Dry-down dramas

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tim.bowman
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Dry-down dramas

Post by tim.bowman »

I've fallen in love with Foma's Fomatone FB paper. The color is lovely and the surface is so lush, but I'm having a terrible time with dry-down. My wet print looks perfect with good detail in the darks and creamy hilights. But once it's dry, the blacks are inky and the hilights are grey, even when I think I've compensated enough. This is my first experience with a warm-tone paper. My previous love was Ilford's MGFB.

Can anyone offer some tips/tricks for dealing with Fomatone's crazy dry-down?

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perfesserkev
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by perfesserkev »

This isn't specific to the paper, but recently I finally picked up a very cheap ($49) microwave at Wal-Mart just for the purpose of dry-down tests (I still can't believe Adams used his then-very-expensive kitchen micro for this, probably right before nuking his leftovers). It works great and I don't care much about contamination. I fix fully, wash for about five minutes and blast for about a minute to check the highlight/shows against my goal. After a couple of these you'll probably have a good approximate sense of the adjustment to be made after you see perfect in the soup.
"You compose, you decompose." -- Ernst Haas

tim.bowman
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by tim.bowman »

That's a great idea. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to keep my eyes open when the students are moving out of the dorms next month.

PinholerJim
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by PinholerJim »

I just use an old, but still working, blow dryer which I keep near my drying racks.

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sanchell
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by sanchell »

perfesserkev wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:51 am
This isn't specific to the paper, but recently I finally picked up a very cheap ($49) microwave at Wal-Mart just for the purpose of dry-down tests (I still can't believe Adams used his then-very-expensive kitchen micro for this, probably right before nuking his leftovers). It works great and I don't care much about contamination. I fix fully, wash for about five minutes and blast for about a minute to check the highlight/shows against my goal. After a couple of these you'll probably have a good approximate sense of the adjustment to be made after you see perfect in the soup.
Perfesser Kev is spot on. I learned this technique from Ansel on my first visit to his home. He delighted in showing off his darkroom.

Two things:

1. Be certain the test print is fully fixed and washed for several minutes (2 - 5 minutes if an alkaline fixer is used). If there is residual undeveloped silver in the emulsion due to incomplete fixing, it is possible that the microwave radiation may cause the silver to darken, altering the results. This may be negligible, but it doesn't hurt to err on the safe side.

2. Don't use this for archival finished prints - test prints only. I discard any prints that have been dried in the microwave at the end of the print session as I am not certain what, if any, affect baking chemicals into the paper fibers might have.
Do it in the Dark,



Steve Anchell

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PaulGlover
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by PaulGlover »

I've used the blow dryer technique (an ancient 1960s-looking thing I found at a thrift store for $1) and it seems to work decently well. I avoid overheating the paper and dry it evenly both sides by continually switching back to front. I do this at the test strip stage when establishing base exposure/contrast, and again on the test prints. Has worked so far with Ilford MGFB classic and matte, Art300 and Adox MCC-110 in so far as I've made satisfactory prints. I'm not experienced enough yet to nail down an adjustment based on prior experience but will eventually get there.

Would the microwave approach have any particular advantages over this approach (other than probably being a bit faster)?

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sanchell
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by sanchell »

What could possibly better than something that works? You know the old saying, "If it ain't fixed, don't break it," or something like that.
Do it in the Dark,



Steve Anchell

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PaulGlover
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by PaulGlover »

Good point there, yes. It ain't broke. Plus the dryer doesn't take up a lot of space (wouldn't really have room for a microwave, it's a pretty busy space already). And when my wife's cheaply made modern dryers fail out (about every other year) she can always borrow it :)

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sanchell
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Re: Dry-down dramas

Post by sanchell »

There's more than one way to wear a cat skin.
Do it in the Dark,



Steve Anchell

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