|Lith of the old tugboat. Mamiya C220 65mm lens. Ilford HP5+. Ilford LC29 Film Dev|
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 normally as a test strip at 8-64 second intervals with the aperture wide open. This was to allow me to judge the exposure to over expose it by a number of stops. With this I determined the 'normal' exposure would be about 16 seconds
|Test strip at wide open aperture.|
The difficulty with lith is it takes a lot of time. The exposure is 4 or more times as long as it must be overexposed. Slow paper gets to be very tedious. (This paper was mercifully fast.) and the developing can take 10 - 15 minutes waiting for the snatch point. In the past I tried heating the developer to speed things up to great success. That time I used hot water from the kettle to mix the lith. Since this was the same batch I needed to heat it up. Lacking a hot plate I decided to micro-wave it in the bottle. (Wait a minute you are thinking this sounds like a disaster in the making.) Indeed this is fraught with problems. In a normal plastic bottle the air will expand and possibly rupture it. However I use the Kaiser expandable bottles.
|Kaiser expandable bottle|
Judging the snatch point under a safelight is a difficult trick. It is almost worthless describing all the conditions of a print owing to the variability of the process but I will attempt to do so anyway. The first Lith test print came out quite dark. It was a 64 second exposure and was in the developer at 45 degrees for 2 1/2 minutes. Note the highlights have pinkish tone.
|64 sec exposure 2:30 in hot developer|
|128 second exposure faster snatch time.|
|1st 8x10 128 second exposure.|
|1st 8x10 64 second exposure.|
This negative exhibited a problem I had seen when printing it conventionally on RC paper. The upper right and lower left corners lightened quite a bit. I burned these in the past but decided to dodge the center this time. I was unsure given the extreme overexposure in a lith if this would help.
Next I wanted to look at toning so I put the test prints into Selenium 1+3 toner. I show the results side-by-side.