My latest Fiber-Based Disaster!
So, I was darkrooming today (working on my first 6x9 neg) when i came to the realization that no image was showing up on my test strip. this was troublesome as I really want this neg to turn out as a nice print, but my moons refuse to line up in a way that any sort of remotely decent image appears on my 8x10. Any ideas? The developer is fine so it cannot be that...
Also, would anybody like to give a man advice on how to get straight borders from fiber? I just cant seem to put the paper correctly positioned on the easel. I have no problem doing this with RC, so help a brother out!
You exposed the wrong side of the paper, it's back?
generally fiber papers are slower to develop than RC. I had an OMGWTF!? experience the first time I printed it. Where as RC "pops" in at around 15sec. I've seen fiber wait a good 45sec before showing much of anything then meander to full development at around 2.5min. Also from my experience fiber needs about a stop more light. Fiber paper is also more curly so depending on your easel it may take more work to get it lined up with the guides correctly. (not that you asked but I thought I'd throw in: ) Also, unlike RC, the print "dries down." When you turn the lights on and look at the wet print it'll actually darken somewhere between a third to possibly more than a full stop (I could swear Ilford matte FB papers dry down more than a full stop).
Hope this helps!
Maybe you did expose the wrong side of the paper. I don't know. If the developer works with RC paper then it will work with FB paper. Having problems getting it straight in the easel? All I can offer is take your time, look at what you're doing.
Yes, FB stocks do take a bit longer for the image to start showing, but I don't notice a big difference in paper speed. Take two papers coated with the same emulsion, one resin coated and one fiber based, and the speed will be well within the nominal batch to batch variation.
Drydown with fiber based papers generally run about 10% or so. Resin coated papers also exhibit this characteristic, sometimes to a lesser extent. It depends on the paper. Never evaluate test strips under full room light when wet. Using a 40 watt lamp about 3 feet from the work for evaluating wet test strips give a pretty good approximation of what it will look like when dry in full room light.
Last edited by fschifano; 01-22-2009 at 09:16 AM. Click to view previous post history.
In addition to the suggestions above, some questions:
1) What times are you using to expose your test strip? At what f/stop?
2) What developer are you using and at what dilution? Is it a DIY developer? This once happened to me. I realized I had mistakenly put in too much Potassium Bromide, and I had restrained the developer into uselessness.
3) How long is the print in the developer? For FB, I would leave it in for 90 to 120 seconds - even for a test strip.
3) How dense is your negative? Some of my negs are so dense that I need exposure times ranging from 90 to 180 seconds.
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I am also guessing you exposed the wrong (back) side of the paper
The way to tell which side is which, is moisten your fingers (moist not wet) and pinch a piece of FB paper between two fingers
The emulsion will stick slightly to one of the moist fingers
Also, when you hold the paper as a very shallow viewing angle to the safe light - the emulsion side is always shinier than the paper back
You will need to try it a few times to get the hang of the shininess and the stickiness - but it works for all FB Papers of what ever surface/texture/emulsion
Sometimes when you try a new FB paper for the first time, it’s the only way to figure out which side is which
I had a very similar experience recently. I was using Freestyle's Arista Ultra ColdTone developer (made by Clayton) with Oriental FB for the first time, instead of the Arista Premium developer. Exposed a test strip at the times I used for Arista Premium developer and got nothing. Exposed for more time and got barely a ghost image. And this with a 2 minute time in the soup. Double checked to make sure I wasn't using the wrong side of the paper. Nope, right side of the paper. Tried a sheet of Ilford RC I had, exposed it to the room light (switch on/off quickly) along side the Oriental. The Ilford turned black in the developer, the Oriental nothing.
Called Freestyle and talk to a tech person. She went to check and called me back in 15 minutes. Suggested I use the 1:7 dilution instead of the 1:14 as the instructions called for. Of course this defeated the cost savings of the 1:14 dilution so Freestyle sent me a free bottle of the Arista Premium to make up for it.
Went back in the darkroom, increased the dilution and tried again. Still barely got an image after two minute soak time. Left it in for a little longer. At 2 min 15 sec the image just popped out. Finished printing using the 2m15s soak time at 1:7 and everything was OK. Don't know if it was just an incompatibility between the paper and developer or what. But I'm sticking with the Arista Premium from here on out.
Only thing you've proved is that Oriental paper is a lot slower (less light sensitive) than Ilford's.
so heres the deal, to answer some questions. no, i did not expose the wrong side. I use whatever is floating around in my schools darkroom, which is arista premium. also, the neg was uber dense, almost unprintably so. I eventually got something or an image to appear, but for 16 seconds @ f/5.6, that is a lot of light for tri-x, so im guessing the neg might be unprintable.
Probably not unprintable. I have HIE negs that are overexposed to the point that you can't tell what the image is by looking at the negative, but after 3 minutes of exposure, you can print through the fog---one of my best images was made this way.