Exposing AZO

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, I'm just making the finshing touches on my new darkroom, and am curious about the area where I will be exposing the paper. The paper is AZO, and I know that it's super slow, so I'm not sure if I need to paint the area around it black. I'm afraid that if I leave the walls their natural plywood color, they'll reflect the light when burning or dodging, and ultimately fog the paper. If you print with this paper, please describe your setup, and how it works for you. Thankyou for all responses.

-- Joe Freeman (joefreemanjr@yahoo.com), April 26, 2002


Because I'm at school I don't have the luxury of being able to have a more permanent setup for printing on Azo, but I have hit on something that works for me. I have a 250w bulb in a desk lamp that I clamp to the counter in the room I work in. The bulb is about 3 feet above my contact printing frame, which just sits on the countertop. I have the lamp hooked up to my digital darkroom timer to make setting exposures easy. I've gotten good, consistent results with this setup without anything in terms of hot spots, etc. I can't comment on dodging and burning simply because I've found that with Azo, I need to dodge and/or burn so little that it's never been an issue. The room I print in does have black walls, but both the countertop I print on and a shelf directly above it are painted white.

-- David Munson (apollo@luxfragilis.com), April 26, 2002.

Since the neg is in direct contact with the paper, light reflecting off the walls will have no visible effect. Perhaps a negligible speed increase, as the bounce-light might increase total light output. This is just the opposite of enlarging, where flare light off darkroom walls can/will cause the effects you anticipate.

-- Mark Sampson (MSampson45@aol.com), April 26, 2002.

I don't use Azo (only having 5x4), but around my enlarger I have a screen made of 3 sheets of hardboard, painted matt black on the "fuzzy" side & gaffer taped along the vertical edges to make a 3- sided surround about 2 feet high - saves having to paint the walls - mine are a nice restful purple and cream....

If you don't want black walls, a similar system may be useful for you with Azo.


-- Bob Francis (bobphoto@techie.com), April 26, 2002.

I concur with the majority opinion here--Azo is too slow to be much affected by stray light, and because it is contact-only you don't have to worry about "fog." I still do some minor dodging and burning with Azo, but not as much as with enlarging papers--Azo has a remarkably long scale, which is readily manipulated by variations in development technique.

Recently I've been favoring a very active developer like Fein's Amidol in association with a water bath--I can get almost any gradation I want with this combination. I use my Zone VI cold light head as close to the paper as I can get it--print times range from 1 to 10 minutes, depending on the negative. I'll be building a new darkroom later this year, and plan to set up a tungsten point source for faster printing with Azo.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), April 26, 2002.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I expose my AZO in the bathroom, with 4 40-W bulbs about 4 feet (~1.2 m) above the sink as my light source, with the frame on the sink. The walls are painted white (well, slightly off-white, actually), and there is a mirror directly below the lights going all the way down to the sink and light colored counter top. Exposure time is about 40 seconds. My untrained eyes don't see any fog. I get rich blacks and whites where they're supposed to be. I don't see the need to paint the room a darker color or hang up some dark colored fabric to hide the white paint and/or mirror. Buy maybe someone will disagree with me there. I like the results I get. (Then again, I develop in Dektol, not the recommended/favored Amidol or Neutol WA, and really like its color for the pictures I take).

I hardly do any dodging/burning (if any), just like one of the previous posters mentioned. AZO is pretty nice that way. With the multiple light sources (4 light bulbs), however, I do get a nice, soft shadow without any hard edges when I do decide to dodge. When I burn, I just place a piece of brown cardboard over the frame, and hold another piece in my hands to do the work.

-- J. Marten (martenjj@hotmail.com), April 26, 2002.

In my limited experience printing with a light bulb, your dodges and burn in mehtods will have to change. When enlarging the light is more pointed or focused and you creat distinct shadows wheere no image is being projected.

When contact printing on VC paper your dodges and burns are similar to enlarging, because the the light is projected.

However when working with a light bulb your lighting is not focused and one can see the light going around your tools (hand, board etc...) and exposing the image being shielded. Not sure by how much (Azo is slow) and also not sure the sum effect of painting the walls will have.

I have burned and even dodged when using Azo... the way I shoot and what I shoot typically forces me to do burns and dodges.

-- Steve Nieslony (sejn@pacbell.net), April 26, 2002.

In my darkroom white walls are everywhere. No problem when contact printing with Azo.

-- Michael A. Smith (michaelandpaula@michaelandpUal.com), April 26, 2002.

My daughter's bathroom has white walls and and ceiling with pink tile counters. In the past, I've used an ordinary 250 watt soft white in an old painter's work light clamped to a towel bar over a TV tray that has a piece of rubber matting on it, AZO on top of the rubber and a heavy piece of glass on top of the negative. No problems! Incidently, my safe light(s) are GE "Guide" nite lites, two for around a buck at Walgreen's Drugs---they just plug into the outlets. Good Luck!

-- John Kasaian (www.kasai9@aol.com), April 26, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ