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  1. #1

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    Maybe you've never tried graded paper...?

    I had never tried graded paper. I just assumed that stocking paper in several different grades was too costly, and too much of a PITA, so I stuck with fiber based VC paper.

    Somehow recently, I stumbled on the web page of an east coast photographer named Paul Raphaelson, who stated that all his prints were made on Forte Fortezo grade 3 paper. Paul was kind enough to share some of his experience with me.

    I'm in the thick of printing for a show, and bought some Fortezo grade 3 glossy. Amazing stuff! With VC paper, I often found that slight variations in exposure made the difference between a decent print and a throwaway. With this paper, there is a wide variation in what will make a good print. The highlight rendition is just fabulous, and the blacks are ..... really black. I've never had such a productive print run. So far, being limited to one grade has not been a problem: I'm printing my best negatives, which tend to be properly exposed and developed.

    So, if you've never tried graded paper and/or never tried fiber, give it a go. It's a whole different world.
    "If You Push Something Hard Enough, It Will fall over" - Fudd's First Law of Opposition

  2. #2

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    I'm not sure they are all so good tho. I use G3 fortezo and it is in a league of its own I agree - you should try it with pyro type negs! I found Bromofort to be a real let down tho and totally unremarkable. Oriental Seagull gragded is great too and good deal colder than their VC.

  3. #3
    ann
    ann is offline

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    And here i thought i was only one of the few dinosaurs left.:rolleyes:

  4. #4

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    For past few months I've been using graded paper (Oriental Seagull fiber) & love the tones. Have only used grades 2 & 3 so far. Also started using split development (or two bath) that enables me to vary the contrast within a single grade. So far, have tried Edwal Ultra Black in combination with Agfa Neutol. I believe there are some other techniques available for altering contrast within a single grade - need to peruse the books.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  5. #5

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    Doug

    About 18 months ago I won an ebay auction of 200 sheets of Ilford paper 12X16 grade 3. I was extremely hesitant to use it but really pleased when I did. I agree that the exposure latitude is wider (or more acccomodating) and found this to be quite a bonus when 'finding my feet' in the darkroom after a prolonged abscence (20 years ). Some of my best renditions have been on that paper. However it gets even better when you 'know' the paper/dev combination and you use fstop timing. To me my image making (darkroom work esp) came on leaps and bounds by using graded paper.

    Phill
    It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.

  6. #6
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughowk
    For past few months I've been using graded paper (Oriental Seagull fiber) & love the tones. Have only used grades 2 & 3 so far. Also started using split development (or two bath) that enables me to vary the contrast within a single grade. So far, have tried Edwal Ultra Black in combination with Agfa Neutol. I believe there are some other techniques available for altering contrast within a single grade - need to peruse the books.
    Try overexposing and under developing the paper to reduce the contrast and change the print colour particularly with warm tone papers. Start by making the best print you can giving full exposure and say 3 minutes development in a single bath developer. Having done that double the exposure and reduce the development by something like 60% and compare the print with the first one made. You will have to experiment to produce the exact contrast you like but the above is a good starting point. You also need to start with a negative that shows good contrast.

    Another useful dodge with graded paper is to use a harder grade than you think is best for the image, say grade 4 instead of 3, make a test strip to determine tonality etc and develop the print in either soft and hard two bath developer or use water bath with a normal developer. The end result will be a print with contrast somewhere between 3 and 4. I find this dodge useful when printing snow scenes and want the zip of grade 4 but don't want the darker tones to be too black. The soft developer or water bath prevents that. Again you need to experiment to get the print to you taste.

    Using a very dilute normal developer will also help control and change contrast and print colour. For example instead of 1 to 3 use 1 to 30 and increase the exposure and development times.

    Have fun
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  7. #7

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    And, of course, there is contact printed Azo, developed in MS Amidol...
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  8. #8

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    Thanks, all. Yes, I want to try some of these tricks to play with the contrast. But for now........ man, the prints are just falling out of the enlarger! With VC paper, I could never get delicate highlights while still having a deep black somewhere in the print. No problem with this stuff.

    Hopefully, in light of the difficulties at Ilford and Agfa ( and who knows about Kodak), these smaller companies can continue to suceed in their niches.
    "If You Push Something Hard Enough, It Will fall over" - Fudd's First Law of Opposition

  9. #9

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    I recently contact printed 25/ 5x7 pyro negatives for a show. Using a regular cold lite; non VC, I slipped a #3 V.C. filter in with a #3 graded paper to slightly reduce the contrast. Worked beautifully. You can get slight variances with this combination. Graded paper is great stuff!

  10. #10

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    The other interesting thing: when I look at these prints, I don't think "warmtone," even though Fortezo is marketed as a warmtone paper. I'm using Dektol instead of my usual Formulary 130, which seems to cool it some. But by comparison, Ilford Warmtone is really objectionalbe, IMHO.
    "If You Push Something Hard Enough, It Will fall over" - Fudd's First Law of Opposition

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