside that area for shiny metal or anything that could reflect light. Even external to your enlarger!... Or this batch of paper could be bad.. Unlikely, but not unheard of.

    Can you let us know what enlarger you are using as well? Condenser, or diffusion?
    Please check out my website www.amoxomphotography.com and APUG Portfolio .....

  10. #10
    David William White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by totifoto View Post
    Im using Ilford liquid paper developer.
    I can see this right away in the paper developer.
    By masking I mean Im burning in the highlight using the same filter as I used for the rest of the photograph.

    This is a 8 sec exposure adding 4 sec to the sky, same filter the whole time. Then I put the paper in the tray with the developer and this apears with in 10 sec.
    I agree with the others that you need to slow down your printing time, but you're probably developing the print okay, so the problem is probably in the negative. It would be hard to see on the light table, being mostly black.

    You didn't say what filter you were using, but I'm guessing 2 or up. So because you've got this unwanted density in the negative, I'd suggest laying down some uniform low-contrast density with 00 first, then go to your higher contrast filter for the foreground detail, instead of burning in your sky with a high contrast filter.

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