Solarisation

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by christopher, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. christopher

    christopher TPF Noob!

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    I was just reading something about it, expose the negs for 1 second in 100 watt light.. looks nifty. BUT, should the negs be underexposed or does exposure not matter? I'm interested in the effect it makes, (neat outlining, and reversing of the medium range.. or maybe i'm just expecting a lot)

    I will try something tomorrow and tell the results. wish me luck!
     
  2. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    it is best to do it on the enlarger so you don't ruin a neg.

    from my notes:

    The initial exposure is usually somewhat less (one quarter to one-half stop) than that necessary to produce a deep black when developed for half the normal time. This first exposure determines the level of original low values that will appear as black in the final print, as well as which portion of the image will reverse. If the first exposure is increased too much, there will be no Sabatier reversal at all. In such a case, the second exposure merely serves to reduce overall paper contrast. If the initial exposure is considerably reduced the image may be completely reversed during solarization, the high values fogging and the low values reversing and becoming white.
    Development time prior to solarization should be about half normal, in the 30 to 90 second range. Start with 50 seconds. If the low values do not develop out enough, this time may be extended but reversal effects with some papers will diminish--it is usually more effective to increase initial exposure to strengthen low values. However, interesting effects may be obtained when the initial exposure is decreased slightly and development time prior to solarization is extended. This reduces overall print contrast and may give a very subtle solarization effect that is often mistaken for a normal rendering.
    The light source is generally a frosted incandescent light bulb, preferably in some sort of reflector that will evenly illuminate the developer tray, and placed three or four feet above it. A switch for the light is necessary. An electronic timer with a footswitch would be ideal, but is not essential. I keep an array of different incandescent bulbs for solarization, from 7.5 Watts up to 250 Watts. The R77 developer generally requires a much stronger light source for the solarization exposure than metol-based developers.
    I try to keep the second exposure in the 1 to 10 second range, but exposure time may be extended to several minutes if the light source is weak. The least exposure will produce only a very slight density increase in the high values, where it may illuminate detail which might otherwise be lost. Lengthy exposures will produce deep grey or black in what would otherwise have been highlights, and, up to a point, may increase the reversal effect in certain middle print values. Obviously, with a brighter light source less exposure is required.
    The second and final development time should be 60 to 90 seconds, but may be extended with highly dilute developers. In most cases, total developing time approximates the normal time used for a typical paper/developer combination. Removing the print early may reduce reversal effects, which can be desirable under certain circumstances. Agitation should be continuous throughout both development phases, with the exception of the second development in a very high-bromide developer solution, where agitation can cause bromide streaks.
    The contrast grade of the paper is an important consideration for interpretive reasons. Hard papers are typically used when very dramatic high contrast effects are desired. Softer grades are progressively more subtle, and can be used to make prints that may not even look solarized. For example, a low-contrast negative may have excellent shadow detail, but the high values might be degraded and print as shades of grey. A very light solarization exposure on a grade 3 paper will cause these grey values to reverse (actually they are desensitized to development), in many cases without affecting any other portion of the print, giving the appearance of a normally exposed and developed print. The lower the contrast grade of the paper, the less light is required to solarize it.

     

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