Finally the day arrived the darkroom would be all for me and I needed to make some lith prints for an exhibition. Last Tuesday I went in, first making some contact sheets of films I shot in Italy this year. Those looked promising! With a good mood I started the lith printing session only to end it rather disillusioned that very same evening. I had trouble finding the exposure time of the paper, I kept over-developing the paper time on time again which results in blocked blacks. For some reason I just couldn’t find the swing, even with negatives I printed before and had notes to refer back to. I ended the day with one print that would be a keeper. Not too shabby but far less than I normally end up with.
On top of that I ran out of chemistry and felt I was running out of paper as well. I had plenty of 18×24 but was making the bigger prints on 30×40 sheets. Luckily I still had quite a bit of 40×50 paper laying around so could’ve always cut that up. Next day at work I placed a speed-order for the paper, chemistry had already been ordered, and it took them two days to deliver the latter. The paper however still hasn’t arrived.
Last Friday I was able to take an extra day off at work to continue where I left off on Tuesday. Great! This day was definitely a whole lot more successful! I ‘finished’ the four other prints I needed for the exhibition (They still require quite a bit of work. Want to experiment a little with bleaching back certain parts and they require toning, selenium & gold, want to try a split tone) and was even able to try some photos I took in Italy this year which I shot with my new Elmarit 28mm f/2,8 on the Leica M6. This was a wonderful combination to work with, light, compact and an absolute solid friend for traveling purposes. No more dragging around the Hass with its lenses (although on the go I usually referred to the 50mm FLE only). These prints are the ones I wanna share today. They are test prints so want to work on them more but they certainly have great potential in my opinion!
Rollei 131 Vintage FB Paper
Rollei Vintage Lith Developer 1+1+24
Average development time: 8 minutes
(average as in I’m too lazy to go look up my notes for the exact times ;-))
These are still a work in progress and will make a broader selection of images as I really like them. With the overview landscapes with mountains in the back the lith process really emphasises the clear contrasty foreground opposed to the delicate tones of the mountains in the far background. I really like this. I’m not sure if this will be for this year as it will get really busy at work now but 2013 will be MINE!
-x 🙂 x-
Easter gave me the opportunity of making some collodion images and to print them in the darkroom. I started the day with cutting the plates. I have a lot of clear glass left over from some frames of which I didn’t use the glass (back then) and was so smart as to save it. I cut some 10×10″ plates and started on a series I’ve been having on my mind for quite some time now. It’s about nightmares, paranoia, etc. I still have to come up with a title. These are the first shots in this series. Luckily I still have to practice on my negatives (subbing them with albumen for example, had lifting of the collodion, or perhaps, cleaning them even better) so they came out anything but perfect. The exact raw feeling that I was after when thinking out the images in my head.
I shot the plates on the first day of Easter and varnished them that same very day. I was ready for the second day of Easter. Darkroom. Lith printing. I wanted that grainy and raw feel lith can give you so it wasn’t too hard figuring out which way to go with these. The images are contact printed (I love the 10×10″ size) on Rollei Vintage Paper 131 developed in Rollei Superlith developer 24+24+600.
I still have a lot to learn regarding the making of decent collodion negatives but for lith printing they work out just fine so far. If anything I’m having fun!
As said before I also made my first real clear glass ambrotype, aka a glass negative, in Montzen. Yesterday I tried to make a lith print out of it. Very much to my liking! The grain really adds to the ambience and feel of the image.
I used Rollei Vintage 131 Fiber paper and made the first print on 18×24 cm paper to try it out. I loved it so much I”ll be making a large print as soon as the paper arrives: 50×60 cm. Also, this was my first go with the Omega D2 enlarger…wow..that thing is awesome!!! Beautiful machine which I’ll use a whole lot more often now that I got it working with the 4×5″ glass plate holder.
The only thing needed to be done was the toning part. I always used selenium toner before but also bought gold toner a while back. With selenium the tone, or wouldn’t hardly change, or make it more red. Both was just not what I had in mind. Luckily I remembered my gold toner in time so I ordered 2 more liters for the large print and tonight tested it. The prints are still wet so I’ll scan and post them tomorrow. Impressions: 4 minutes were too long; too blue. With 2 minutes I kept a little warmish yellow and got a little blueish and that was exactly what I was after.
Sure, with lith printing the true characteristics of Collodion have practically gone (though not really if you look carefully) so you might wonder why. First of all, because I couldn’t wait making and printing my first collodion negative! Secondly, lith printing is what I know (a little) and came to love (traditional bw printing has gotten boring to me) so this was the way to go for now. I’m still trying to figure out which processes I’m going to dive into for printing the collodion negatives but time has not really been on my side so far. Thirdly and most importantly, because I like it! So eat it!
Anyway, a happy goose here and I’m looking forward to the big print!