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Thread: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

  1. #21

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    ...Do you have any idea whether it could be used on an inkjet print ? I can try if of course, but wonder if the solvents would immediately affect the pigments, the binder etc...
    Quote Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
    I use a Canon Pro-100 for my black and white prints...
    I have no idea whether it would make a difference, but the PRO-100 uses dye, not pigment inks. Paint thinner might affect pigments but not dyes.

  2. #22

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    I have just (Jan 9, 2018) come across an article by Walter Rosenblum that includes his varnished technique, which I described almost correctly in my earlier post in this thread. The article is in Fred Picker's newsletters, #78, June '94, page 898 in the collected PDF recently linked in the forum. I quote:

    "I feel that a glossy surface prevents the viewer from moving into the image, which after all, is a primary requirement of a successful photograph. However semi-matte paper, which I use, reflects little light and as a result has a reduced tonal scale so I varnish the surface with a solution consisting of a small amount of Stand oil dissolved in Windsor Newton artist's turpentine (approximately two tablespoons of oil to 8 oz. of turpentine.) I first dry mount the photograph on to a piece of one ply museum board since I like the photograph to lie flat under the window mat which I use. The museum board is trimmed to the same size as the print. I then apply the varnish with a ball of cotton and then rub it all off immediately. What is left is a microscopic residue that gives life to the matte surface without a gloss.

    "It is my belief that there is one definite rule that should be followed in the darkroom... one should always exhaust every possibility in terms of paper, developers, and exposure in order to produce a fine print."

    This is taken from "Printing in Black and White, Some notes on printing for the young photographer", a joy to read.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
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  3. #23

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    I have just (Jan 9, 2018) come across an article by Walter Rosenblum that includes his varnished technique, which I described almost correctly in my earlier post in this thread. The article is in Fred Picker's newsletters, #78, June '94, page 898 in the collected PDF recently linked in the forum. I quote:

    "I feel that a glossy surface prevents the viewer from moving into the image, which after all, is a primary requirement of a successful photograph. However semi-matte paper, which I use, reflects little light and as a result has a reduced tonal scale so I varnish the surface with a solution consisting of a small amount of Stand oil dissolved in Windsor Newton artist's turpentine (approximately two tablespoons of oil to 8 oz. of turpentine.) I first dry mount the photograph on to a piece of one ply museum board since I like the photograph to lie flat under the window mat which I use. The museum board is trimmed to the same size as the print. I then apply the varnish with a ball of cotton and then rub it all off immediately. What is left is a microscopic residue that gives life to the matte surface without a gloss. …

    "It is my belief that there is one definite rule that should be followed in the darkroom... one should always exhaust every possibility in terms of paper, developers, and exposure in order to produce a fine print."

    This is taken from "Printing in Black and White, Some notes on printing for the young photographer", a joy to read.
    Maybe, but the initial claim does not make much sense (unless it is a typo), about not being able to "move into an image" because of a glossy finish (!?!!!), as glossy can be very reflective, but also the clearest surface...

    Seems like making problems where they don't exist...

    Steve K

  4. #24

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Maybe, but the initial claim does not make much sense (unless it is a typo), about not being able to "move into an image" because of a glossy finish (!?!!!), as glossy can be very reflective, but also the clearest surface...

    Seems like making problems where they don't exist...


    Perhaps the writer was referring to interference from ambient lighting. Matte prints are more or less immune to it when displayed behind a minimally reflective surface.

  5. #25

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    But the texture of a matte print produces a fine, reduced, but even highlight reflection overall, that mostly affects the darker regions???

    But still a surface texture that "gets in the way" of directly viewing the image...

    Some like it/some hate it... But matte can remove the appearance of much the modeling of the "pseudo-3D effect" on a fine silver print...

    The best were the very fine textured dead matte surfaces, but those paper surfaces have vanished, replaced with intrusive "pearl" surfaces...

    (I'm fine with glossy dried matte DWFB, BTW...)

    Steve K

  6. #26

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    The varnishing, for those unfamiliar, is a means of regaining tonal range with semi-matte fiber papers, whose surface, when dry, otherwise diffuses the light so as to make the middle and, especially, lower tones appear far less dense than the wet print, diminishing the overall as well as local contrast. Strand, who liked neither glossy nor matte surfaces and preferred semi-matte papers (some will remember the days when we had silver papers with a wide range of "lustre" and semi-matte surfaces and textures), experimented with a wide range of waxes and varnishes, finally settling on this one of artists' stand oil and good quality artists' turpentine...
    I know this topic is a bit old but I hope I can add something. I work with a collector here in Atlanta who has several portfolios of Strand prints from the end of Strand's life. I have studied these prints (without glass) on several occasions and I can assure you that Ilford's MGWT SEMI-MATTE surface is a dead ringer. I know Strand said he preferred something in the middle, however, his prints with the varnish lean heavily towards the matte surface, with just a little lustre.

    In attempting to recreate this look with inkjet papers, I settled on Eboni pigments with a hot press paper. I then sprayed the print very lightly with MATTE acrylic spray, let it dry, then did another light spray. Then, I gave it several light coats with a SATIN acrylic spray. If you rush it, you will get a drip and have to toss the print in the trash. If you are patient and build it up slowly, you end up with one of the loveliest print surfaces you've ever seen.

    I showed a series of portraits to the director of Atlanta Celebrates Photography and she said "oh my god, these look like Paul Strand prints!" They really are quite beautiful and wouldn't be out of place in a Strand exhibit.
    Last edited by ParkerSmithPhoto; 24-Mar-2020 at 14:03.

  7. #27
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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    That hasn't been my experience. With regard to contrast curves and film speed, my D-23 1:1 images are basically the same as those I have made with D-76 and Pyrocat HD at comparable dilutions. To prove this to myself I did a rigorous BTZS test of HP5+ and compared the curves with those from D-76 and Pyrocat HD: they were virtually interchangeable. One test like that was convincing enough for me.

    See http://www.kennethleegallery.com/html/tech/D-23.php for a few sample images.
    Seconding Ken here. I use D-23 1-1 all the time and have no problem getting all the contrast I can stand, and that's using a diffusion enlarger and Ilford MG Warmtone, which is softer than MG Classic. FWIW I run everything at 70 F because I'm too cold in a 68 F room.

    Also, I always use 100 ml of stock D-23 per sheet of 4x5; overkill maybe but developer is cheap at the volumes I use it. So 4 sheets of 4x5 in a Jobo 3010 tank takes 800 ml of diluted solution. Also I mix and dilute with distilled water.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


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  8. #28

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    I've recently been doing some tests with D-23 and also with Beutler's formula, and something I call P-23, which is basically Beutler's formula with Sodium METABORATE instead of sodium carbonate.

    D-23 has some of the loveliest midtone and highlight contrast but lacks a bit for sharpness. The P-23 formula really does crisp up the negatives without altering the overall tonality, and the Beutler's is just a hair sharper with the similar tones but it has a slightly higher base fog which seems to be just enough to push some of the midtones up by about 1/6 stop over the P-23 formula. It's probably nothing I would notice without a direct 1:1 comparison print. Beutler's is also a touch grainier, though totally acceptable to my eyes, even at 16" with HP5. With FP4 (really the best film available today), all of these developers are fantastic and the added sharpness from the P23 or Beutler's formulas hardly affects the grain.

    I had spent the previous two years working with Pyrocat-HD and have some admiration for it. That being said, the D-23 variations are perfectly lovely, and the ease of use of a 2 or 3 chemical formula, not having to mix a super-saturated "B" solution and not having to fool with the toxicity of Pyro is A+ in my book. I process for a negative that looks a bit flat to my taste and they all print beautifully on a Grade 3-4 paper. In fact, I can run both FP4 and HP5 in the same tank and get fine negatives. I also appreciate a little more "tooth" to the grain rather than the super-smooth P-HD look. (I did also experiment with stand development and found it to be kind of gross, at least for portraits. Plus it's just a big hassle.)

    FWIW, I used Barry Thornton's Two Bath for many years and at some point realized that the A Bath was perfectly fine on its own, and the only thing the B Bath did was inflate the highlights and introduce a variable that was hard to control. So, when I make reference to D-23, I am actually referring to Thornton's "improved" version which is 6g metol and 80g sulfite in 1L.

    Hope that helps!

  9. #29

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    The "varnish" suggested isn't a varnish, but simply oil in a solvent. Think in terms of oiled paper, how it becomes more translucent, becoming like waxed paper. I don't doubt that some added translucency of both the gelatin and the paper under it would result in a whole different look, possibly more welcoming, but I'd hate to be the conservator in 100 years who has to deal with the subsequent yellowing of everything. If you're working for now, I guess that doesn't matter as much.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  10. #30

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    Re: Developer capacity, D-23, and dilution

    That's a good point, Michael, regarding the varnish. Yes, just oil. It's a linseed oil, the same used by oil painters, if I am not mistaken, and dries. Not being a chemist, so I can't comment on its keeping properties. Walter had told me that it is removable with artist's turpentine, the same way it goes in; maybe that would give a conservator the chills as well. Although my portrait work is meant for history, I don't know that its artistic quality will merit a conservator, and as much as I revere original art work rather than copies, for the obvious reasons, in a hundred years--well, I'm confident that we'll know more about physic by then, and conservation will probably be far advanced.

    It will sound foolish to some, or many, to say that if it was good enough for such artists as Strand and Rosenblum, it's good enough for me. After all, Leonardo's masterpiece in the refectory has suffered terribly from his experiment. However, like the Sistine Chapel ceiling with centuries of smoke and other pollution layered on, conservators did manage to clean it. As I say, I don't expect such loving care with my history portraits, wherever they may end up. After half a century and more, prints of the two photographers finished with the stand oil are still looking very good. For me, that's okay.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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