PDA

View Full Version : The Uranotype Thread



tgtaylor
2-Aug-2016, 16:21
Yep, uranium prints.

Untitled - San Francisco, 2016.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Uranium_test_print.214160237_large.jpg

Printed on Hahn Platinum Rag from a 5x7 Ilford FP4+ negative. This is the first Uranotype that I have made and I may have printed it a little too deep.

Thomas

Mark Sawyer
2-Aug-2016, 16:52
Looks like potassium ferricyanide developer? I always liked the silver nitrate developer. Soooo many options with uranium prints! A nice image for the very warm tone!

Fr. Mark
2-Aug-2016, 17:36
Let me beat someone to asking: AFAIK ALL Uranium isotopes are radioactive---though not all are particularly dangerous. What kinds of handling precautions do you use? Who sells the chemicals? I've never looked to buy any so maybe the usual places sell it, I wouldn't know. Besides the undeniable weird/cool/market differentiation factor, what exactly is the reason for using radioactive photo print chemistry?

tgtaylor
2-Aug-2016, 17:44
Thanks Mark. Yes, it's the potassium ferri (10%) developer - I didn't know there are other developers for the process. Googling "Uranotype" is returning far more links now than just a few days ago. Whether or not this is due to my searching alone or an increased interest in the process I don't know but I sure am glad for the increase. The main problem from what I can see is an appropriate subject for the process. From my research it appears that portraits were the favored subjects in the 19th and early 20th century.

Thomas

tgtaylor
2-Aug-2016, 17:57
Fr Mark: It's depleted uranium so while it is mildly radioactive - a very sensitive meter will register about 2x above the normal background radiation when placed very close to the paper but undectible from the background a few inches further away. The main problem is the toxcitity. I wear a mask, gloves and googles when measuring, mixing, and coating. As with all other processes I don't use a blow dryer to speed things up but let air-dry face up. You don't want any liquid on your body or uranium atoms in your lungs.

Thomas

Mark Sawyer
2-Aug-2016, 20:04
Sorry, just having the devil of a time getting the attachments right! Here are a few old formulae for developers that give different colors in uranium printing, from Modern Heliographic Processes (Ernst Lietze, 1888):

koraks
3-Aug-2016, 01:42
Beautiful print and a very interesting tone. I've always found this process fascinating, but haven't actively looked for the chemistry. The toxicity worries me a bit, too.

tgtaylor
3-Aug-2016, 10:06
Thanks Mark. I used a 25% or 4 to 16 ratio (8gm to 32mL) for the sensitizer as suggested by Bob Schramm http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Uranium/uranium.html but thought that 4 grams was excessive. I use a 11% solution of silver nitrate for salt prints and they come out great. I have about a gram left so I'll mix up enough to make a print or two of the black type. For the right subject matter, the red-brown is killer.

For anyone interested, here is a recent you tube video on the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwXuZwtjHks He goes way overboard IMO with the mask used and elbow length gloves: uranyl nitrate is not like talcum powder but a mostly granular compound
so you don't see anything floating up in the air when pouring it to be measured. I use a 100mL pyrex measuring beaker on an Ohaus digital scale and then pour in the measured distilled water and stir with a pyrex rod. It quickly dissolves into solution. I don't question the toxicity but its an easy one to work with. I use gloves, a Particulate Respirator / Surgical Mask, and chem lab goggles that I used in college chemistry.

Thomas

Fr. Mark
3-Aug-2016, 14:00
As a former chemist, I'm always tempted to try new and interesting chemistry, jus, but I may just content myself with enjoying the prints you post when it comes to this technique.

tgtaylor
4-Aug-2016, 18:51
Untitled - San Francisco 2016

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Uranium_test_print.216182604_large.4

This is the 3d printing and the best. The 2d consisted of an addition to the senstizer and an an adjustment to the exposure time. This one, the 3d, consists of a further refinement to the composition of the senstizer and another adjustment of the exposure time. Love the brown russet/bartolozzi red coloration.

Thomas

dpn
4-Aug-2016, 22:21
Wonderful shots Thomas!

tgtaylor
5-Aug-2016, 11:12
Thanks Dan.

Thomas

tgtaylor
5-Aug-2016, 19:17
Untitled - San Francisco 2016

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Uranium_test_print5.217191024_large.jpg

This is the 4th and final rehash of this print. When I printed the 3d yesterday I had intended on coating the paper close to the tick marks placed along the edges of the 5x7 negative on the 8x10 paper but screwed-up when, out of habit, I started coating from the top of the sheet. When coating from near the negative's tick marks, the image along with its resulting border allows me to mount it on the same size board as my 8x10 prints without it appearing out of place. Although 5x7 is smaller than 8x10, the surrounding border makes it appear larger than it is and I can keep the same size board and frame, 16x13, which to me is both appealing economical when using 32x40 board as there is almost no waste.

For this 4th reprinting I decided to keep everything identical with the 3d printing but add just 2 more drops of potassium dichromate to the sensitizer both increase the dmax and slightly reduce the red coloration of the stature. It worked and I got a brighter and more lively red!

I wonder what the longevity of the Uranotype is?

Thomas

Fr. Mark
5-Aug-2016, 19:32
Longevity...what's the main isotope's half life? Multiply that by 10 and that will set an upper limit!

tgtaylor
5-Aug-2016, 19:39
LOL... Yes the half life is on the geological time scale - in the millions of years - but does the print "fade" during the human lifetime due to UV exposure, etc?

Thomas

Mark Sawyer
5-Aug-2016, 21:24
I have quite a few I made in the late 1970's that still look very nice.

roy7
5-Aug-2016, 22:14
Nice work

koraks
6-Aug-2016, 02:19
Longevity...what's the main isotope's half life? Multiply that by 10 and that will set an upper limit!

It's 238 which is stable (not radioactive) and therefore doesn't have a half life. In that sense, the lifetime is infinite ;) This is only physical stability and says nothing about chemical decay of course.

tgtaylor
6-Aug-2016, 09:17
Thanks Roy7.

On the half-life of U-238:

Around 99.284% of natural uranium is uranium-238, which has a half-life of 1.41×1017 seconds (4.468×109 years, or 4.468 billion years).[1] Depleted uranium has an even higher concentration of the 238U isotope, and even low-enriched uranium (LEU), while having a higher proportion of the uranium-235 isotope (in comparison to depleted uranium), is still mostly 238U. Reprocessed uranium is also mainly 238U, with about as much uranium-235 as natural uranium, a comparable proportion of uranium-236, and much smaller amounts of other isotopes of uranium such as uranium-234, uranium-233, and uranium-232.[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-238

Atomic nuclei consist of protons and neutrons, which attract each other through the nuclear force, while protons repel each other via the electric force due to their positive charge. These two forces compete, leading to some combinations of neutrons and protons being more stable than others. Neutrons stabilize the nucleus, because they attract protons, which helps offset the electrical repulsion between protons. As a result, as the number of protons increases, an increasing ratio of neutrons to protons is needed to form a stable nucleus; if too many or too few neutrons are present with regard to the optimum ratio, the nucleus becomes unstable and subject to certain types of nuclear decay. Unstable isotopes decay through various radioactive decay pathways, most commonly alpha decay, beta decay, or electron capture. Many other rare types of decay, such as spontaneous fission or cluster decay are known. (See radioactive decay for details.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_elements_by_stability_of_isotopes

Thomas

Fr. Mark
6-Aug-2016, 18:59
Thomas you beat me to it'

tgtaylor
21-Aug-2016, 08:09
Adam Neder - San Francisco National Cemetary.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Adam_Neder.232195418_large.jpg

https://armyatwoundedknee.com/2013/10/08/private-adam-neder-a-troop-7th-cavalry-distinguished-bravery/

Thomas

Fr. Mark
21-Aug-2016, 18:21
Very interesting looking print. Thanks for the link to more information about Sgt. Neder. The on CMO recipient I've ever met was decorated for action in Viet Nam. He was at a hotel in AL for a unit reunion and I was there for work ??15 years ago. His name tag had a picture of the medal on it or something like that or I would never have known.

tgtaylor
21-Aug-2016, 19:36
Adam Neder - San Francisco National Cemetery, 2016.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Adam_Neder.233191258_large.3

This shot was taken with a 300mm Imagon right after the one above which was taken with a 300mm Nikkor-W and printed this morning with fresh potassium ferricyanide developer and got solid borders and a better red. I like the Nikkor-W version better but the chemistry was old resulting in partially washed-away borders so I'll have to re-print it. I want to keep alternative prints on 8x10 paper so I can keep the mat and frame size the same as those from 8x10 negatives.

Back in the '70's I ran into a Sioux family in Wounded Knee spent an enjoyable and interesting month with the Lakota Sioux on the Rosebud.

Thomas

tgtaylor
25-Aug-2016, 22:13
Indian Wars #2 (Adam Neder) - San Francisco National Cemetary, 2016.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Adam_Neder.237220013_large.jpg

Uranotype.

I reprinted the 300mm Nikkor-SW version which I like the best with the fresher developer. Now where am I going to find another Uranotype?.

Thomas

tgtaylor
27-Sep-2016, 16:20
Untitled San Francisco National Cemetery, 2016.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Uranium_test_print5.217191024_large.jpg

FP4+ on Hahn Platinum Rag.

Thomas

jnanian
27-Sep-2016, 18:34
thomas
these are beautiful !

a friend took his gieger counter to his uranium prints
and it didn't register .. still the name gives people the willies :)

looking forward to the next post!

Fr. Mark
28-Sep-2016, 05:48
Geiger counters only work with gamma and higher power beta radiation. They will not detect alpha radiation at all if I remember correctly. Alpha emitters are still dangerous if inhaled or ingested, ditto low power betas. With proper safety controls you can probably work with it with no more hazard than pyro or glycin developers---but that's just a guess. I do wear gloves when working with even low toxicity developers.

Fr. Mark
28-Sep-2016, 05:49
I should also say these are beautiful and it is nice as a former chemist to see people use other parts of the periodic table in service of art.

tgtaylor
30-Sep-2016, 21:25
The Toaster - Hayward, California 2016.

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Hatward_City_Center.273204036_large.jpg

Structually damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the building today sits abandoned in the geographical center of the very expensive San Francisco Bay Area. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Center_Building. Directly across the street (Foothill Blvd) to the left sits the equally abandoned former headquarters of Mervin's Department Stores. Both buildings are havens for the homeless.

Thomas

tgtaylor
12-Jan-2017, 14:32
thomas
these are beautiful !

a friend took his gieger counter to his uranium prints
and it didn't register .. still the name gives people the willies :)

looking forward to the next post!

Hi John,

If your friend failed to get a reading on his Geiger counter, then either the prints were not uranotypes or the Geiger counter was faulty. Since the half life of uranium is 4.5 billion years if the prints were made using uranium there clearly would be uranium atoms on the paper and a reading above the background radiation would be obtained. The counter can't distinguish between the different emissions: alpha, beta and gamma, but by moving the counter closer and farther away you can tell the difference. Up close a sheet of paper will block the alpha particles and at arms length you can hear the gamma radiation.

There was a very interesting program on public TV last night immediately following NOVA about uranium: Uranium: Twisting the Dragon's Tail. http://www.pbs.org/program/uranium-twisting-dragons-tail/ that is well worth watching if you haven't already.

Thomas

Fr. Mark
12-Jan-2017, 22:15
Are you sure a Geiger counter will pick up alpha radiation? I thought that angeoger counter had a window in front of the detector which would stop alpha which is why we used scintillation cocktail fluid and read alphas indirectly as light flashes in a specialized counter. I could be wrong it's been a long time. Also, there are many isotopes of U. I doubt the highly energeticly emitting ones are sold for photography. In other words, they might be alpha emitters not beta or gamma and if so, the Geiger counter might not find them.

tgtaylor
13-Jan-2017, 00:07
Hi Fr. Mark,

Not all counters will detect alpha particles but some will: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B008TVSQU8/ezgeigercounters-20#feature-bullets-btf. Unlike beta and gamma particles, alpha, which are helium nuclei, are rather heavy and only are only able to travel a few centimeters in air so you have to have your detector up close to the sample to detect it. I am toying with purchasing one of these https://www.amazon.com/RADEX-RD1503-Dosimeter-accuracy-radiation/dp/B01C89OZPG/ref=pd_sbs_328_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01C89OZPG&pd_rd_r=8PB2446CKY6Y23GMGJ11&pd_rd_w=lMz6B&pd_rd_wg=MfJBw&psc=1&refRID=8PB2446CKY6Y23GMGJ11 to play with measuring seawater, soil...and my uranotypes of course. (I believe this was the make of the counter on the PBS program.)

During the first half of the 19th century, many photosensitive metal salts had been identified as candidates for photographic processes, among them uranyl nitrate. The prints thus produced were alternately referred to as uranium prints, urbanities, or more commonly uranotypes. The first uranium printing processes were invented by a Scotsman, J. Charles Burnett, between 1855 and 1857, and used this compound as the sensitive salt. Burnett, authored an 1858 article comparing "Printing by the Salts of the Uranic and Ferric Oxides" The basis for the process lies in the ability of the uranyl ion to pick up two electrons and reduce to the lower oxidation state of uranium(IV) under ultraviolet light. Uranotypes can vary from print to print from a more neutral, brown russet to strong Bartolozzi red, with a very long tone grade. Surviving prints are slightly radioactive, a property which serves as a means of non-destructively identifying them. Several other more elaborate photographic processes employing the compound sprung up and vanished throughout the second half of the century with names like Wothlytype, Mercuro-Uranotype and the Auro-Uranium process. Uranium papers were manufactured commercially at least until the end of the 19th century, vanishing in the face of the superior sensitivity and practical advantages of the silver halides. Nevertheless between the 1930s through the 1950s Kodak Books still described a uranium toner (Kodak T-9) using uranium nitrate hexahydrate. Some alternative process photographers including artists Blake Ferris and Robert Schramm continue to make uranotype prints today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranyl_nitrate If that is indeed the case, then I should get a reading that is higher than the immediate background reading.

Thomas

tgtaylor
27-May-2017, 15:06
A Hundred Yards Over the Rim

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/100-Yards-Over-The-Ridge.146142422_large.jpg

At one time known as The Air Flight Inn back in the 40's and 50's, and probably 60's, the cafe was featured in a 1961 Twilight Zone episode A Hundred Yards Over the Rim according to the current owner and sole occupant of Grant, California, Chris who lives directly across the street in a former filling station which he also owns and one of the two structures in Grant. According to the 72-year old long-time Owens Valley resident the café was originally owned by John Grant who was a business partner with Howard Hughes back in the 1940's when the plan was to build an experimental airfield for Hughes in the area. The airfield never materialized but the cafe is readily recalled by long time residents of the area.

Thomas

BOB KISS
24-Aug-2017, 10:33
DEAR THOMAS,

Looks really nice! I did a How To video on Uranotypes for APIS 2013 and will be presenting an update again at APIS in September.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwXuZwtjHks

Here is an example of one of my 5 year old uranotypes.168742

tgtaylor
27-Aug-2017, 12:30
Hi Bob,

I saw your Video when I first got into this process and posted a link to it earlier in this thread. Rather than using a light box, I print using the sun so I was not able to get exposure guidance from it but otherwise it was a real help in getting started. I am looking forward to the update so maybe you could post a link to it here when it becomes available.

That's an excellent print of the grapes which makes for a fine subject matter for the Uranotype. Finding suitable subject matter is challenging and of the 4 prints I have linked to above, only two are worthy: The Toaster, for example, looks much better as a Cyanotype - which I ended-up mounting on museum board - but I am always on the lookout for a subject. I have about 30 grams of uranyl nitrate along with ~ 15mL in mixed solution remaining so maybe your update at APIS next month will generate some interest in the process.

Thomas

BOB KISS
28-Aug-2017, 09:02
DEAR THOMAS,

Yes, choosing which subjects to print on urano is a trick. It appears that uranos were popular for portraiture during the second half of the 19th C due to their warm color but, as the short essay in an earlier post says, they were replaced by the more sensitive silver processes. As in my video, I use Potassium Dichromate as a contrasting agent to snap up the highlights while leaving the deeper "old burgundy" shadows. As you have discovered the urano process has a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery looooooooooooooong scale and needs some negs with SERIOUS density ranges to get anything near a light highlight and deep shadow on the same print!

I was in a rush and, of course, the bulb on my NuArc 26-1KS blew and I wasn't keeping extras at that time (learned THAT lesson!!!) so exposed 3 uranos for a show in Brussels in the sun. Nice results. Then I got quantitative and bought a Light Measure long wavelength exposure meter so, once I nail the neg/paper combo, I hope to be more efficient in printing.

I will be presenting comparison prints on about 7 popular papers and the results of increasing the pigment load onto Pictorico Ultra Premium as compared to the Letterpress film I usually use. This new neg looks like it just might do justice to the urano scale index.

If time permits, I may try some additional toners as well.

Access to uranyl nitrate is becoming more and move difficult. I found a supplier selling small quantities at reasonable prices two years ago but they have discontinued selling it. I have found another supplier and will place a test order but I am beginning to think that we need to treat uranyl nitrate like a really good printing paper...find one? Buy a LARGE supply! LOL!!!

CHEERS!
BOB



Hi Bob,

I saw your Video when I first got into this process and posted a link to it earlier in this thread. Rather than using a light box, I print using the sun so I was not able to get exposure guidance from it but otherwise it was a real help in getting started. I am looking forward to the update so maybe you could post a link to it here when it becomes available.

That's an excellent print of the grapes which makes for a fine subject matter for the Uranotype. Finding suitable subject matter is challenging and of the 4 prints I have linked to above, only two are worthy: The Toaster, for example, looks much better as a Cyanotype - which I ended-up mounting on museum board - but I am always on the lookout for a subject. I have about 30 grams of uranyl nitrate along with ~ 15mL in mixed solution remaining so maybe your update at APIS next month will generate some interest in the process.

Thomas

BOB KISS
21-Sep-2017, 06:57
DEAR THOMAS,

Yes, choosing which subjects to print on urano is a trick. It appears that uranos were popular for portraiture during the second half of the 19th C due to their warm color but, as the short essay in an earlier post says, they were replaced by the more sensitive silver processes. As in my video, I use Potassium Dichromate as a contrasting agent to snap up the highlights while leaving the deeper "old burgundy" shadows. As you have discovered the urano process has a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery looooooooooooooong scale and needs some negs with SERIOUS density ranges to get anything near a light highlight and deep shadow on the same print!

I was in a rush and, of course, the bulb on my NuArc 26-1KS blew and I wasn't keeping extras at that time (learned THAT lesson!!!) so exposed 3 uranos for a show in Brussels in the sun. Nice results. Then I got quantitative and bought a Light Measure long wavelength exposure meter so, once I nail the neg/paper combo, I hope to be more efficient in printing.

I will be presenting comparison prints on about 7 popular papers and the results of increasing the pigment load onto Pictorico Ultra Premium as compared to the Letterpress film I usually use. This new neg looks like it just might do justice to the urano scale index.

If time permits, I may try some additional toners as well.

Access to uranyl nitrate is becoming more and move difficult. I found a supplier selling small quantities at reasonable prices two years ago but they have discontinued selling it. I have found another supplier and will place a test order but I am beginning to think that we need to treat uranyl nitrate like a really good printing paper...find one? Buy a LARGE supply! LOL!!!

CHEERS!
BOB

BOB KISS
21-Sep-2017, 06:58
APIS 2017 URANOTYPE UPDATE VIDEO now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbAG1Re5LRo

tgtaylor
21-Sep-2017, 12:01
Hi Bob,

Thanks for posting the link to the 2017 update which I found highly informative and the prints exquisite. I also have been brush coating (single coat) Platinum Rag paper, adding 4 drops of dichromate, which I allow to dry for about 1.5 hours before exposure in the sun. Next chance I get, I'm going to try your double coating method with the 12 hour wait between coating and exposure.

Thomas