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Showing posts from March, 2015

Fiber Print Drying Part 2: Extending to Larger Paper (12x16")

Last June I described a method of drying fiber prints using some simple and cheap Plexiglas or perspex parts. The drawback is that they must be sized for the print. I modestly started then with 8x10 prints and had 4 sets of the dryers fabricated. They use a simple clamping method using bulldog clips. It was quite successful and I have used them many times since on my 8x10 FB prints.

At the time I promised to extend this to 12x16" which is the largest print size my darkroom is set up for. One reader commented about some problems they had with a similar approach.

Interesting method, Tried something similar with wooden blocks and bolts and wingnuts. 12 x 16 sometimes sheared off the edges of I started with a print that was too wet. Curious to know how you fare.  So I went back to the same manufacturer with an order that was a directly scaled up version of my 8x10 version. Below are the dimensions I used. The baseplate is in blue, the gray area is the print area without the 4 mm borde…

New 12"x16" FB Prints and Some Hand Coloring

Its been some time since I have done some FB prints in 12x16" size. I like bigger print sizes but with FB there is always the drying and flattening problem. I wrote an article about a solution for 8x10" prints which I use regularly and like the results. I scaled this up not too long ago for 12x16" and my initial trial resulted in some damage to the paper in the corner. This mimicked a comment made by a reader when he had tried to scale up a similar solution. Though the damage and distortion was limited it did discourage me.

I let the problem roll around in my head until I decided to do more prints. I had an unopened box of Ilford MGIV FB Classic and I wanted to try it. I decided I could reduce the paper tension by clamping the edges with less force. This worked flawlessly. Flat prints with no damage. I will give a complete report in a later post.

For this I chose some photos my brother took while we were on a backpacking trip in the Maze district in Canyonlands in Utah.…

Behind the Iron Curtain:More Old Paper

I have in the past been interested in trying out old photographic paper. Mostly out of curiosity to see what different materials were used and try and experience what others may have at different times or places. The paper being very old however probably is never quite the same as it was at the time.
With things kicking off as they are in the Ukraine again I am reminded that some of my first papers from behind the Iron Curtain came from Mariupol in Ukraine which is now under threat. I told the seller at the time that I hoped for the best for them but hope now does not seem like enough.

I recently bought some paper from Bulgaria from the brand Fohar (фохдр in Bulgarian). It was 2 boxes of 100 sheets 13x18cm. One box was white glossy and the other was something I hadn't encountered before called 'raster'. At first I thought this was a translation problem and it had something to do with contrast. After much searching I came across a link to some pinhole photos printed on Foha…

An evolving iPad-based Flow for the Darkroom

I have only been at this game of darkroom work since 2013 and my return to film and photography happened only in 2009. So I suppose I am part of the small army of newer retro photographers who depend on the vast experience of others on their blogs and forums.

I got into the darkroom in a round-a-bout way starting with an idea I had to use than iPad as an enlarger written about here. This project was a success and done as an intellectual exercise. (I plan on revisiting this project again as I have a lens from a 4x5 camera that should produce an image with less vignetting.) I produced a handful of interesting prints. I tried to minimize the cost so I bought a minimum of chemicals and some grade 2 FB paper by Ilford as the cheapest I could find at the time. However this meant I was much closer to a full darkroom. The iPad as an enlarger was interesting but not quite the same as the real thing and so finding myself on the slippery slope I did what what one does, I slid down.
As I said sin…

Fordson Tractor Badge and Test Strips

I recently bought a Kodak enlarging exposure scale to try and simplify making test strips. It looks like this...

The numbers in  the circles correspond to different exposure values. Place the transparent sheet on a piece of photographic paper and expose for 60 seconds. The values in the circles then correspond to the number of seconds of exposure. They are divided into roughly 1/2 stop intervals. My conventional test strips consist of a strip of photographic paper that I cover incrementally in the order of 8, 11,16, 22, 32, 45, 64 seconds which are 1/2 stop intervals.   I decided to try this new method with a number of prints I had planned for the weekend. This one is of a tractor badge I liked which was in the back garden of a house we rented at one time.

To use the test wheel in split grade printing I cut a 5"x10" strip from  my 8x10 sheet of paper. I place the paper on the easel where I want to make my test. Then I place the test wheel on one end of the paper and cover th…