Week 6: A Small Chapel ...

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Chapel Detail, Zero45, lith print
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Chapel, Zero45, lith print

This winter we have a lot of snow (for the region where I live). So it is hard to avoid the snow when going outside to make some photographs. Here is a take on a small chapel nearby. What you see is a detail, the entrance. Unfortunately, the door was locked. This is a lith print on Fomatone MG FB. I used the Zero45 at 75mm. On the right, also a lith print, you can see the whole chapel.

So still snow here, but who knows when I will be able to shoot snow again without any travel.

Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week 7: A Tree ...

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Tree, Zero45, lith print
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Tree, Zero45, negative scan

I took this photograph on the same walk I did last weeks chapel. It is a lith print on Fomatone MG FB.

This is shot up the tree and I wonder what the people thought about me sitting under the camera to make sure not being in the image. Better not to know.

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Tree, Zero45, lith print

I had no idea how this will come out and thought that my other try on this tree will be much better. But in the end, this photograph attracted me more than the other you can see on the left where I was not aware of the pole "growing" out of the tree. So I did not even print it, what you see is a negative scan.

But here is another tree in the snow (on the right), I photographed it at the same time I did the old shed but had no time to print it yet. It is also lith printed on Fomatone MG FB.

Posted: Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 8: A Field ...

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Field, Zero45, lith print
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Water Tank, Zero45, negative scan

This weeks image is from a negative I shot last year. But I had not had the time to print it yet. It is a field near the town I live. Done with the Zero45@75mm and now lith printed on Fomatone MG FB. There are still so many negatives which need to be printed. So every once in a while you will get to see some images from last year.

But showing this image was not the initial plan for this week. What I wanted to show this week was the ventilation part of a big water tank. You can see this image on the left. Once I had it printed I remembered the negative of the field and its similarity to this one - well, triangular-pattern-wise. So I printed this one too and in the end I felt that the image of the field is just the nicer of the two.

Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Week 9: The Last Glass ...

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The Last Glass, Zero45, lith print
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The Last Glass, Zero45

It is still time again. And 8×10 time too. This week I took an empty bottle and a wine glass and set it up in the home "studio". I used the 8×10 inch camera and my small studio light. I tried a normal silver print and a lith version. And I had a hard time to get the text on the bottles label to show as the color of it was pretty light. In the end I managed it, but boy, I really needed more than one or two tries. On the left you see the normal developed print on Adox Fineprint Classic, above is the lith print which I like more. It is done on Fomatone MG FB.

Posted: Monday, March 1, 2010

Some Words About Lith Printing ...

Just back from the darkroom and after so many lith prints shown here, I should probably talk a bit about lith printing, what it is, how to do it and of course where to find more information and materials. when reading on, please keep in mind, this is a very brief introduction to lith printing. Well I would say it is not an introduction at all because the very details of the process are too much to be covered in a single blog post, so have a look at the references I give at the end of this post.

Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some Words About Lith Printing ...

Just back from the darkroom and after so many lith prints shown here, I should probably talk a bit about lith printing, what it is, how to do it and of course where to find more information and materials. When reading on, please keep in mind, this is a very brief introduction to lith printing. Well I would say it is not an introduction at all because the very details of the process are too much to be covered in a single blog post, so have a look at the references I give at the end of this post.

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Jetty, Lake Placid

When I show my images to others and mention that these are lith prints, if these folks are photographers who used to work in a darkroom before they went digital, I almost always get to hear "Ah, lith, I know, I also used lith film to produce contrast masks in the darkroom." Oh well, then I always look into clueless faces when I tell them, "No, although you can start with a negative on lith film, lith printing has nothing to do with lith film."

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Monastery Allerheiligen

Lith printing is not so different from ordinary B&W printing. As in standard B&W printing you start with a B&W negative (or a color negative if you want) and you use a B&W paper (be careful here, not every paper is suitable for this process). The difference is in the developer. Instead of using a normal print developer, you use lith developer - highly diluted lith developer. And that makes the difference - a big difference.

Since we use high diluted lith developer, the process is slow and the paper needs a lot of light. It is not uncommon that you need 3-4 stops of overexposure on the paper as compared to the standard printing. The paper will only be partially developed which will take time in a high diluted lith developer. The development is infectious, which means that the development by-products will speed up development locally. This is a kind of an exponential process and it means that you have to develop by sight and if you feel the image is ready you have to take it quickly into the stop bath to interrupt development immediately. This point in time is called the snatch point. Lith developer ages fast. The results can be very different from print to print. So after a few prints you will have to refresh the developer.

How much control do you have over the process? I would say: A lot. You can control color via the used paper and the dilution of the developer (the longer the development time, the more color you will get). And you control contrast via the exposure time. The less light you give to the paper, the more contrast you get.

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Cyclists

Now, what do you need for lith printing?

  • Obviously a lith developer. I use a developer from Wolfgang Moersch, it is called SE5 Lith and I often use his additive Ω in a second bath to get a bit more color and to deepen the blacks. But there are other developers out there and you can find a lot of recipes out in the net to brew your own one.
  • A suitable paper. Not all papers lith equally well and some papers do not lith at all. The paper choices change over time since many papers which lith printed well are no longer produced. I usually use Fomatone MG FB (which liths in almost every developer setup), Adox Fineprint Vario Classic (not as easy to use as Fomatone, not as colorful and with a coarser grain), some rests of Kentmere Kentona (sharp grain and does not produce the redish tones of the Foma paper).
  • Time and patience.
  • Good music in the darkroom.
  • Did I mention patience?

There is much more to know about this beautiful process, like bleach and redevelopment in lith, two bath lith, two bath lith with standard developer etc. Please have a look into the references.

Where to read on:

  • There are two wonderful books by Tim Rudman: The Master Photographer's Lith Printing Course and The World of Lith Printing.
  • There are some resources about lith printing on AlternativePhotography including a good introduction from ... (who else) ... Tim Rudman.
  • There is some information in German on the web site of Wolfgang Moersch.
  • And then there is the internet and search engines so more information is only a few clicks away.
Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week 10: Snow (hopefully for the last time) ...

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Cornstalk and Snow, Zero45, lith print
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Cornstalk and Snow, Zero45

This is hopefully the last snow image for this year. We got a bunch of snow over the weekend. More than we usually have during a whole year (which is not much anyway). But last week got us already an outlook to spring, so snow is not welcome any longer. However, I resisted to go out and photograph snow since I still had a negative which I had not yet printed.

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Frankfurt, Rotfederring, rsph810

Here are two versions of it, both are Ω-lith prints (as mentioned in the last post). I like the one without negative border more than the other. The black negative border brings a lot of infectious development into the image, too much for my liking. But I just want to show the difference, so on the left you see the same image, this time with negative border.

The prints are done on Kentmere Kentona. I was searching for something in my darkroom when I got aware that I still have half a pack of Kentona. Sometimes you can have a hard time with this paper when lith printing. But sometimes you can get nice results as e.g. the image shown on the left which I did with my 8×10" pinhole camera two years ago in an industrial area in Frankfurt am Main. The characteristic of this image is much different from the characteristic of the ones from the weekend. The image on the left was done in more diluted developer and with this dilution the paper liths with a much sharper grain. Enough about this one.

So it seems that last weekend I had a good time together with this paper and I am very sorry, that this paper is no longer produced. When Ilford took over Kentmere the curtain went down on Kentona. Too bad, one less option for the lith community. But I should go and find out if there is still some of this paper on stock somewhere. Not an option for long running projects, but definitely for having a fun time every once in a while. And also good, I know already the images for the next two weeks, but I do not tell you yet.

Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010
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