Well, this has been an interesting week...
It started with a bad cold, which decided to settle down in my ears. So I'm off work for a while - which is good. I can hardly hear anything, wihch is bad.
With the sound on the telephone turned to the max, I was just able to receive an order for 25 prints form a digital composite I made many years ago; the great-great grandparents of a friend. The couple were on separate photos, taken at different times by different photographers. Both pictures were badly stained and otherwise damaged. So I scanned, tuned, cloned, merged, adjusted - almost made new pictures. I had the final composite printed commercially, and was fairly satisfied with the result. Before handing the final picture to the client (my friend's father), I had the foresight to make a few copy negatives of it.
Six yers later I have no idea where the floppy with the final version is, so I was very happy to find the negatives exactly where they should be!
So I ran off the first batch of fourteen prints on 24x30cm Ilford MG IV RC (the limit of my drying capacity), and all was well.
Then I ran off the second batch - and they were too pale! Thinking hard about the problem, I found that the difference was that I'd mixed a new batch of fixer: The first batch was fixed in my own alkaline rapid recipe, the second one in an "ordinary" acidic rapid fix. Somehow this must have bleached the prints almost half a stop! There will be no more acid rapid fix in my darkroom...
I was able to salvage the prints by toning in very strong Selenium toner, which helped my mood a bit (I'm broke at the moment, and can't afford to buy another pack of paper: all the money I have this week will go for cat food).
So, back to the darkroom to do some real printing!
I've long wanted to try lith printing, and with nose and ears completely blocked this seemed like a nice time for it. So I got out the MACO Lith kit I bought a while ago, and settled down in the dark.
The first negative I tried was a 4x5" IR photo of sunlit shrubs. I discovered right away that lith printing couldn't handle the extreme contrast much better than ordinary printing (the negative was over-developed in Pyrocat-HD), so I tried with VC paper (The stain on this negative gives a very soft print on VC, very hard on graded). I ended up with Oriental Seagull VC, which gave a really amazing print. I still have 20 sheets left of this classic paper, which I have been saving for the rihgt negative...
After this I decided that it was stupid to use the small (8x10") trays, as most of the papers I have are 11x14"... Mix up more chemicals, clean the small trays, and then back to the games.
The papers I tried were:
MACO Lithpaper RC-F : Great! Warm browns all over
MACO EXPO RF 2 : Very good
Bergger Prestige CB Art 2: Truly beautiful - warm pink with brownish midtones
Fortezo Museum Weight 3: Beautiful paper - pink highlights to olive midtones, very deep blacks
Tetenal Vario PE (RC) : Not convincing, ivory tone
Tetenal Baryt Vario : Odd, pinkisk brown
Varycon PE K : Finally a use for this... Soft hues, blacks weak
Ilford MG IV FB : OK, I guess...
Oriental Seagull VC (Old) : Amazing warm highlights, goes even warmer in Selenium toner (only one toned so far).
So now I'll get the 25 prints off to the great-grandson, and then back to the darkroom for more fun