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Showing posts from September, 2014

Fresh Developer: New Paper and a Lesson Learned

I had been planning for some time to move on to 12x16 fiber printing. All my fiber-based prints to this point were 8x10 and my larger 12x16 prints were RC. So this was the next step. I ordered some of the new Ilford MG FB Classic and while I was at it I also ordered Fomabrom Varient VC FB 123 based on some comments on forums. The Ilford I hope will be similar to the Cooltone I have used in the past which exposes and develops very closely to MGIV Deluxe RC paper.

I bought the Fomabrom in part because of the positive comments and also the semi-matte/velvet might make it good for hand coloring. So today I set out to try out this new paper. I have learned not to assume that papers will be the same. For instance Ilford Warmtone emulsion has a much slower low constrast emulsion than the cooltone version. So I cut down the 12x16 into 2x 8x10s and turned the remaining strip into test strips.

The print I started with is one of my brother's which he took in Santa Fe New Mexico during the Fi…

Failed Efforts:Orwo Lith and the Story of the Hot Pool Print

I recently bought some cheap unopened Orwo photo paper. Readers (I know not many) of this blog will note a number entries dedicated to attempting to use old paper. I am sure many find this a waste of time and money which it probably is but I learned a bit of history of photography along the way and maybe something of techniques. Some results have been quite good while others a complete failure. Sometimes I can rescue papers using different developers. Orwo was an East German brand of paper which was part of a break up of the original company after WWII. The paper is graded double weight Fiber with a smooth (not gloss) surface and 'normal' contrast.  I ran an initial test strip and it didn't look favourable.

This allowed me to run a full size print at 8 seconds. This confirmed my suspicions. The paper had extremely limited contrast. This was probably less than the original normal contrast and most likely due to the age of the paper.

Next I tried using Lith developer to in…

Grand Tetons Print

I haven't been at this printing business very long. I generally use variable contrast paper like Ilford MGIV 8x10 RC. The size makes it easy to judge print quality and I use RC because it is cheaper and dries fast. I use an 8x10 printing frame from LPL. I bought most of my darkroom online and spent less than £100 on it including a Meopta Opemus 6 enlarger I picked up to £15.
I am also setup to print 12x16 on a magnetic whiteboard I hang from the cabinets in my darkroom. The enlarger head tilts 90 degrees and I can project 6x6 and 35 mm to that full size either in landscape or portrait form. I use strips of magnetic tape to hold the paper up. It should also handle 16x20 in portrait position.
When moving to Fiber based paper I can use Ilford Cooltone and expect to be very close to a good first print using the RC paper exposure results.
I use split grade printing as I felt it was intuitive when I read about it. Judging from the highlights and shadows the ratio of timings for each filte…

Lake Pend Oreille Tugboat Lith

On the shores of Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho is the wreck of an old wooden boat. Small and stout it looks to have had a long and industrious past. Patched and renovated what likely started out as a steamboat it now has the stripped block of a V-8 engine. It sits abruptly on the shore and still exhibits a look of earnest determination even there upon the rocks and installed among the trees. It has been there as far back as the 1960's (probably much earlier) slowly rotting away.
While visiting my father we strolled down the road and found it there alongside the road. I took a number of photos and later when I bought some 16x20 Fotospeed lith paper I thought it would make a good subject to try it out on. The paper I bought was used so the 10 sheets had been reduced to 5 full size and an 8x10 off-cut section. Determined to conserve it I cut the 8x10 into four 4x5 pieces for testing. Later I would cut a full size sheet into four 8x10s.

The first 4x5 I exposed and developed nor…