Filmy stain on dried prints : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello All-

I recently set up a new darkroom and I've been having trouble with a filmy coating and fingerprints (my own) on dried prints. The prints are being dried face down on a fiberglass screen hammock. The water is filtered well water (Calumet filters-hot and cold). All other processes and chemistry are unchanged from previous darkrooms. Any idea what could be causing the trouble? If I have my water tested, what should I be looking for? Thanks for any help you can offer!!


-- Maia Dery (, April 13, 2002


Maia This would be a great question to ask on the B&W Printing website,which is also here on Lucenet. However, I'll venture a guess that your well water is loaded with calcium. Try giving your prints the same final treatment as your negatives. Soak them in a tray of distilled water with a few drops of Photo-Flo for about two minutes, then squeegee them and dry face up on your screen. You may need to add a water softener to your system. Calcium won't filter out. Softened water is not good for mixing photo chemistry, but is o.k. for washing prints.

-- Eugene (, April 13, 2002.

Eugene's answer sounds right on. The printers I know with wells use RO or distilled water for a several minute soak after the wash. I, personally, would reckon about 5 minutes with constant agitation/shuffling for double weight fiber base prints. Also dry face up (as Eugene recommended) instead of face down, especially if you tone. For some strange reason, drying face down can leave marks, especially on toned prints, even if they are thoroughly washed. If this doesn't clear up your problem, post another question here or on the BW Printing Q&A. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, April 14, 2002.

Thanks so much! I'll try these suggestions.

-- Maia Dery (, April 14, 2002.

The above solutions to your problem work. But I have a question. Do you use rubber gloves when you hypo-clear? I have noticed that fingerprints transfer to print surfaces in the clearing stage from the gloves, and if not soaked away with distilled water or even better PhotoFlo, they remain and cannot be wiped away. I wonder if it is a sediment from a reaction between latex and hypo-clear, or what?

-- Rob Tucher (, April 15, 2002.

Hi Rob,

No, I don't use gloves (although I probably should!).

-- Maia Dery (, April 16, 2002.

Oh well. I guess my problems are from touching rather than from what does the touching. I guess avoiding touching the print surface would help, and Photo Flo afterwards. But that white, filmy residue and fingerprints that seem to be of the same make-up are from the hypo-clearing stage, I am sure, and it doesn't matter how long I wash. Good luck.

-- Rob Tucher (, April 17, 2002.

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