Thanks Joe...Will be in touch Im sure...I have a project that I think will be suited for Pinhole Paper negs...but it will require me shooting in some remote places and in countries that likely will not have the infrastructure to support my technical requirements..so Im trying to sort things out so I can have some kind of system which allows me to be able to develop negs where ever I am....One thing I havent come across so far is discussion or info about choice of paper developers...and how that choice might make a difference...I also wonder what effect selenium toning might have (other than the obvious archival advantages). I get the feeling I will end up scanning these negs and outputting with Carbon pigment onto FA WC paper...Hannemuhle have some beautiful new papers that look very similar to traditional fiber based paper.
The fisrt I reckon is to dial in an exposure chart with paper...just I have done with film. I use my Incident meter and EV to arrive at my pinhole exposures with Type 55...the nice thing I see with paper is that you can see your test results very quickly...and thus build a table quickly.
Thanks again..and of course I would love to hear from others working in paper and or paper/pinhole...
This might sounds like a stupid question, but when doing paper negatives, is there a big difference between matte and glossy? Does one or the other lend to making an easier positive through contact printing?
I've been working with a home made 8x10 pinhole for quite some time but have always used standard sheet film. Not only is the cost killing me, but I think the look of paper negatives might be what I'm going for with certain subjects.
Larry: I like to develop by inspection whenever I'm able to. Thus, I use a paper developer diluted a bit more than normal. I like liquid concentrate developers like Agfa Neutol WA and Ilford's. I dilute so the concentration is about 1.5-2x less than normal (but ensuring minimum concentrate exists in the solution for the amount of paper being processed) and then develop by inspection to around 3-4 minutes typically. This has the effect of permitting me to pull the negative at just the right point, where the shadows have adequate detail (or all the detail they're gonna get with the exposure they've been given) while the highlights aren't too dense.
As for the paper surface glossy vs matte, I find glossy much better if you plan on contact printing, there's simply more detail transfered in the printing process. Not sure about scanning matte finish regarding detail, but it may be best to err on the safe side and use glossy for all paper negatives.
I always hear about people developing by inspection, but I never can tell much about a print until I turn the white lights on. Do you have a very bright safelight right over your developing tray, or use an amber safelight?
This has the effect of permitting me to pull the negative at just the right point, where the shadows have adequate detail (or all the detail they're gonna get with the exposure they've been given) while the highlights aren't too dense.
Very interesting; I will consider trying glossy paper now that I have some. I have been told that using glossy paper in some cameras (like those with curved film planes) can cause nasty artifacts from reflection.
I find glossy much better if you plan on contact printing, there's simply more detail transfered in the printing process.
You're right about reflections in curved film plane cameras.
I use a single red safelight bulb (the type that's a red-painted but otherwise bare bulb) about 4-5 feet from the developer tray.
At first it's a bit hard to tell whether the highlights have gotten too dense, but with experience you'll get a feel for how dark it looks under red lights equates to a certain density under white lights. Good dark adapted eyes and get in close to the negative in order to see the subtle detail in the highlights.
For the shadows it's pretty easy, you're looking for some detail below paper white as the darkest part of your negative that still has detail. You'll have to wait on this to happen, as the dense highlights come up first in the developer. The trick is allowing sufficient time for the shadow detail to come up adequately while not blowing the highlights too dense.
Also realize what parts of your image will have no shadow detail even if left in the developer overnight; you want to ignore these areas when assessing the development of the image.
And for landscape images taken with paper negatives, you want to ignore the density of the sky. It's going to get real dark, because it's full of blue/UV light and you have to over-expose it to get adequate exposure on the landscape itself.
The quality of the mid-tones will tell you a lot about how good the negative is going to be. I can spot it in the tray, when the mid-tones have that full look about them, you know it's going to print well.
The nice thing about paper is that it's cheap to experiment until you get a feel for the materials, exposures and development.
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I've been trying to perfect my paper-neg use for the last few months. Been there, done that for most papers but recently I like the look of some where I've used old Brovira FB medium weight and after development I carefully and painstakingly use varying grades of sandpaper (the white no-clog type) to make the paper thinner & more transparent. Yeah I know... there are probably easier ways but I enjoy the 'sheltered workshop' method. Also have been tinkering with both wax and cooking oils for increased transparency. Wax very difficult to coat evenly but the look can be almost 'gumoil' when printed.
Also, I seem to get a better tonal range by pre-flashing under my enlarger. I read somewhere that this also increases the working ASA?
It's an interesting topic........ oh and my use is with handmade & pinhole cameras mostly.
How much do you preflash? Enough to bring the paper to a light grey when deveolped, or just less than that, or what?
Anyone tried the EFKE Positive B&W paper for pinhole work. Seems like it could be worth trying.
Andrew, I tried the Efke and that stuff is just too freaking contrasty! Haven't gotten anything useful. I haven't tamed it as yet and lost interest in it.
BetterSense, I do preflashing to about 2-3 stops below the point at which normal development gives a light grey tone. I marked off a distance on my enlarger for that. I stopped the enlarging lens down fully, the bellows extension was something like 3 feet, and I did something like a half sec exposure. Haven't done it in a while but it worked well. In my case, I wasn't really trying to reduce contrast as much as boost the paper speed. Incidentally my paper was ilford rc glossy. Actually I hate that finish, but for paper negs....
I've been preflashing my paper negatives for years now. I started by using my enlarger, lens stopped down to f/32, but the required exposure time of 1-2 seconds was too quick to accurately time with my old enlarger timer. So I made a custom preflashing light source, a type S-11 bulb (frosted white, 7.5 watts, 120vac) inside a metal soup can, with an aperture of about 1/8 inch. It stays suspended about 30 inches above my work surface, and typical preflash times for Arista's grade 2 RC paper is 10 seconds. I preflash enough so an otherwise unexposed sheet would develop to a faint gray tone.
Preflashing helps to increase the shadow exposure without significantly increasing the highlight exposure, thus reducing the contrast range of the negative.
I believe that using preflashing, with graded paper (which doesn't exhibit a contrast sensitivity to the color of light, like VC paper) together will significantly improve paper negatives of scenic subject matter.
As for the Efke direct positive paper, I've worked with it some last summer, and found that if it was significantly preflashed, the resulting image was pretty good. By "significantly" I mean that a normal preflash time for my grade 2 paper is 10 seconds; the Efke direct positive paper required about 30 seconds.
I also rated the exposure index of the Efke paper around 1, whereas my normal grade 2 RC I rate around 2-3.
Here's an example: