Back to the darkroom again today - yesterday's early winter turned to rain today. Might as well stay in...
I have a very promising negative that's almost impossible to print. With graded paper, it is too contrasty. With multigrade it is too soft, which is one of the drawbacks of staining developers.
So today I decided to have a go at it with special developers: Moersch Amidol Plus. This is a two-bath developer with a soft Amidol developer and a hard Catechol one, plus a choise of "warm and cold finishers". I assume the finishers to be Potassium Bromide and Benzotriazol.
The picture in question needs to be cropped to almost square, so I prefer to use "inch size" papers for it. For some reason the "metric" sizes are all narrower. Besides, I can't fit four 10 x 13" trays on my workbenck, so I decided to use 8x10" paper.
That limited the choise a lot.
After trying TT Sepia (fogs in the catechol), Seagull VC FB (too soft, even with max magenta) and Kentmere Art Classic (fogs in the catechol) and using all the blue finisher to stop the fogging, I turned in desperation to Bergger Contact G2.
Success! Open one stop and quadruple the time relative to hte other papers, develop a full minute in the soft developer and 90 seconds in the hard, and it's just what I was after! Very nice soft highlights, with very clear sharp shadows.
I'm on my way back now to make some more, will put them in the Print Exchange...