Just printed 16x20 the other night.. A few questions
I finally printed my first 16x20 FB print the other night.. It's huge!! I enjoyed it. I have a few questions though.
I had some inconsistencies between prints. Some slightly lighter, some slightly darker. I think this may be due to my agitation scheme in the developer and more importantly my timing. I'm agitating by rocking the tray every 5 seconds and flip the print over then back again ever 30 seconds for 1:40 then let the print drain for 20-25 seconds to equal a 2 minute development time. I'm used to printing 11x14 and normally allow 15 seconds for drip time and have had the same inconsistencies in densities. So my question is, should I let the print in the developer the full 2 minutes then let the print drain for 20-25 seconds?
My other question is, what is the best way to let the prints air dry? I normally have prints by one corner to dry. This worked for 16x20 ok too, but I also tried using two clips. Just looking for suggestions.
Leave the print in the developer for the full 2 minutes. Pull it out and let drain (takes about 15-20 sec). When I agitate, it's constant for the full 2 minutes. I initially drop the print in the developer face down, then flip it over and start agitating. To air dry, lay prints face down on fibre glass screens that have been stretched over frames. Wipe that backs with a sponge.
By the way, you have some nice images in your portfolio.
Thanks so much Andrew!!!
Originally Posted by Andrew O'Neill
My tests have shown that virtually all fibre prints benefit from at least 3 minutes development. I also agitate constantly for the whole time and allow the prints to drip for 15 seconds before placing in (water) stop bath with constant agitation for 1 minute. Using this regime, prints are always consistent.
For drying, I wipe front and back with a rubber blade and then dry on purpose made fibre glass frames (from Zone VI when they were still in operation). Before I had these screens, I used to hang two prints back to back from a line with two pegs at the bottom. This also worked well but the fibre screen are better.
2 minutes isn't enough development for any FB paper I know of, try 3 or 4. See also factorial development. Make sure your timer is perfectly consistent too - an error of 0.1 stop exposure is readily visible, especially at higher grades.
Yay for big prints!
Last edited by polyglot; 01-14-2013 at 04:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Agree with the above. It sounds like you're underdeveloping. Probably at least three minutes is required. I was taught to slide the prints into the developer so the wetting is even. Probably face down at first is OK too, although I would worry about trapping some air and leaving a mark.
I develop for three minutes, agitating every 15 seconds by lifting one corner of the tray.
Print is face-up the entire time for the same reason Bruce mentions, I'd be worried to trap air under the paper surface.
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
My agitation, no matter the time length, is constantly turning the print over and over, changing direction each time (left to right, front to back). I take my time with each turn to avoid kinking, but keep it moving. The developer drains off of the surface each time, so I know the chems are refreshing. And I don't hold it up long enough to drain completely, until the last one before the stop. And, as others have implied, test strips, etc are all done the same way.
The most I do at a time is 2, back to back (one of the reasons I do the turning method, then it's the same when doing 2 prints), and I never use tongs with any print larger than 8 x 10.
Interesting information guys! Thanks!! i'm into the darkroom tonight to work on my second 16x20 print!
Keep a nitrile glove on your left hand (if you are right handed). Take the print in your right hand and kind of shove it down into the developer at a very low angle, then press down quickly and gently with tongs to make sure the print is totally immersed in the developer. I usually go 2.5 to 3 min with continuous agitation, but without flipping the print. I've never had any uneven development on prints even at 16x20.
Use your left hand to agitate, and then repeat for stop and fix. The point of the glove is that you will always get chemicals on your hands, so the left hand glove takes the punishment, and you can keep a small bucket of fresh water to dip your hand in before you dry it. This keeps you from constantly having to wash your hands. It's especially helpful with bigger sizes, one gloved hand and one set of tongs, so you can move the print more easily. Much easier than tongs alone.
Light squeegee on the front side and dry face up on screens.