Please bear with me as I work through a year’s backlog of negatives.
Last summer I acquired a bunch, and I mean A BUNCH, of old Agfa Brovira paper. I was hoping to use it for lith processing. Last night I finally got in the darkroom and was not disappointed.
This week I’m going into the darkroom for the first time in a year. As much as I am looking forward to printing silver gelatin, I’m glad I spent the time off doing cyanotypes.
I needed a break from all this uptight pushing and shoving. So I brewed some tea.
More experimentation with cyanotypes and toning in coffee. These are all old negatives.
Shamokin is a coal town in central PA. It seems to have been hit hard by the loss of coal and industry jobs and the opioid crisis. The population is about 7,000 now, down from a peak of 50,000 in the 50s.
Shamokin has an interesting labor history, including the Shamokin Uprising of 1877.
I only spent a few hours there—barely enough to scratch the surface.
A while ago I accidentally bought a box of Arista Ortho-Litho 3.0 that was too big for my 4×5 film holders. (This film comes in two sizes, one that is cut down a 1/10th of an inch to fit in film holders and one that’s not.) It’s been sitting around since then gnawing at me to figure out something to do with it. So when I recently found out about lumen prints, it clicked.
Lumen prints are typically made by exposing photo paper to the sun for a long time, anywhere from a half hour to a day. The result is that the paper sort of auto develops and you get an image. Typically they are made as photograms with organic material on photo paper. But you can use a negative to make a contact print. And you can use film instead of paper.
My first thought was I would make contact prints and display them with a backlight. So here are my first contact prints, scanned and tweaked slightly. They look pretty good. I’ve sent them to be printed as 8x10s. Curious to see how they look. Next step is to build some cardboard frames for them to see if I can light them
Another option I am considering is making photograms and then printing them in the enlarger. I just need to scrounge up some material.
As a follow up to my previous post, I tried another test shot, this time adding a stop of time.
An EI of 0.8 had the expected result and delivered a negative that was significantly denser. There is still some loss in the shadows, but not nearly as much as with the EI 1.6 negative. I don’t understand how people are shooting this stuff at ISO 3 or 6!
Haven’t had time to test print, but here is a scan that I didn’t do anything to in LightRoom. Looks pretty good.
I don’t mind the loss of speed too much as I won’t be shooting this stuff handheld anyway. I’m glad to have the HC-110 developing option since I won’t have to buy more Dektol if I just want to shoot this occasionally.
At the beginning of my One Project, I decided to use Dektol as my developer because most of what I read suggested it was the best choice. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I am comfortable with Dektol. And as I come to the end of this project, I think it’s time to explore other options. I noticed on the Massive Development Chart a recipe for HC-110 at 1:200 dilution for 14 minutes. HC-110 appeals to me since I happen to have a bottle. So, I decided to run a little test to see if this recipe could get me similar results to the Dektol.
I set up a quick scene in my backyard with some blacks and whites and midtones to test. Here is a screen grab from my iPhone.
I took 2 shots of this at f4.5, 2 seconds. The first I developed in my usual Dektol 1:30 for 2:07 minutes @24°C. The second in HC-110 1:200 for 10:07 minutes@24°C.
As you can see from the negatives, the Dektol version had more detail in the shadows, though both were pretty thin. I think I should have added more time for reciprocity, but I can’t find anything online about reciprocity failure with this film.
Just to be complete, I did contact prints of both negatives. Both printed at 10 seconds at F32 (they were thin!) with a number 2 filter on Ilford Multigrade Fiber, glossy. As expected, the Dektol negative gave good shadow detail but also blown highlights
The HC-110 negative had much less shadow detail, but I did like the blacks better. Of course, a higher filter on the Dektol negative would probably get the blacks right.
While I was doing this experiment, Load Film in Subdued Light was also dipping his toe into Ortho Litho using HC-110. His recipe is 1+200 for 18 minutes. I am going to try that to see if the extra time helps with the shadow detail. If not, I will stick to Dektol.