February 2008

Monthly Archive

Light for Lumen

Posted by on 28 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: Lumen / POP

This is our new fancy homemade UV-exposure unit – it has an array of eight 20W Sylvania Blacklight 350 BL UV-tubes in it. All the credits for building it will go to Olli, our school’s janitor, who is also a skillful electrician.

To quickly test a new exposure unit I grabbed a sheet of Emaks photographic paper (made in Yugoslavia) – the package was badly outdated and light-leaked some 20 years ago – and contact printed the negative from the previous lith session.

The result was a pink, low contrast printing-out image. We will need much more contrasty negatives to get photographic full and pleasing tone scale (if that is at all possible). Also, we may need to explore if we can find an inkjet hue that will block the UV-light better still, to achieve pure white highlight tones.

Contact print from a digital negative on Emaks K883 paper, exposed to UV-fluorescent light for 1,5 hours. No development, normal fixer and wash.

Prints like this (contact printing with UV, no development) are often referred to as “POP” (Printing Out Paper) or “Lumen Printing”. Maybe we’ll classify them here as Lumen, because we’re going to continue using combinations of photograms and overly contrasty negatives to produce variety of colored and toned prints on outdated photographic papers (which seems to be what Lumen process is good for).

Here the same print was toned in Berg Selenium Toner, diluted 1+10, for 5 minutes, to achieve more neutral print tone.

Pushing Lith More

Posted by on 24 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: Lith Printing

My modest lith experiments were continued with printing another older negative, originating from 1982 or so. The 4×5″ negative was scanned and enlarged, colorized as before and printed on inkjet transparency. The inkjet negative was then contact printed under an enlarger’s light.

This print (on Bergger Prestige CB Art paper) was developed for 45 minutes in the (very slow) developer that was regenerated in the previous lith printing session.

The prints were developed in the used developer from the previous printing session, the developer was replenished by adding a little fresh working strength developer.

As it seemed the exhausted developer wouldn’t work well any more I felt more experimental 😉 : near the end of the developing time the darkroom’s white fluorescent tubes were turned on for a few minutes, then turned off again, and developing continued. As a result there is quite heavy “pepper grain” effect – tiny black specks all over the print – because of fogging during development. Also there is a wide horizontal stripe going through the print due to uneven development – the print was left in the developer without agitation for a long time:

Looks like the developer really had gone bad, so I threw it away after developing this one. Forte Polywarmtone FB Plus, developed for a looong time – didn’t time it exactly but it must have been well over an hour.

Lith Exercises

Posted by on 12 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: Lith Printing

When printing black&white in the darkroom, there are always people who, no matter what instructions they get, can’t wait to fully develop the print but snatch it from the developer when it “looks right” in the safelight (and usually will be disappointed with the tones later in proper lighting). Well, there is a suitable printing technique for “snatchers” – lith printing, where the success is based on the skill to stop developing at exactly right moment 😉

You can practise lith printing using many conventional papers – some of them work for lith better than the others. The principle is that you overexpose the paper by 2 to 3 stops (compared to normal process) and develop it in highly diluted lith developer. Typically you will gain a combination of soft, warmly tinted highlights and contrasty, grainy shadows – much of this depending on the paper used.

To get started with lith printing there are good instructions by Tim Rudman on the web. Also in Christina Anderson‘s excellent Experimental Photography Workbook there is a chapter of lith (and many other techniques to rip off new dimensions from standard b&w papers). Silverprint in UK have materials and useful info on their website.

I tried lith the other day, by printing an old 35 mm negative on Bergger and Forte papers, which were developed in Bergger BER-01 lith developer. The picture was shot in 1986 on Tri-X and the film developed in D-76 (the classic combination).

This first print was exposed for 50 seconds at F:4, developed for 10 minutes in BER-01 (normal room temp), dilution 1+10. Freshly mixed developer doesn’t give the best lith effect right away, so the print looks perhaps more like normal print developed in any warm-tone developer. The paper is Bergger Prestige CB Art 2.

After developing a few prints I noticed the results too contrasty. I could lower the contrast by increasing exposure and decreasing development, but too short developing time doesn’t make a good lith effect. Instead, the developer was diluted more with water (until 1+15), and just a little potassium bromide was added.

This print was then exposed at F:4, 120 sec. and developed for 11 minutes. This resulted some typical lith look: contrasty shadows and (in this case, the Bergger paper) pinkish highlights.

Jalo Porkkala: The Garden Gate, lith print on Bergger paper.

Here’s the first print that I’m satisfied with, at the end of the printing session. There’s something about the mood I was hoping to get with lith printing. Bergger paper again, F:4, 200 sec., developing 11 min 15 sec.

Jalo Porkkala: The Garden Gate, lith print on Forte paper.

This is a print from the next day, the developer was kept in an airtight container overnight, but it was exhausted already a little bit. The paper is Forte Polywarmtone FB Plus – it’s variable contrast, so it can be adjusted with filtering. Here I wanted to filter flat (180Y, about grade #00), my intention was to develop for long, thus raising the contrast. Exposure was 180 sec. at F:2.8, developed for 16 minutes.

Not exactly what I was expecting, but anyway another favourite of mine, although quite different from the previous one. It is soft, very grainy, kind of mystical…

More experimenting with Forte paper. The developer was going worse still, producing interesting but unpredictable results. Filtering #0, F:2.8, 170 sec., dev. 19,5 min.

One more print developed with the painfully slow, exhausted developer – not bad, kind of “bromoilish” look… Forte, filtering #0, F:2.8, 240 sec., dev. 24,5 min.

Think I will try to regenerate the developer and do some more printing one of these days. To be continued…