Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Spotting

  1. #1
    Pieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    292

    Spotting

    I have to say upfront mixed feelings about print spotting--it is a necessary for me, something I put off until I have no other choice but to do it. I clean my negatives pretty well but there is always some spotting to do. Unlike digital, there is no undo. You mess it up and the print is ruined. Almost all my prints are on neutral Ilford MG fiber glossy. I have been using spotting color from a bottle with a very fine short brush and a lighted jeweler's magnifier. I just sometimes have a tough time getting the right shade, even when I work light and try to build up the tone needed. I have yet to try the dry pigment sheets, maybe there is more control over the shade with those. I would love to try the old spotting pens, but as far as I can tell they are no longer made or available except maybe on the auction site where they might be all dried up anyway. For those who have mastered the art, any tips or techniques I might consider?

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    7,952

    Re: Spotting

    I used my tongue to dilute the Spottone the last little bit to match the spot. Does not taste bad. I keep a piece of photopaper handy to dab the brush on to check the tone on the white.

    hairs -- work on it in pieces, not from one end to the other.

    Try rewashing the print if you blow it.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #3
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    New Jersey was NYC
    Posts
    833

    Re: Spotting

    For what it's worth, I visited the great Florida BW landscape photographer Clyde Butcher's gallery/lab in Venice Florida a few years ago. In his workshop there was this guy leaning over a drafting type table spotting a huge 6 foot wide print Butcher sells for around $2-3,000 each. He also now makes digital prints from the same negative. These don't require spotting of course. But they go for about half the price.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    2,456

    Re: Spotting

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I used my tongue to dilute the Spottone the last little bit to match the spot. Does not taste bad. I keep a piece of photopaper handy to dab the brush on to check the tone on the white.

    hairs -- work on it in pieces, not from one end to the other.
    Somewhat similar procedure for me. I use the old SpotTone dye, mixed for specific paper and spread on a small plate to dry. I'm working from a plate mixed ten years ago. A replacement for SpotTone would be Marshall Spot-All 4 color dye set. Then as Vaughn, use tongue to dilute, test on scrap paper, and build up the area slowly with a #000 or finer brush. Never had luck rewashing. It takes a lot of practice and patience but a necessary step in the silver process. Forget the spotting pens and dry pigment sheets; I threw them away years ago. You really need different color dyes mixed for a specific paper.

    As an aside, Brett Weston spotted with a mixture of India ink and gum arabic mixed on his thumbnail, which was used as a palette.

  5. #5
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,449

    Re: Spotting

    You can go backwards by using dilute ammonia on a cotton swab to remove SpotTone.

    I use a loupe from Edmunds that has a cut-away on the side that allows the brush to be under the loupe and in focus.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
    Posts
    2,654

    Re: Spotting

    I'm in the same school as Merg and Vaughn, although I don't use my tongue... I have a palette with a number of wells in it, in which I mix a bit of Spottone and distilled water. One well holds just water. The whole thing dries out between spotting sessions, so I just have to add more distilled water to revive it. I, too, recommend the Marshall's or Spottone dyes so that you can mix the right shade for your prints.

    Anyway, important for me is good and high magnification (I've been thinking about getting a pair of those binocular magnifiers that dentists wear) and good brushes. Don't try to paint a line, rather stipple with the brush leaving very small dots of water/pigment mix. If the drops are too big, change to a smaller brush and/or use a tiny (very tiny) bit of Photo Flo to cut down the surface tension of the mix a bit. Don't try to match the tone, but leave your spotting a bit lighter than the surroundings; it always dries darker.

    I keep some cotton swabs on hand that I can dip in water and dab at a spot if I've gone too dark, thus diluting and weakening the spot a bit.

    Go slow and build up your tone in problem areas. Do a bit, let it dry and then come back to it later. Check your progress by evaluating the print at normal viewing distance without magnification.

    I've used India ink as well as Japanese calligraphy blocks, but keep coming back to the Spottone dyes because I can better match the color of the print with them.

    I use gum Arabic to match the sheen when I need to etch a spot, which leaves a scratched-off spot on the emulsion. I'll spot back with Spottone with a bit of gum Arabic added. It works gratifyingly well to restore the sheen.

    Practice is your friend. Make a scrap print from a negative with lots of dust on it and have at it. After the first half-hour of making mistakes, you'll start to get the hang of it.

    Best,

    Doremus

  7. #7
    Pieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    292

    Re: Spotting

    Thanks all. I have been using most of the techniques described (except wetting with my tongue). One of the things I find frustrating is when I dilute the spotting color to lighter shades of gray, the brush puts larger drops on the print than I would like. My goal is to make dots that approximate the grain in the print, not always possible this way. I am using Nicholson's Peerless Lamp Black--maybe I will try Spottone and see if it makes a difference.

  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    7,952

    Re: Spotting

    I made 16x20 prints -- so when I had a particular tone dialed in on the brush, I'd look around the print to find matching areas that needed spotting. The idea was to do it in one touch with a moist (not wet) tip of the #000 brush. If I left a drop on the surface, my brush was too wet (a paper towel for that).

    My selenium-toned (to completion) Ilford Gallerie worked well with the #3 Spottone. The Portriga Rapid (partially selenium-toned for color) was a mix of 5 drops of #3 and one drop of their warmer tone (S, perhaps). There was a little split-toning going on with the Portriga, but it rarely caused spotting problems.

    This print (16x20 Gallerie) took about 2 to 4 hours (I forget exactly) of spotting, due to high humidity static discharges while the exposed film was in a film box, bumping on gravel roads in NZ for a few months. Spotting sand is relatively easy! On a different print, a couple of thin off-white lines about 9 inches across a clear sky of a 16x20 print (Polaroid Type 55 neg with developing defects) took a long time but worth the effort. There was not much grain in the sky to play with. I am blessed with terrible eyes (near-sighted), which allows me to focus within a few inches without my glasses. I just had to be sure my greasy nose does not touch the print.

    I have spotted out white bits that just looked like dust spots (never to the extent of an "LP"). I rarely spot now -- contact alt processes.

    Edited to add. I do not know if it is just the visual thing as a print goes from unspotted to spotted that is magical...or if it is the spending of 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or however long it took, examining every square millimeter of a large print while spotting it -- so that when done, one is seeing the print with different eyes. For me, it is as magical as watching images appear in the developer. It is a chore, but one I appreciate doing.

    PS...Just my own prints, people...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tolaga bay Wharf.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3,369

    Re: Spotting

    Back when Kodak sold their Spotting Colors on 3x3 special papers, they were watercolor. One of those little pads lasted a long time. When it was apparent they would no longer be available, i bought watercolor pans of black, white and several grays. i still have the original pans. Advantage - easy color matching, and a damp piece of cotton removes all spotting errors quickly, and easily/

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    14,600

    Re: Spotting

    Spottone (now part of Marshall's product line) is easy to remove. Just soak the print a little while in a tray of water or slot washer, redry, flatten, and start over. It really helps to use good art store spotting brushes to begin with, rather than those cheap mini-brooms sold in camera stores, which behave as if they were made of porcupine quills instead of recommended sable hair. I'm not into dye tasting. I have a deluxe retouching station with an adjustable board much like a drafting table, covered with black laminate, and an adjustable-arm light overhead equipped with CRI 98, 5000K color matching tubes. Even have my nice black leather office chair they let me take home when I retired. Nice place to read too, if I need refuge from commotion.

Similar Threads

  1. Negative spotting?
    By Rayt in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 21-Apr-2020, 04:29
  2. Etching and Spotting...UGH
    By Kimberly Anderson in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 10-Jun-2012, 11:12
  3. Spotting Pt/Pd prints
    By Andrew ren in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 8-Jun-2010, 06:25
  4. Spotting
    By Matt_5217 in forum Resources
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 23-Feb-2005, 16:46
  5. Spotting Negatives
    By Paul Mongillo in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 14-Nov-1999, 21:28

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •