Creating contrast when printing very underexposed negatives.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by tmgreenhalgh, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    How did you arrive at your 80/20 thought? In addition to doubting that idea, I'll suggest that hardly anybody stand-processing Rodinal experiences thin negatives....but of course, we probably don't pay too much attention to development tables.
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi jtk

    i can't speak for cliveh
    but i would imagine that 80% of people
    sometimes suffer from thin negatives
    because sometimes their cameras don't do what they wished?
    becuase they enter the iso wrong in the meter, or woefully mis-meter read the exposure
    or they haven't figured out how to best expose their film the way it looks best for their metering and processing technique
    or because a lot of people who use film are so gear obsessed they forget that they need
    to learn basics of processing, reading a scene &c too ..
    or maybe its because, they have never seen a well exposed roll or sheet of film so they don't know
    what density their film should have and they are painfully worried about over exposed film so they do the opposite ?

    i love making mistakes like that, it makes me a better exposure, processor and printer ...
     
  3. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    I'd fully agree...except that cliveh seemed to be saying that we/they/somebody overexposes less frequently, 20/80 than the other way around (80/20).
     
  4. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    ...Ansel Adams solved his heavily under-exposed, ultimately absolutely most valuable negative (Moonrise) with a product called "chrome intensifier." I used it years ago with important, badly exposed neg...it works fine tho it may (never checked) add grain.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Intensifiers help a little bit with under-exposure.
    Where they shine is with under-development.
    In essence, they build highlight density (and therefore contrast) much more effectively than they build shadow density (and therefore shadow detail).
    Those graveyard crosses on "Moonrise" did look better though after intensification.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Ansel Adams had to use a chrome intensifier? I seem to recall reading on this site that for that image he was able to calculate the exact lumin value to make the correct exposure.
     
  7. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    has anyone used copper toner before? does it give more contrast than sepia ? - i'm not bothered about long term effects on negative - just ramping contrast right up
     
  8. Nodda Duma

    Nodda Duma Subscriber

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    Right now I'm contact printing 100 year old dry plates that were over-exposed: very dense and low contrast. There's silvering along the edges.

    Grade 5 filter seems to be just good enough for my purposes (I'll be scanning the prints instead of the fragile plates for my town's historical society). I'm using old Kodak polycontrast paper that isn't fogged. Seems to be working. Kind of neat to see brand-new prints made from 100+ yr old dry plates.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  9. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    cliveh, Google is our friend :smile:

    It's touching to believe that Ansel was always perfect, but a direct viewing of his images, improved repeatedly in printing over decades by his increasing skill, demonstrates a different reality. It's fortunate for us and his auctioneers that he did such a good job on Moonrise.

    As well, few photographers have ever seen Moonrise except in reproduction...so most people remember ink, scan, and post-processing.

    Google delivers many references to Ansel's use of intensifier on Moonrise. You'll find mild disagreements/speculations about which intensifier (maybe even two intensifiers).

    Kodak marketed something labeled "chrome intensifier" which did more (in my experience with portraits) than intensify highlights. The story I believe is that Ansel tried several intensifiers, but the real evidence will be found only by inspecting the negative, which is stored somewhere (was once General Graphic Services in San Francisco) for the Ansel Adams Trust.
     
  10. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    Id have thought the paper would have lost contrast. I just used some fresh ilford and some older ilford (10 years old?) And the drop off was pretty radical.
     
  11. Nodda Duma

    Nodda Duma Subscriber

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    Here's a couple examples

    IMG_1362.JPG

    IMG_1363.JPG
     
  12. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    Looking good! Did you test paper for contrast? I only say because my old ilford must differ by at least 1 - 1.5 grades compared to fresh stock and prints using both were radically different with contrast turned right up.

    Those are looking nice tho
     
  13. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Here is a view of Moonrises over the years
    https://onthisdateinphotography.com/2017/11/01/27190/
    Reading on it is stated
    "Adams had tried in 1948 to resolve the inconsistency of printing he was experiencing by treating the lower half of the negative with Kodak IN-5 proportional intensifier (its active ingredients being silver nitrate and sodium sulfite) to lift detail the shadows of the foreground of the negative."

    Kodak In-5

    This is a proportional intensifier which will not change the color of the image
    and is therefore suitable for use with positive film.

    Stock Solution A

    Distilled water (50°C) ................. 750 ml
    Silver nitrate ......................... 60.0 g
    Distilled water to make ................ 1.0 l

    This solution should be stored in a brown bottle.

    Stock Solution B

    Distilled water (50°C) ................. 750 ml
    Sodium sulfite (anhy) .................. 60.0 g
    Distilled water to make ................ 1.0 l

    Stock Solution C


    Distilled water (50°C) ................. 750 ml
    Sodium thiosulfite (pent) .............. 105 g
    Distilled water to make ................ 1.0 l

    Stock Solution D

    Distilled water (50°C) ................. 750 ml
    Sodium sulfite (anhy) .................. 15.0 g
    Metol .................................. 24.0 g
    Distilled water to make ................ 1.0 l

    Usage

    The mixing of the intensifier and its use should be under artificial light only
    as
    exposure to sunlight causes a rapid precipitation of silver.

    Slowly add 1 part of Solution B to 1 part of Solution A with constant stirring.
    The white precipitate which forms is then dissolved by the addition of 1 part
    of Solution C. Allow the resulting solution to stand for a few minutes until
    clear, then add with stirring, 3 parts of Solution D. The intensifier is then
    ready for use.

    Film should be treated immediately as the solution is only stable for about 30
    minutes at 20°C. Intensification is controlled by inspection and the treatment
    time should not exceed 25 minutes. After intensification the film should be
    fixed in a plain hypo bath for two minutes and then washed thoroughly.

    Kodak Processing and Formulas, Third Edition 1946.
     
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  15. Nodda Duma

    Nodda Duma Subscriber

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    Thanks. I didn't rigorously test the paper, I just made it work. I had checked it in the past for fog (there wasn't any) and I've used it for the past couple years as one of my working paper batches to play in the darkroom. So I'm pretty familiar with how it responds (it's a huge batch of 500 sheets that I took a cheap gamble on buying). So I guess it helps to know how your paper responds. Oh and I'm using polymaxT to develop.

    As for the plates themselves...I printed these more so I could scan them for the town's historical society's archive rather than scanning the fragile plates directly. So I have some leeway for dealing with contrast. I am making three sets of prints, so the plates can be stored away undisturbed. One set will go to the society, another set will go to the owners of the photographed homes if they're interested, and third set I'll keep.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  16. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Bill: Thank you for your valuable post ! JTK
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I can deal with an overexposed negative better than a real thin one, because I can still have something that I can retrieve. Washed out subject area has lost the information.
     
  18. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    jtk,

    I wasn't intending to be constraining or play forum policeman. It's just that the "Enlarging" forum you posted to is supposed to be 100% analog and I assumed that the OP was looking for a 100% analog solution, or he would have posted in one of the hybrid fora. Often people need a gentle reminder of this.

    However, if the Photrio system doesn't provide a suitable category for such postings (I wouldn't know; I only view the analog fora), then your digital suggestion is well-justified and I should have kept my comment to myself :smile: Sorry for any offense. If there is a shortcoming in the system categories, maybe you should inform the moderators and see if there's a way to rectify the limitation.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
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