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Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Peter Schrager, Aug 29, 2017.
Yes definitely! We're reducing an otherwise finished print.
Got one in the bleach right now!
that's what I thought, but just wanted to be sure : )
Here are a few. Getting close to the right re-exposure. Contrast could probably get better, but the trees were all mid-day and pretty contrasty situations. The church was late afternoon. These are all 5x7 paper in coffee can pinhole cameras.
Valley Oak par Ned, on ipernity
Ragle Oaks par Ned, on ipernity
Live Oak par Ned, on ipernity
Church of the Oaks par Ned, on ipernity
Not sure if you can see it, but there's a small brown spot in the 2nd one, near the middle, in the sky next to the distant oak tree. I saw a black spot appear out of nowhere during the bleaching, and it turned into a brown spot... it went away a little during fixing and pot-ferri reducing at the end.
The fingerprint on the church one was from a nitrile-gloved finger, when I turned it around in the first developer... I didn't realize it was already fragile at that point. I've stopped touching them at all for the most part.
These look great Ned, it seems you're getting your process dialled in pretty well!
A couple of my early ones also have finger prints on them, so I've since switched to only using tongs, but still get the occasional tong-print : )
So not content with this process being enough of a pain, I finally got my new lith chemicals today and did some experiments using lith developer as the second developer.
Unfortunately because the ilford paper I'm using isn't really a lith paper it's hard to say how well it's actually gone. I first tried going straight from re-exposure to lith, and got some images. The first looked good, but very yellow (I'm not sure if this is because of the lith dev, or a colour cast from the normal process (for the moment I'm thinking lith colour. The second was a bit strange, the darkest shadows didn't reverse at all, but highlights and midtones did.
The final print I tried today was first processed as a normal reversal print and then bleached for a second time and then developed with lith back to positive. The print was again very yellow (we've named them lemonotypes).
I know you don't do lith printing, but I thought some fresh thinking could help me better consider about how to progress and help me untangle some of my own thinking. At the moment I'm getting very colourful prints and quite delicate shadows, which when making a print from a negative would mean I'm not exposing for long enough (to make very dense shadows) and because of the lack of exposure developing for too longer. Now, with that in mind, am I right in thinking - to do this with a reversal technique I should in fact be making my first exposure shorter and not longer?
any thoughts are welcome : )
Someone who knows about lith printing will hopefully chime in... maybe they overexpose a lith print under the enlarger, so what you say makes sense.. maybe a shorter in-camera exposure and a longer re-exposure? I've still got a couple negatives I haven't developed yet and some berg brown toner in the garage... was thinking of trying that as the 2nd developer to see if it does anything. I'm not thrilled about using thiocarbamide, but I do have some and might try that as a 2nd developer just to see what it looks like. A fun next step will be moving to 8x10 or 7x11 or 8x11 pinhole paper positives!
ok, so it at least sounds like my thinking makes sense.. and I'll just have to try I guess : )
that could be interesting. I'm using 8x10 at the moment, and even tho I'm not using a pinhole, I'd definitely recommend trying some larger images. Even with the high contrast the midtones are beautiful and the detail on the ones that have come out "perfectly" just look incredible. I'm currently trying to figure out how I can move up to 20x24 with this process.
and by the way, I forgot to mention early, but I noticed some mottling in the sky of the image of the church, and it's something I've definitely had on mine. I've managed to get rid of it by really overdeveloping the negative, and at the moment I'm developing for double the recommended time and at around 25 celsius. It's helped with consistency in the final image, but doesn't seem to have had any adverse effect.
Thanks, I'll try that on the next one!
I recently changed my bleach and after doing a couple test with the lights on I noticed that my bleach (when new or old) seems to be too active and little bubbles form on the print that create the little black dots on the final print, the colour cast also seems to form in these areas.
While I would expect this to happen towards the end of the bleaches life, I've also noticed it happening when I've made a new batch of bleach. The first 2 images (or so) will have a little discolouration, but after that the bleach seems to hit a sweet spot and the prints come out with nice bright/white highlights until it starts to die.
So this has got me wondering if there's a way to test it while it works best and then I can recreate those conditions in future. This would also help me recreate the more interesting ones if I wanted to in future.
Would a simply ph test be ok, or would different combinations of peroxide + ca give similar ph readings, but not the same bleaching results? or is there some other test I could do? bearing in mind I only have a darkroom and not a lab : )
IDK if pH test strips would work or not. Maybe a simpler way would be to make some small test strips out of photopaper: fully expose the tips of the strips only, then develop, stop and wash them, and store in the dark?
The other day I tried one using 4 minutes in 1st developer. The "Mottled" areas didn't change much ( I think it might be from water on the surface of the print during re-exposure? ) but it bleached to white in 15 minutes. I've been on a run of more than a dozen where every one takes about 1/2 hour, so I was surprised it bleached in half the time.
I made a mistake in my post above: the toner I have in the garage is "Berg Rapid RC Sepia". I tried using it for the 2nd developer and it was very interesting. The image leaped up almost instantly. The highlights are bright with no color cast ( don't know if that's from the bleaching difference I mentioned or from using the toner as 2nd developer ). The color is really very nice, a deep dark sepia. According to the MSDS, this toner is 3% thiocarbamide ( DK if that's before or after diluting it to working strength ). Anyway, I caught a little whiff of H2S and that's the end of that: I won't use it indoors again. It wasn't much but I don't like taking any chances with that stuff. Not very convenient to take it outside when we're trying to control the re-exposure! But the color was nice enough that it might be worth waiting until night to do that step outdoors if the picture is good enough. ( or, of course, tone the print in the normal way after it's done, which could be done outside in daylight )
I am also going to experiment with saving the H2O2 like you guys are doing. Having a larger quantity of it would make it easier to pour it deeper so the print won't "breach the surface"... and I won't run out so quickly ( I'm almost out of H2O2 again! ) Also, I want to try hanging the print up to dry completely before re-exposure and see what happens. I made a 7x11 inch pinhole image yesterday and am looking forward to seeing what a bigger print looks like
that sounds like a very good and simple solution, thanks!
sounds like, despite yours possibly being very unpleasant, using a different second developer could be interesting way to go. I just finished the portrait project I had initially wanted to use this process for, so hopefully I'll have time to experiment more now. I'm really liking the idea of an "in-camera" lith print, so hopefully I can get that to work.
I don't think the mottling is from the print being wet. I squeegee mine and still get it, usually when the developer is coming to the end of its life (which I had assumed was because of under-developing, but could also be because of bromide build up causing problems I guess). And in terms of bleach life, I made 11 8x10 prints with 300ml (12%) over 2 days and despite the first 2 having a slight colour cast, the last came out as nicely as the first, that is the 3rd. If I had more to do, I'd have been happy to continue using it for the time being too.
good luck with the big print!
oh, and I've also noticed that prints that are brighter (so a darker neg) tend to bleach quicker, so maybe the extra development had something to do with that.
Here's the one developed with thiourea, to give some idea what the tones look like. Not a successful photo otherwise -- breeze moved the camera but it wouldn't have worked well anyway...
I won't comment on whether I think it's a success or not, that's up to you : )
but the colour and tone look really nice!
Just a quick question..
I've been thinking of switching to using foma paper to try and do some reverse liths, but the paper is fiber rather than RC (which I've been working with), So has anyone been using FB so far? and if not can anyone think of any reasons this might be a problem?
I have a couple of issues in mind, but was wondering if the collective mind might throw up anything that in my haste I'll have overlooked.
I accidentally came up with another way to do reversals using sepia toner, see this thread: https://www.photrio.com/forum/threa...-reversal-processing-using-sepia-toner.155754
Reading the other thread that David started makes me think that the re-exposure might not matter or even be necessary in the thiourea-developed one I posted above. If that's true then it would make it easier to move the redevelopment outside and it would also remove a fussy step in the process. The next one I try will be:
1) expose paper negative
2) develop, stop, wash, bleach, wash
3) move outside, develop in thiourea
4) wash, fix, wash.
The thiourea works very well and it appears to make re-exposure irrelevant. My initial reservation about it was that it would be difficult to control the re-exposure if you wanted to take it outside for 2nd development, but I made two today without re-exposing at all... and on my earlier one the re-exposure probably didn't do anything. I just carried them out onto my back porch and re-developed, then took them back inside to fix. The process is simper without needing to do a carefully controlled re-exposure.
Also, only a sample of 3, but all three have white highlights with no color cast. I didn't use any Farmer's reducer at the end like I've been doing on all the ones re-developed in LPD. I think our color cast may be related to re-exposure of silver citrate complexes, and that it develops out a little. The silver citrate complexes don't appear to be developed by thiourea at all. I think this makes the reversal process more "pure", like the dichromate process, where it really is just the remaining Ag bromide that gets turned into silver sulfide. If you like the dark sepia color, then this is a very nice alternative and seems to be less temperamental. I like the tones a lot!
It's fun to watch too. The re-development is nearly instantaneous... the picture suddenly appears on the white paper.
Here are the two I developed today, made last weekend... it was a rainy afternoon and they were hour long exposures in coffee can pinhole cameras:
Taylor Mountain Oaks 2 par Ned, on ipernity
Taylor Mountain Oaks 1 par Ned, on ipernity
that certainly looks to have worked really well, and the simplified process is really tempting. I'm not a huge fan of sepia tones in general tho'.
so I wonder then, what other possible second developers could be used?
and I finally got time, and the chemicals, to try a final bath in farmer's yesterday - it worked really well. It cleaned up some of the ones with the worst colour coast, but also really brought out the whites on some that were just a little flat (exposure wise). thanks for the tip on that!
looks like you are cooking with gas !
but for those of us who are not fond
of exotics i hope you find a useful
alternative developer, like tea or rosemary.
if i remember correctly darkroomexperimente
did reversals using SHALLOTS .. seeing
i have had poor, if not abysmal luck getting
my peroxide bleach to bleach i wonder if i have
additives in my tap water used to dilute my citric acid
( i don't use distilled water for much of anything ).
I'd never used Farmer's or any reducer before this and I was impressed how just a tiny bit of brightening of the whites can change the overall "snap" in a print. Something to keep in mind for normal darkroom prints too Even in the early days of salt and albumen prints, people published reducer formulas, so they must have thought it was useful. I never thought too much about it, and figured it was mostly to recover from overprinting, but reading through the threads about it here at photrio it's clear that some very good printers use it routinely.
Using thiourea as redeveloper also "feels" like it goes in the wrong direction... we've been pushing this process in a bit "safer", less hazardous, less toxic, less carcinogenic, less worry about disposal direction. I'm going to learn more about it.
For those two above, I made up the bleach fresh: about 150 ml 3% H2O2 with about 1.5 ml of 20% CA added. After the first one was done bleaching ( in close to normal time for me of about 40 minutes ) I poured it back into the plastic cup I'd mixed it in, and re-used it for the second one, where it finished bleaching quicker, after 20 or 25 minutes. The second one started out blacker with more developed silver, so that made sense.
But last weekend I tried to save some bleach and it didn't go well. For the first print, I made up 2 cupfuls using exactly the same plastic cup and squirts of CA... and it went as expected and it was nice to have deeper solution in the tray. There was about 1.5 cupfuls left in the H2O2 bottle, so I added 3 eyedroppers to that and then poured the 2 used cupfuls back into the bottle. The next 3 I tried with the saved bleach did not go well at all. All three of them took a long time ( hours ) and were much less light sensitive to the re-exposure ( I salvaged the last one by blasting it under my enlarger while it was sitting in the redeveloper, it took a lot of light to get it to reverse at all, and the darks are too weak ) and all of them have very stained highlights... beyond "coppery" and into "orange". The only thing I can think of is that the plastic funnel I used to get it back into the H2O2 bottle was not washed well enough... I use it for fixer, and I did rinse it, but maybe it had enough residual "something" on it to contaminate the bleach. And my earlier attempts to simplify the process by going straight from CA stop into the bleach also did not work well... the only consistent results have been with a good long wash before bleaching. The bleach is very sensitive to small changes in amount of CA or to contaminants carried over into it. I think it IS possible that the tap water could matter. Maybe these things don't matter as much if you use strong H2O2, but I haven't tried that so I don't know.
I've got a backlog of paper negatives to develop now, which is great! Also 2 larger 7x11 negatives which I'm looking forward to developing. The best thing about all of this for me is that it got me back to making lots of pinhole paper negatives.... there were a couple years where I always had a coffee can or pinhole box in my car or when I went on a walk or when I went anywhere...I made one almost every day. It's fun and carefree and cheap and you can ALWAYS find something to make a picture of when you are just trying to make one picture... and it's fun to always have a backlog of negatives to look forward to seeing. If you're making them all the time, it's easier to experiment and try different things because it doesn't matter if it doesn't work.... a constant backdrop of something fun to do that makes life more enjoyable. So that's nothing to do with reversals, but I'm glad it got me going again.
I'm noticing that you need to expose differently if you re-develop in paper developer or thiourea. With the thiourea, it's harder to get midtones.. .they're way up near the highlights and you have to have quite a bit of density on the negative to produce them... if the negative is near white the shadows are all blocked up. With expose and re-develop in paper developer, it tends the other way: you still need enough exposure to get good highlights, but it's better to have the midtones less exposed. I guess this makes some sense.
that does sound about right.
I'm still having trouble working with lith as my second developing, which could be because of a few things. I've tried more and less exposure on the first exposure, but that doesn't seem to have made any difference. So I've hit a bit of a wall with that.
I did try using some foma paper I have that's supposed to lith well, but it's fiber and didn't seem to like the bleaching stage at all. Is anyone else using fiber paper?
The fact that is looks the same as the ilford that isn't supposed to lith makes me wonder if it is possible at all.
YES, ive been using matte surface fiber paper and matte surface RC and they bleach maybe 3% of the time LOL
rc seems to be working fine and bleaches with consistant results until the bleach wears out, but tho' what's your experience with fiber?
mine gave all sorts of artefacts and unevenness, including discolouration on the back of the paper.. it was also squealing, like it was in pain, which I think just can't be a good sign : )
mine just didn't bleach and then i gave up, turned the lights on
and redeveloped it, and it was as if the bleach had fixed the print ..
happened 3 times with both paper types, its been a few weeks ...
I haven't tried fiber paper. I've been on a run of developing in thiourea, outside. The slight H2S smell does not happen until you wash with water, and then it goes away after about a minute. I'm going to pursue John's idea of using some alternate 2nd developers eventually... the first one I'm going to try is kala namak salt.