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  1. #1

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    Negative retouching

    Time to fill in some pin holes. Anyone successfully retouching their negatives to turn those tiny clear dust spots into not-so-tiny gray or black blotches that are more amenable to spotting on prints? If so, what solution do you use? I remember reading a few years ago in an article by Huntington Witherill about a solution, not Spot Tone, which was then available. Can anyone point me to an article that gives current choices?
    Thanks.

    PS. I just got my new website up, and I would like feedback. If you like it, reply here. If not PM me.

  2. #2
    ann
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    there are several on the market, the most common (?) Kodak's Crocein scarlet . Marshall's has one for negative as does Veronica Cass.

    Can't point you to a specific article, but it is not hard, however, it is not easy either; is is every thing else we do, it takes practice. oh, yes ; good eyes and a steady hand.

  3. #3
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    I *hate* spotting prints.

    First ... check you shortstop intensity. I do not use shortstop on film ... I can hear all those LOUD gasps out there ... but that is my decision ... and it is a result of enduring pinholes in the past. If anything, I'll use a plain water wash, before fixing, and that is it.
    Shortstop is usually 28% glacial acetic acid and water: 16ml/ liter. I know quite a few photographers who will reduce that concentration to 5 - 10ml/ liter.

    I really dislike doing *anything* to a negative. I'll suggest bleaching the print - you can always make another:
    Potassium Ferricyanide - diluted a bunch with water, a Q-Tip ... and a whole bunch of patience. You might try another Q-Tip with standard fixer after the (very) localized bleaching ... and re-wash afterwards.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckled Edge
    Time to fill in some pin holes. Anyone successfully retouching their negatives to turn those tiny clear dust spots into not-so-tiny gray or black blotches that are more amenable to spotting on prints? If so, what solution do you use? I remember reading a few years ago in an article by Huntington Witherill about a solution, not Spot Tone, which was then available. Can anyone point me to an article that gives current choices?
    Thanks.

    PS. I just got my new website up, and I would like feedback. If you like it, reply here. If not PM me.
    You have gotten some good information from others. Some of the methods that I have tried are:

    1. The finest point red Sharpee pen, gently applied, will work on sizeable pinholes.

    2. Use a fine needle embedded in a pencil eraser and gently (I mean gently) scratch the base side of the film. This will cause the enlarging light to diffuse when passing through the negative and work at retouching the pinholes.

    3. I agree with Ed about the stop bath and stop bath strength. I dilute my stop to 1/4 normal strength when using pyro developers.

    4. The Veronica Cass dyes are great. I use an Adams retouching machine to magnify the area to be retouched. That makes it easier.

    5. Check your film holders (if applicable). Dust can be a culprit as much as stop bath strength.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    ann
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    second the vote on very weak stop. oops third vote.

    Donald; that retouching machine , is it basically only used to magnify?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckled Edge
    PS. I just got my new website up, and I would like feedback. If you like it, reply here. If not PM me.
    Well Deckled...I like it, A LOT!!! Very nice layout and beautiful work..since I'm on my lunch here at work, will review it more at home..will let you know if I see anything that needs a tweak. Good job!
    Mike C

    Rambles

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    5. Check your film holders (if applicable). Dust can be a culprit as much as stop bath strength.
    I'm sure it's dust, as I quit using K's Indicator Stop Bath when I went to pyro, and didn't resume when I came back to HC110. I just use filtered water.
    Like all ULF guys I get some dust in the holders. I suck, I blow, I sweep, I fret, I anti-static, and then I go out into the field (literally) and get plenty of dust. We all do. The 90 year old holders are no better or worse than the 3 month old holders. Michael Smith has said something to the effect of "There will be dust. Get over it."
    I contact print and the dust specks are miniscule, but ALWAYS occur in the highlights and clouds. [hard and fast rule of photography]
    I agree that fiddling with a negative is risky business, but bleaching a black speck is tough, and the scalpel trick is too mechanical and roughs up the surface of the print. I haven't tried the Sharpie, but my experience with Sharpies is that they aren't very sharp--compared with an 0000 sable brush, for instance. I have a 5X magnifier and can lay down a very small bit of pigment. I just need to know the best pigment to lay down.
    Thanks to all who responded.

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I'll second the trick with the needle on the base side of the film. The way I've learned to do it is with an abrading tool designed for the purpose held perpendicular to the film, and just prick the base side of the film in a random way over the pinhole.

    Negative retouching brushes--my new favorite retouching brush is the Richeson 18/0 Minature Series 9131 made in the UK. It's tiny, stiff, and keeps a nice point. It's definitely worth taking some time at an art store and checking out watercolor brushes for retouching. You're likely to find something better than the brushes sold in photo stores.

    The Adams Retouching Machine illuminates the neg or transparency from behind, holds it in a rotating cradle, has a place to rest your wrist, can be used with two types of magnifiers, and will vibrate the neg at different speeds for pencil retouching and abrasion. I've seen them will long roll holders for high-volume retouching of school portraits and such. You can find a picture of one at www.veronicacass.com. Used ones can be found for around $50 often these days. A new one is around $600.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ann
    second the vote on very weak stop. oops third vote.

    Donald; that retouching machine , is it basically only used to magnify?

    Ann,

    The Adams retouching machine does back light the negative and mine has two magnifyers. Additionally the machine does have an adjustable vibration of the negative if desired for use with pencils.

  10. #10
    blansky's Avatar
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    Veronica Cass recommends that you have the vibration on 10 or 15 and it does have an effect on dyes as well.

    I'm not sure I can tell the difference but she is a hell of a retoucher so I'll take her word for it.


    As for dust and or pinholes, I don't seem to get any so perhaps as others have said your process needs tweaking.

    Michael McBlane
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.



 

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