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  #1  
Old 12th September 2020, 12:12 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Default I'm beginning to hate sky areas!

I was in the darkroom yesterday printing for this months print exchange, quite happily enjoying myself...

The first print came out fine. With a few films recently developed, I thought that I would do a second print from a different negative to send to this month's recipient.

I did one print and it looked good under the safe-light. I turned on the daylight bulb to look at it in a holding tray, as I use a Nova slot processor, and it looked good. So, on went the safe-light again and another print was made for myself.

I then took the prints to the bathroom to be washed. After the required time, I took them out and put them into the drying rack. It was then that I spotted a blooming great white spot in the large area of sky on the second negatives print. Aaaaarghhhh!!!!! I went back to the darkroom and checked and cleaned the negative and tried printing it again, but the same mark was there.

Now this has thankfully only happened a few times to me in my years of developing and printing. This particular picture was shot on a roll of Rollei 400, which hasn't got the best grain in the world, especially in sky areas, but I don't mind that at all. It's the blooming great white blob, well at least a blob if not blooming great blob, but despite buying umpteen various pens and inks, I have never gotten one that matches my most used papers, being Ilford and Kentmere. So prints with tiny spots are sent out with an apology, because of my useless spotting skills, which are so bad, but mostly due to the above, I've just about given up trying.

I hate to say it, but this would have been so easy to remedy in the digi-naughty-word world.

I find myself screaming and thinking that I'll make an effort to just avoid taking pictures with areas of sky in, but I know that won't last long.

Sorry, but I just had to get this off my chest as I wonder if anyone else has had the same feeling and is there an ink out there that matches Ilford's various b/w prints that are not warm or toned, but just straight prints?

Phew! I feel better just saying it!

Terry S
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Old 12th September 2020, 01:10 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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We all get spots, including great blobs, I have an old,15 to 20 years, Kaiser spotting set, watercolor,s, one set for warmtone and one set for colder, and as long as it's not a RC glossy print, say a pearl or satin, works a treat, I use my spit, load the brush with the colour, remove the excess on a kitchen towel, and spot, if the colour is not right simple, just wipe it off with the kitchen towel, and mix the light and dark greys, with black or the tube of white, and eventualy you will get the right colour, you have a choice of different greys, 5 shades of grey, plus black and white, takes a little patience but you get it pretty much perfect in the end,and the tray seems to last almost forever, the lid is designed to act as a mixing plate, Like you my spotting skills are not that great, and I only spot if the spots are large, and show up, tiny almost unseen spots I don't bother with, I don't know if you can still get these kits, there was the Kaiser one and a Hama one, but they work well, very oold fashioned way of spotting, I learned to use water colour's to spot in my youth, to many years ago to think about, but still applicable today, also I pretty always with 35mm film take 3 negatives at a time of the scene, so very often if one has a problem I have another 2 to use as I hate spotting with a vengeance, and would rather try a second or third negative than spot
Richard
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Old 12th September 2020, 01:25 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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Terry, the ones I use are called SPOTONE.
Sadly no longer made, but you regularly see second hand sets on that well known auction site.
My set has six bottles and an instruction sheet. It tells you what proportions to mix the dyes, drop by drop,for the different papers. Some papers no longer made unfortunately.
They last for years as long as you are only touching up dust spots and not painting out entire objects.
Once you have the chosen colour mixed, put the smallest drop you can onto a small porcelain palette or saucer. I use a darning needle to pick up the tiny drops needed. It's not being tight it's just looking after the stuff whilst it is still available.

Look to the internet auction sites. Well worth waiting to get some.
Firstcall sell a few products such as dry dyes on sheets of paper and Marshall's spotting inks.

No experience of those though.

Store the saucer in a box to keep the dust at bay.
When required, the dried spot on the saucer is touched with faintly damp spotting brush and it is restored to working condition.
Do not wash the brush after use as you wash away usable dye. Just keep it in the same breathable cardboard box as the saucer or palette and it will last for years.

Cheers.
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Old 12th September 2020, 02:40 PM
John King John King is online now
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A good alternative is to use the 'better' dyes used for Epson printers. Water soluble and with an estimated life of decades against fading. The colours incl the blacks are intense and highly concentrated, so will need a lot of dilution - I use distilled water (I 'milk' a de-humidifier) with a touch of Kodak Photoflo. I started off by using a plain white tea plate that was no longer used for it's original purpose. I dropped a single spot of each of the 9 colours on the plate and left them to dry. The rest of the plate became a mixing palette for the different colours I use when spotting RA4 prints.

I have the remnants of a set of refillable bottles destined originally for the P600 model. I have enough spotting agent for around 2 lifetimes and some more.

Whilst on the same subject I have never managed to come to grips and be able to remove black spots on B&W prints, never mind colour. I have tried all manner of bleaches/reducers and still never managed to do it satisfactorily. Thank goodness they are a lot rarer than dust spots.

Last edited by John King; 12th September 2020 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 12th September 2020, 02:40 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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Me again.

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This is my original watercolour spotting set from the late 60s - 70s..
The advice I had was to chew a Rowntrees Fruit Gum whilst spotting. This puts gum into your saliva, and when you pointed the brush the tiny amount of gum mixed with the colour. This held the brush into a fine point, and most importantly when the colour dried, the pigment dried to a slightly gloss finish. It sounds daft but it does work. Without this little trick, the matt spots on the gloss print surface stood out worse than the original spot.
Thinking back to the Radium Girls who used to lick the paint brushes when painting radioactive luminous figures on watch dials, it is worth thinking twice before you do lick the brush. Who knows what poisons are in the dyes.

Cheers.
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Old 12th September 2020, 03:24 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John King View Post
A good alternative is to use the 'better' dyes used for Epson printers. Water soluble and with an estimated life of decades against fading. The colours incl the blacks are intense and highly concentrated, so will need a lot of dilution - I use distilled water (I 'milk' a de-humidifier) with a touch of Kodak Photoflo. I started off by using a plain white tea plate that was no longer used for it's original purpose. I dropped a single spot of each of the 9 colours on the plate and left them to dry. The rest of the plate became a mixing palette for the different colours I use when spotting RA4 prints.

I have the remnants of a set of refillable bottles destined originally for the P600 model. I have enough spotting agent for around 2 lifetimes and some more.

Whilst on the same subject I have never managed to come to grips and be able to remove black spots on B&W prints, never mind colour. I have tried all manner of bleaches/reducers and still never managed to do it satisfactorily. Thank goodness they are a lot rarer than dust spots.
Many years ago a Professional photographer of some repute taught me how to ''knife'' the black spots with a scalpel blade, this was in the pre RC paper days, it worked well on FB paper, but you can't knife RC paper without damaging the plastic, but on FB paper it was a very easy light knifing just to the emulsion, get rid of the offending mark, then spot in the normal way, It's been a long time since I have tried this, but I still have a scalpel blade holder, might try it again one of these days, mabe using a mount cutter blade from my Logan cutter, I think I might get some funny looks today if I went into a chemist and asked for a scalpel blade
Richard
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Old 12th September 2020, 04:09 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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I used to use a Swan Morton disposable scalpel blade. Still sold in proper model making shops today.
The best type for me had a convex cutting edge. The pointed straight edged sort had a tendency to dig in and lift up tufts of the paper fibres.
A gentle scrape with the centre of the curve was all it took. Only on fibre papers though.
My first enlarger was Russian Zenit. Complete with condensers.
As a teenager, printing in my dusty, fluffy bedroom combined with the condenser enlarger, I had lots of practice at spotting.
A completely different topic I know, but I rarely got dust spots when I changed to a diffuser enlarger.

Cheers.
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Old 12th September 2020, 05:12 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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I remember the trusty Zenit enlarger, the ''enlarger in a suitcase'', My first real enlarger was a Gnome, I can't remember which model, but before that I had a Johnson's of Hendon enlarger in which you put a 35mm negative in the top, it had some sort of lens in the middle and you put a sheet of postcard paper in the bottom, waved a bulb around above the negative, 6 inches above IIRC, for about a minute and you got a postcard enlargement, and my first permanent darkroom was the cupboard under the stair, you can imagine the dust, before that it was blacked out bathroom, I was around 13/14 and it didn't always go down with the rest of the family, we only had the one bathroom, so I rather did need the retouching on my prints, I used to print on Kodak Bromesko, 1/2 plate/whole plate and for that special negative I would open a packet of 25 sheets of 10x8, but that was rare, it was very expensive for a youngster i8n those days.
Ri8chard
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Old 13th September 2020, 11:53 AM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone.

I agree that the surface of RC prints are harder to spot than FB ones, but I only print my best prints onto FB occasionally, and so far they have always been dust and spot free.

As for glossy RC prints, I find it a surface that doesn't take kindly to trying to do anything to. I have not been a fan of the glossy surface for some decades now, partly because of this, but having just discovered a small stash of it in my darkroom, and recently given it a go, I found my views turned. Something about time and growing fonder come to mind, as long as I use a blemish free negative.

As for all the recommendations including the likes of Spotone and printer inks, I've tried them all and now have quite a collection of various liquids and paint blocks of all colours of the rainbow. The main thing that I dislike about them all, from cheapest to the more expensive, is that when diluted, even by a small amount, the colours then becomes more of a dark blue rather than black or dark grey and they just doesn't blend in on any of my prints. If anyone can tell me of anything that don't do this, I will gratefully listen. The only thing that I haven't tried, that has been mentioned, is a really old watercolour set or two, that I have. I will search them out and try them with baited breath.

And going off topic slightly, Richard, I too have one of the 'Johnson's of Hendon postcard enlargers', which I bought a while ago but haven't got around to trying. I think that I'll try to give it a go over the next few days, whilst it is rather sunny and who knows, but with a rather basic lens it might smooth out any blemish.

Terry S
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Old 13th September 2020, 01:24 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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Terry, I may be reading you wrong regards the postcard size enlarger.
I longed for one of these when I was a kid but they were way beyond my pocket money.

You mention "whilst it is rather sunny" .
I am wondering if you you are thinking the exposure is done out in the sunlight after loading the negative and paper?

The one I saw had a picture in the instructions using a light bulb on the end of a piece of flex.

The bulb was held above the negative end and moved around in a circle and then a zig zag movement across the negative. This was supposed to ensure even, repeatable illumination, and hence exposure.

I could be have mis-read you altogether.

Any way, enjoy yourself.

Cheers.
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