Help! Lith printing 20x24 not working!
I am a student that has been learning about Lith printing this past semester. My school's department is not very encouraging of any aesthetic outside of their narrow focus of the medium, and have been teaching myself alternative processes for the past year. It's time for my Senior Show and I have been Lith printing my infrared negatives on small sized paper from Oriental and Foma. They've been coming out beautifully. For the show I was to go up to size 20x24 and ordered the same exact Oriental VC at that size. I also tried some old Kentmere, Ilford and Kodak Fine-art that was stored in the studio. None of them would Lith at that size. My negs don't work that big for traditionally printing and am being told to resort to digital prints. PLease Help if you know why Lith printing that big won't work or if you know a paper/chemistry combination that does! I'm using Arista Developer now. Thanks!
It sounds like the move up in size is straining the set up you have.
If you are using same paper , same chemicals, same negatives, making lith prints larger will certainly work, I am making 30 x40's tommorow from 2 1/4 negatives.
I would imagine if your time for a small print was lets say 30 seconds.
Your new time for a 20x24 could easily get up in the 2 minute or longer exposure.
for that you will need glass carriers.
but , it will work
Originally Posted by Rhea
You can eliminate your paper as a source of your problems by cutting down one 20 x 24 sheet into 8 x 10s, and then trying to duplicate your earlier results on the 8 x 10s.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Quicker exhaustion of chemicals due to larger print area? Just a random thought. Not knowing the process, I do not know if the weakening of the strength of the chemicals (locally or over-all) at any one or more steps would be significant.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can be a good day of exercise.
So just what is happening: no image coming up or coming up muddy and flat? Or other?
Sometimes it's the age of the batch, so even if you've had success with spare Oriental VC in 8x10 in the past, you might need to recalibrate** for your fresher 20x24.
Some of my best liths were the ones at high dilution that went real long in the tray. Another thing that helps sometimes is to bleach back a flat, thick lith print. Makes it look grittier and contrastier. You can mop or sponge bleach on such a large print for an extra creative element.
**This means knowing exposure of a normal print, then making test exposures -- strip portions of the full size projection -- for 3, 4, & 5 stops over, then developing these strips all at the same time in the same batch of fresh mix+some old brown. Possibly repeating for a different dilution as indicated by the first set of strips.
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Thanks for your suggestions everyone. When I say it will not Lith, I mean even after a few hours development in good developer the image comes up like it's underneath a film, until the actual paper just turns brown. Lith develops as "infectious development" as soon as the first black grains appear, but they never do.
Lith Developer is supposed to be heavily diluted and I've tried dropping it down to almost full strength, as well as putting test strips under the enlarger for 5 minutes, in the case that the same paper bought at 11x14 turned jet black the 20x24 paper just didn't Lith.
Mattking - I've considered printing on the smaller paper to make up the large image, but that would completely change my concept and presentation for the show. When the negative is enlarged it still prints fine on the smaller paper, its just that the paper ordered from the same store at the same time in the bigger dimension won't work. They must make a different emulsion for that size.
Oh and to David - I do like the bleached back look for Lith, at my smaller (11x14 paper cut in half) prints I would bleach them about halfway then put them in polysulfide toner to redevelop very brown. I was able to achieve some yellow halos with the Foma paper. If I ever get the large print to work I will definitely try some sponging. I actually emailed Tim Rudman on his website and he got back to me saying to try the second process lith, in which I slightly overexpose in traditional printing, then bleach and redevelop in Lith.
That would be unthinkable.
Originally Posted by Rhea
I would think it unlikely that the paper would be the cause of this. Larger prints would need larger volumes of diluted developer. You could try to cut small pices of one of the larger sheets and try if this will lith. The temperature of the developer also has an effect of the outcome. Did you make sure the developer in the larger trays wasn,t simply to cold to properly function?
Come to think of it, didn,t Oriental change its paper not to long ago? The Foma paper should work though....
It sounds like tremendous underexposure of the prints to me. Are you test stripping first, or just using the same times and apertures you were using for your tiny prints? You need to increase the time and/or aperture significantly with large prints. Add in the fact that lith exposures can already be long, and you are looking at some pretty long exposures at that size. Sometimes I need to expose 2 minutes just to get an 11x14 looking good. Extrapolate that up to 20x24 using the rule of thumb for making larger prints, and it would be 8 minutes of exposure, not factoring in reciprocity.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 03-20-2011 at 06:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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