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Two bath development with Amidol developer
It is hard to imagine more opposing partners in two bath development. There is no other developer that gives as delicately differentiated tone values across all densities as Amidol. Lith developer gives harsh and undifferentiated shadows like no other. If you print a negative with a high contrast range - due to underexposure and overdevelopment - or you want a graphical interpretation with differentiated highlights, it is an obvious choice to combine these two developers. The resulting image will be less colourful than with the combination of Lith and Siena. It is possible to tone these prints towards monochrome as well as polychrome results.





Lith+Amidol on Fomatone 131



Carbon Toner 1+20 for 1 minute

© A.S.C.


This negative resisted all attempts to be put on paper in conventional manner. Even when giving the highlights 20 times the exposure rate, they stayed limy in appearance. Pre-exposing the paper to bend the gradation goes beyond its limits where shadows already need gradation 5 without such manipulation.

With the according amount of exposure Amidol produces delineated highlights already with mid gradation. However, apart from the reflection, the complete area below would disappear in darkness. To cure this we have lith developer with its characteristic ability to narrow down the black areas.

Exposure time is chosen to suite the highlights. Use split exposure with filters 0 and 5 and dodge the area below while exposing with the yellow filter. Burn in the highlights with magenta filtration to give them more structure.

Develop in lith developer until only the deepest shadows begin to turn black. Stop development immediately and rinse before developing all the other areas in Amidol. Neutralizing the alkaline lith developer with stop bath is mandatory, because Amidol is and needs to stay acidic.




This negative still has a tolerable contrast range of about 1.4 logD, but there is little detail in the shadows. The highlights have a lot more density. To render the shadows with detail, lith developer was used until the traces of shadows and mid tones were clearly visible. After stop and rinse, the print was developed in Amidol for 90 seconds and then placed in a water bath to activate the Amidol that was still present in the emulsion. Amidol does not need alkali to develop. Already the change from the acidic developer to "neutral" water allows a visible increase of all densities.

The developer in the shadow areas is exhausted quite quickly, but in the highlights the development process goes on for another while. Amidol oxidises very fast. The higher the pH-value, the faster will the developer be exhausted. If you make the solution slightly acid, it is more stable.



If you prefer a more graphical picture, you can split the tones with these two developers. To achieve this, decrease exposure time and leave the print in the lith developer until the shadows begin to be as dense as is typical for lith printing. This should be the case after 4 to 6 minutes. The less mid tones you see by then, the more obvious will the split effect be.

Here, you have less control over the image tone, which depends more on the paper than on additives to the developer. As a general rule: The more light and the thinner the developer, the warmer the image tone will be.





Lith+Amidol on Fomatone 131



MT9 Gold Toner for 5 minutes

© Horst Wiedemann