Thats pretty good description , way beyond what I could say.
When I first started with Pyro , 1992 -3 period, my conclusions were pretty much that the developing silver was not migrating/blooming and I did the naked bulb test and confirmed that one developer **Hutchings PMK** certainly worked better. this was a huge benifit to me as a printer as I was still using a lot of graded paper at that time and I hated burning in soft muddy highlights to get detail.
Modern VC paper and split printing were a godsend to me , on top I had the weapon of mass destruction, pyro developer.. remember I was and still doing this as a commercial process and my competitors were not in the ball park with their quick and dirty process techniques that made them fast money but their film was crap... To this day I still charge more for film not processed by my lab as I do not want to fix lazy workers film.
The rings of relief you talk about were very obvious to me , much like what you see around Transparancies.
I am not sure if the emulsions of today have changed that much since 92 , maybe they have and the effect is not as much.
Magic Bullets: I have stated in the past here on APUG about there being none.
Here are a few gems: fresh film: Pyro: Split Printing: distilled water for the dev:Rotary process with and initial hand agitation to prevent mottling: Stand Development: glass carriers: Apo enlarging lenses: laser aligned enlager:Ilford Warmtone: Dektol 1 1:5 : bleach sepia and selinium afterbath.
the list goes on and on , each worker can add their own secrets that make their work great.
I have said this before, there is no such thing as the perfect print> A lot of the workers on this site who take printing seriously are at a world class level> historically speaking there are very few printers that are making better prints before us that are coming out of the darkrooms today. What is different is the quality of the image, that is the hard part.
If you don't believe me go to as many shows , photo collectors collections and look for yourself, the prints are all within reach to all, its the imagery that is king.
The very best print I have seen in the last couple of years is one owned by Paul Paletti , it is an 11x14 print of a wave coming in to shore, the tonal range, and crispness jumps off the wall.
So if you accumulate enough good habits, work hard each year on your projects, and have some talent your work will stand out.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch