In my long experience printing, the problems with finger prints or tong kinks were about equal and so that is why I recommend the use of rubber gloves. No finger prints and no kinks but if you don't dry your gloves well, you can get water spots.
See! There is no perfect solution! But, rubber gloves (or vinyl) are just that much closer to perfect.
I think in this case OP and PE have diagnosed the problem as development contaminated alkaline fixer.
Having only ever used acid fixers, I had no experience with the "monobath" problem.
For print handling, I use store-brand vinyl disposable gloves (the home-made wooden tongs in my darkroom portrait are mostly for show).
They work but lately I am not happy with the cheap disposables because they develop pinholes too easily. I have convenient running water and towels, so I wash and dry thoroughly before getting a sheet of paper.
But when there is a pinhole, guess what will be dripping from the holes... That's right - fixer. Echh. So I check that my fingers inside the gloves are dry before I pick up a sheet of paper. It's really funny because most of the pinholes come when I put the negative in the negative carrier.
I seem to remember being the person who described this as a Monobath problem (in a different thread)
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
While I'm quite happy to use a plain water stop with films (which is a recommended option by Ilford, Kodak etc) there's no way I'd not use an acid stop bath with papers where the carry over of developer is continual and only a very wasteful water wash would work as well, no company recommends a water stop for papers for normal use.
I had this same scenario happening to me though the chemicals were different (Ethol LPD, Ilford Hypam).
The contrast of the prints would change in the fixer. It almost seemed as if I had just put them into another developer that would darken/change the contrast within seconds (the prints did not get muddy though). I am still unsure why this happened as I have been using this combination for years (along with indicator stop). However, I noticed that this was only happening in the winter when my darkroom was cold. Not sure if it was an issue with the developer or fixer, but either way, my guess is that it had to do with the temperature (temp. of chemicals possibly). Since the prints were okay, I never really bothered to investigate further. It's getting colder here so we'll see what this winter brings!
Maybe this helps (?)
Yes, Bill, and that is why I use rubber gloves instead of vinyl. I find them more durable.
Best of luck.
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Most people use a dev tray heater and fix at room temperature, this can mean the fixing is a bit slower at times.
Originally Posted by Ken
If you make a print then cut it in half and develop for the same time, leave half in the stop bath and fix the other you'd see a big difference in contrast as well as density even under safelight conditions, once in room lighting the unfixed half would slowly darken, it's not too fast though to compare both halves.
This is why you cannot evaluate a print accurately in the developer snatching it when it looks raedy.
Last edited by Ian Grant; 10-22-2011 at 01:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I wear blue Nitrile gloves and I use a bamboo chopstick that has been whittled down to a blunt point using a pencil sharpener.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Slip the chopstick under the print in the tray then lift the corner up high enough so that you can pinch the paper between your thumb and the stick. As you lift the paper out of the tray, the chopstick serves to support it so as to avoid wrinkling or creasing. It also helps you place the paper right side up in the next tray. Then you can use the chopstick to carefully push the paper under the surface of the liquid.
I often wear a Nitrile glove only on my left hand. The right hand goes in my back pocket so it will always be dry. That way I can handle fresh paper with full tactile sensation and I don't have to worry about getting developer or fixer soaked fingerprints on my pictures.
Chopsticks are cheap. You can buy them by the dozen for just a couple-few bucks. I keep a bunch of pre-sharpened chopsticks in a beaker full of water, sitting at the back of my developing table. If I drop one or accidentally cross-contaminate one I can drop it into the beaker and pull out a clean one. Just don't forget to change the water every once in a while.
That's how I handle my prints, avoid cross contamination and cut my expenditures on gloves in half.
I could never get too used to gloves.
I like to feel for the emulsion side just in case the paper got inverted in the box at some point.
I should add I sometimes cut paper from rolls and will use gloves then but as hard as I try to keep the paper face up. I still get paranoid.
Usually with the roll paper you can tell because it will be curled a bit but not always.
It really does not matter. If it works for you, it works! And if it works, then use it!
I've found that you really have to work hard to kink anything 8x10 and smaller, even single weight paper is managable. I tell my students never buy bamboo tongs, the plastic ones I use are wide, lift is from a corner only with a rolling motion, then allow print to drain for a few seconds. I also hang prints for half a minute or so between the final fix and a holding tray of water, I don't have running water in my DR.
Originally Posted by brucemuir
I also use tongs to lift a corner of a print to get ahold of them with a rubber glove on. 11x14 and larger prints require gloves, you're almost guaranteed a crescent or worse otherwise.
What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.