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Thread: farmers reducer

  1. #1

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    farmers reducer

    i was reading bruce barnbaums master printing class and he talks about useing bleach on prints to lighten areas.they call it potassium fericyanide. in way beyound monochrome ralph also calles it bleach but he adds some fixer. my question is , is kodak farmers reducer what they are useing /
    mitch

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    Sparky's Avatar
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    no. Bleach is not a 'proportional reducer'. That is to say - it'll eat up the least dense areas first. This won't happen with Farmer's. Not as much anyway. It is an equal opportunity eater of silver.

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    Get Donald Qualls on this - he'd be the man with the authoritative answer!

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    They are not the same. P. Ferricyanide works as described above. Mixing fixer with it will speed up the bleach action and its not a good idea, since you usually do this after the print comes out of the fixer, and only do a quick rinse before applying, so there is actually some fix still on/in the print. you mix the P. Ferri very dilute and keep a running hose handy to wash it off as you go. It is a slow process as the bleach can get away from you and go too far all of a sudden. I always do it on a almost verticle plexi glass board and have the hose hitting just below where I am bleaching and raise it up to wash quickly if I need to.

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    Ole
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    "Farmer's Reducer" is potassium ferricyanide with a little added sodium thiosulfate.

    There are lots of different reducers, formerly known as "proportional", "Super-proportional", and "cutting". Any photography book from before 1920 has a plethora of recipes..

    A "Cutting" reducer cuts the same amount of silver(=density) from all tones, useful for gross overexposure. "Proportional" reducers cut the same fraction of silver from all densities, and were used when the plate was overdeveloped. I very bad cases a "superproportional" reducer was used, which dissolved relatively more silver in the densest areas...

    Anyway: Farmer's reducer is a "cutting" reducer.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    Mitch

    Farmer's Reducer has a solution A and a solution B. Solution A is the potassium ferricyanide (and bromide if you wish), and solution B is the fixer. You can use these solution together or sequentially. The effect of A is only visible after or with B. If used together, you can see the effect right away, but the mixture is not much active after about 10 to 15 minutes. If used sequentially, you don't see what A did until using B, but it lasts almost indefinately.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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    Farmers reducer

    I actually Bruces workshop and can say that his method works better "for me" (to be read"more controlable") than anything else I have tried. Bruce just mixes up about an 1/8 teaspoon of potassium ferriciynide in smoe water in a glass, it should be about medium urine yellow. Then applies it with a brush selectively keeping a hose with running water just under the area being worked on, then move up the water stream to follow the brush. After a bit of bleaching on the chosen areas with all the excess bleach rinsed off reimmerse the print in fixer for about 30sec to activate any leftover bleach pull the print inspect and rinse well then continue this cycle until you are satisfied. Caution! any fixer left in the print i.e. small patches here and there that don't get rinsed out will give you very accelerated bleaching in just that spot so like all things in the darkroom patience and process are the key.
    Secondly I have heard of another method that uses regular farmers for the whole print but it is reduced in strength about 5:1 and used on prints that have been selenium toned in selenium 20:1 which gives a very slow and controllable process(Barry Thornton " edge of darkness"). I suggest tim Rudmans toning book as it has an excellent section on bleaching. I prefer Bruces method as I rarely need to bleach that much and prefer to do it selectively. Use a good japanese caligraphy brush and try it out on some rejects first to get a feel for it. Have fun
    No escaping it!
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    to take this path

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    It can certainly be done this way. The two solutions will, last longer this way too. Nevertheless, it's easy to overdo it this way. The full bleaching effect is not seen until the print sees the fixer, and then it is pretty much immediate. When mixing bleach and fixer, one has a bit more control over the lightening, but the solution needs to e mixed fresh every ten minutes. Both methods work. It comes down to what you prefer, as you said.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  9. #9
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    I mix a tiny bit of Potassium Ferricyanide and fixer when needed. A little goes a very long way. My 16 oz. bottle of the stuff is 20 years old, and is still nearly full. It would be better to shoot the negative so it or the print doesn't need such treatment, but I'm not that good. I AM a cheapskate, and sometimes use it to clear outdated film and paper. It has even partly salvaged a negative overexposed four or five stops due to a bad exposure meter and worse photographer.

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    Can you still buy farmers reducer?
    Marko Kovacevic
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