This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1910" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1910.
A good many of the profession seem to labor under the idea that to obtain greater density more pay should be used. This is a big mistake. If you are not getting enough density in your negatives, it is on account of insufficient carbonate. To demonstrate this take a fully timed plate and place it in a developer composed of the usual strength pro and sulphate . but with only about one-fourth of the usual amount of carbonate. After a little time the image will appear, but will acquire density very slowly; add a little carbonate and notice the increase in density, add the remaining quantity of carbonate and the negative will rapidly build up to proper density.
I have been asked a good many times regarding the fixing of plates in the tank; I find that some photographers are in the habit of removing the rack of plates from the tank, rinsing it off and then placing rack and all in the fixing bath, and then after fixing wash the rack and plates together. Now this can be done, but you must be more than ordinarily careful and see that both plates and rack are washed thoroughly, because if this is not done you are going to get into difficulties. The trouble with this method is that you may wash the rack thoroughly a few times, and then some day when you are unusually busy you just rinse the rack, and then next time you develop the minute particles of hypo that have adhered to the rack are going to make you say things when you see the results. It only takes a moment to remove the plates from the rack and place them in the fixing bath, and just a few moments more to wash the rack and hang it up to dry - this is the only insurance against troubles of this nature. The tank affords the simplest and most convenient method of development, but because it is simple you cannot disregard the instructions for its use and expect good results.
1909 KODAK ADVERTISING CONTEST Third Prize - Professional Class By Gertrude Kasebier
I trust to be favored with an opportunity later to afford you some further pointers from my note book.
Under ordinary conditions the skilled operator is able to overcome or subdue unpleasant contrasts, but conditions do arise when the problem of harmony is perplexing. In the Bulletin of the French Photographic Society, M. Marissa discusses various ways of avoiding and curing contrasts, or of producing soft negatives when photographing subjects which possess violent contrasts, and we believe that a digest of his observations will prove of interest at this season of the year.
In winter time we are, of course, always liable to get underexposed plates, which give rise, generally, to harsh pictures. Forcing up an under-exposed negative with a large quantity of alkali or carbonate in the developer is rarely so successful as using a dilute solution, which, if given ample time, will work up the shadow detail without allowing the high lights to become too intense. M. Marissa points out the necessity for backed plates, and these are certainly desirable wherever their use is possible. But a practical point crops up here, viz., that they do
not give the same result with a brief exposure as an unpacked plate. Backed plates will always bear a longer exposure than unbaked, and if under-exposed one will still get harsh contrasts, although no exhalation may be present.
Particular stress is laid on the fact that the negative image is not superficial, but goes right through the film if it has been properly developed. If, therefore, intensification or reduction is necessary afterward, the negative should, if dense, be dried before such solution is applied, so that it is soaked up by the film, and can act throughout its entire thickness.
When local reduction is necessary owing to high-lights which are excessive compared with the shadows and half-tones, we are recommended to hold the negative vertically over a dish, the portion to be treated being lowest, and to apply the reducer gently with a brush to the over-dense portions, occasionally rinsing the whole film, and then applying the solution again. In the case of a weak negative - weak but not contrasty - one must thoroughly wet the film before applying the reducer, as then the latter will not readily be absorbed by the film, and will act more or less superficially.
Another suggestion of practical utility is that when dealing with excessively harsh negatives,a transparency (positive) can be made by contact, using a rapid plate instead of a lantern slide. By slight over-exposure a very soft copy can thus be produced. A negative can then be made from the transparency, and a greatly ameliorated result obtained. Almost infinite are the resources furnished by these various means, observes M. Marissa, and by devoting a little thought to the after-treatment of a negative one can introduce a great amount of personal artistic feeling.