On the roll i shot there were two more prints i wanted to make. I may end up printing some of the other frames at some point in the future but at the moment i don't find the "subjects" particularly interesting on one of them and the other one is ever so slightly out of focus (dammit)!
I started off in my usual manner on my first print - test strips, proof prints etc but after an hour or so i couldn't seem to get a decent looking print. I knew i wanted to lith print the other two so i decided to try and lith this first one as well. I mixed up some LD20 (15A, 15B, 10 old brown and make it up to an 800ml solution). For the first print i decided to dig into my mini-stash of Orwo BN118 which is a paper i know nthing about except i have used it on a few prints previously and it tends to give a nice brown colour overall with not very much infectious development (much like Agfa Brovira which i'm a huge huge huge fan of). Previous prints i have made on this paper didn't really have many highlight tones so i was interesting to see how it would handle the sky in this shot. I did a test strip, determined the correct exposure, added 3 stops, exposed and started developing. Eventually i pulled the print, stoppped, fixed and rinsed as usual, gave it a little dunk in selenium toner (1:9) and this is what i got:
My next print was one i took on the road to Glencoe. There's a huge layby on a sweeping bend of the road which was practically made for tourists. I was there for about 45 minutes and i think at least 5 coach loads of people came and went in that time, compact cameras a-flashing. I found myself chuckling when i pondered how their images would turn out. For some reason people's holiday photos just amuse me - "here's a lovely landscape with my wife stood in front; here's an interesting statue with my daughter in front, here's a hedge with my brother in front". Bizarre how most people seem to think shots are improved by having family members stood in front of them. I think it may stem from my parents who overload on holiday photos, every single one having my mum or dad stuck right bang in the middle of the scene! Anyway - back on track! I did two exposures at this scene, one standard and one using a cheapo 10 stop filter i got off ebay/amazon (i can't quite remember). After inspecting the contact sheet i decided to print the long exposure one (seriously, the exposure was like 8 minutes or something - i'd give you an exact figure but my notebook is buried in the under-stairs cupboard and going in there is an undertaking that requires at least half a day and a hearty breakfast, neither of which i have), predominantly because the sky had a better looking shape and also because there was a huge drying mark on the standard one. I decided to use my precious precious supply of Fotospeed Lith paper for this print. This paper is long gone but i got 20 sheets on ebay months ago and i'm saving it for very special prints and this felt like one of those. In my mind i pictured something dark with emphasis put on the lake and sky. I chose an exposure accordingly and started to develop. When the time seemed right i pulled the print, processed and selenium toned in 1:9 again. This caused a boost in the blacks as usual which resulted in some slight loss of detail in the foreground landscape - i expected this though and it was what i wanted. I wanted the foreground to look almost blocked up so as to add further emphasis to the lake (which took on a lovely pale lilac type colour). Here's the final result:
For regular readers of this blog (if indeed there are any) you may pick up on the vibe that i begrudge wasting chemicals - they're expensive and i want to squeeze everything out of them that i can. Some would coll that anal, i call it thrifty! I knew that would be power for at least one more print in the lith developer so i hit the negative folder hard in search of something to print from my past. I eventually stumbled upon roll of film i shot at Whitby Abbey a few years ago on my honeymoon (7th May 2011 - a real man remembers when he got married) and realised i had never really printed from it (at that time i was still scanning all my negatives - terrible)! The whole roll was pretty much a write-off mostly due to lack of ability to not chop the tops of images off when using a Diana camera. One shot looked great though (even if it is from the exact same angle that everyone seems to take pictures of Whitby abbey from) so i decided to lith it and see what we got. I spent a few minutes pondering what paper to use (because as you should all know by now paper choice has a massive effect on final print in lith). As i was feeling somewhat devil-may-care a decided to use a sheet of my even-rarer-than-fotospeed-lith tapestry paper. This is a textured "art" paper that liths incredibly well and when put into selenium toner will give at least 3 colour splits. I have used one sheet before to create a watercolour style effect - see here for details. I decided to give it a go with this print as it was somewhat heavier on the shadows and lower midtones than i have previously lithed on this paper, i was interested to see what i would end up with. I determined exposure, processed and dipped into the selenium toner (1:9 again) and as expected colours kept changing from the shadows up through to the highlights. I kept the print in the selenium until i got a nice cool grey in the lower mids and lovely pale pastel yellows and lilacs in the tones of the sky. When using this paper previously i would paint the toner onto areas i want to alter the colours of but i thought this print looked fine as it was so i left it to dry (keeping in mind that when wet it is a yellowy colour but would dry-down to a salmon pink tone). Once dry i was pleased with how it looked:
So, a successful darkroom session from which i learnt the following things:
- I hate scanning
- Lith printing continues to rule