--> Skip to main content

Shooting the Sheet - X-ray Duping Film and Positives from Litho Film

Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or at least that old dog can learn tricks on his own. I'm the dog in this metaphor, but by most people's standards the old is not metaphorical.
Photography has been an important aspect of my life since I was in my mid-teens and now I'm 51. By trade both my dad and grandfather were/are professional photographers. So when it comes to film photography, I feel I know alot compared to most.
 

I've been playing around with X-ray film for a couple years now.  A sheet of conventional 8x10" film can cost from about $3 to $15. Some X-ray films are going for less than $0.50/sheet. But there are a lot of quirks.

Most X-ray films are coated on both sides which is problematic for methods most of us use for processing. All (?) X-ray films are Orthochromatic (not sensitive to red) and as such can be processed under a safelight. 

For conventional photography I found Carestream Ektascan BR/A film to be a good option even though it was about twice as expensive as other films. The reason this film worked well is that it was coated only on one side. Unfortunately it is no longer made so far as I can tell.

On my journey playing around with various X-ray films I found an anomaly. I bought a 100 sheets of "X-ray duping film" which believe it or not promised to create a duplicate (chemically reverse) in regular chemistry. 

Unfortunately I found that there wasn't a practical way to expose this film either in camera or in the darkroom. Or that's what I thought before. Turns out my grandfather's old contact printer that I donated to the college where I work (Mills College/Oakland) was unwittingly tricked out by my friend/predecessor with UV bulbs!

I used a projection print scale and put a quarter sheet of the X-ray duping film in the contact printer. And Voila! More or less normal paper printing chemistry and times were used here.

The possibilities of such a film are still unclear to me. One possibility is to try and dupe a smaller neg and enlarge it in an enlarger. I've already made some copies intentionally increasing density and contrast that appeared to make good conventional contact prints. What else? Solarization? Multi-image composites? Adding texture? Using the duplicate negative in ways you wouldn't dare with the original: draw on, scratch up, emulsion lift?

Well go on and give it a try! Just don't buy up all the X-ray duping film, leave some for the rest of us!

1: Original in camera negative (old Ilford FP4, 2: Positive transparency made by contacting (1) with Litho Film, 3: X-ray duping film copy made from Lith transparency (2) as original, 4: X-ray duping film copy made from (1) as original.
1: Original in camera negative (old Ilford FP4, 2: Positive transparency made by contacting (1) with Litho Film, 3: X-ray duping film copy made from Lith transparency (2) as original, 4: X-ray duping film copy made from (1) as original. Photos are of my adorable daughter Ella "Max". Please pardon the flopped images- I wasn't paying attention when I took this.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Linhof Serial Year List - Salomon Says

Recently I've acquired a few Linhof cameras. I got a 5x7 view camera from Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale. Later I stumbled upon a Color Kardan 90 Jahre Jubalaeum edition on Craigslist. And more recently, I found a "baby Technika" 2x3 (6x9) at Oakland's East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use. Not knowing much about Linhof large format cameras, I tried getting more info online, and came across a strange thread on the Large Format Photography Forum . Basically on this thread various Linhof owners ask a guy named Bob Salomon what year their Linhof was made. And the thread is over 100 pages long! Sifting through that thread is mindnumbing. Why Bob doesn't just publish the list of serial numbers is beyond me. Maybe it's just nice to feel needed. So I started compiling a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and the answer Bob gives. If you don't feel like spending a couple days reading this thread to get a hint as to the age of your Lin

How to stop annoying Corel pop-up ads

Corel has done something extra sleazy. For those not familiar, Corel has been making image editing software for as long as I can remember. The Canadian based company is known for budget graphics software including Corel Draw! (Similar to Adobe Illustrator) and Paint Shop Pro (Similar to Lightroom) as well as some other products. The price of their software makes it hard to resist. I bought a few of their products years ago. Recently ads started popping up in Windows (not on a web browser, but just in the right corner of my monitor. Those ads were for Corel products and would float over all other panes in my Windows. How sleazy is that?! So I found a way to get rid of the ads for good. Or at least until you install another Corel product. If this happens to you, and you find it as annoying as I do, follow this instruction. First, hit control (+) alt (+) delete and select task manager at the bottom. If you look at your task manager, you'll see something called "background

Who Makes Ultrafine Film?

One of these 120 paper backings stands out as being different. Not a big surprise, since one is Kodak, and another is Ilford. But our mystery film Ultrafine has the *exact* same backing paper as seen in this scan. What does this mean? There are a few possibilities that come to mind. It's always possible that the backing paper is made by a third party I suppose. Not likely, as there isn't much of a market for 120 film anymore, and I've never seen another non-Ilford film with the same backing paper. So is this mystery film, Ultrafine actually Ilford then? Another, more likely theory is that it is made by Kentmere. Kentmere and Ilford are both part of the Harman group . In researching this I just read that Harman was the name of the founder of Ilford company in the late 19th century. So how is are the Ultrafine (E)Xtreme films? I bought a bulk roll of the 400 speed. Frankly it's pretty grainy and soft. I don't hate it, and I'm trying to work with the grain.