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Michael Lloyd
7-Aug-2016, 18:51
I printed 10 Pt/Pd prints today. Same exposure time. Same drop schedule. Same paper. Same developer. A few of them came out pretty flat. They look like there wasn't enough sensitizer on the paper. The common denominator for the 4 bad ones is the time between coating and printing. I think I rushed it. I don't have a print/paper dryer so I put them in a light tight paper storage box and put that in my vehicle (It's hot here) for a few hours. The problem with that is that the sheets aren't separated and they don't dry very fast. They felt damp but I elected to expose them anyway :confused: I need to put the dollars per in^2 for a pt/pd print in big letters somewhere...

Here's a scan one of the 4 images

http://wildlightimagingstudio.com/img/s3/v8/p2077301987-5.jpg

Vaughn
7-Aug-2016, 19:27
Yep -- moisture content affects the outcome!

Michael Lloyd
7-Aug-2016, 19:44
Well shoot. I figured that was it. That's what I get for rushing a process that should not be rushed.

Question- I use 11x14 trays. Today was the first time that I have made Pd/Pt prints at home (post workshop). The process went fine except for the last 4 that I rushed (won't ever do that again). My tray setup was as follows. Does it sound about right, too many, right chemical, wrong. I think I had to much water in the clearing trays.:

T1- Developer: About 3/4 of a QT of Potassium Oxalate give or take a little. Heated to 110F. We didn't heat the developer at the workshop but I like the warmer tone. Does heating it change anything else?
T2- 1 gallon of water with 1oz of Muriatic Acid. This tray was just water in the workshop.
T3- Water. 1 gallon
T4- Kodak Hypo Clear. 1qt stock to 1 gallon of water
T5- Kodak Hypo Clear. 1qt stock to 1 gallon of water
T6- Kodak Hypo Clear. 1qt stock to 1 gallon of water
T7- Water, 1 gallon
T8- Water, 1 gallon

Erik Larsen
7-Aug-2016, 20:30
I always do a test strip when starting a new printing session as my exposure times are never the same from day to day even with the same negative. I don't have a contrast change though?

That's a lot of trays! I use one tray and dump from tray back into appropriate bottle. If I were you I would switch to citric acid and use that as your first two clearing baths and hca for the last if you wish. Citric acid is cheap. A gallon might be excessive, I use a liter and change when first bath gets cloudy, use second bath as first and make up a new batch of citric acid for the new second batch. I wash with a tray siphon. You'll find a good working routine as you progress, everyone has there little quirks that work for them.

Vaughn
7-Aug-2016, 23:27
What Eric said, only I use one bath Citric acid and two of HCA and EDTA. The HCA you use is the same dilution I use, with a Tablespoon of EDTA added. But as long as the prints clear, you're gold.

I prefer to coat and hang up the paper with a fan on them for a couple hours (usually around 60% relative humidity). Then put them in a box and work from the box. I rarely use a test strip. The first print usually lets me know where to go next...and sometimes I even hit it right the first time!

bob carnie
8-Aug-2016, 05:45
I do not heat the developer ever.

I keep the room 70degree and 55% humidity at all times.

I am going to change my first bath as per Vaughn post in another thread.

Michael Lloyd
8-Aug-2016, 06:47
Thanks for all the posts


That's a lot of trays!
Yes it is... they take up a lot of space and use a lot of water. But, having all of the trays lets me develop more than one print at a time. At one time I had 4 prints at various stages.
A gallon is too much. I couldn't rock a tray without spilling it every now and then. I used a 1.5 liters of developer and that seemed about right for a 12x16 tray.


Test strip- Out of 10 prints there were none that had exposure issues and those 4 were still damp when I put them in the frame. Lessons learned. I'm pretty happy with the Edwards Engineering exposure box. I've tested it twice and both times the best exposure time was 4:30. It's new and in time that will change. I'd love to have something with a vacuum frame but what I have works



That's a lot of trays!
Yes it is... they take up a lot of space and use a lot of water. But, having all of the trays lets me develop more than one print at a time. At one time I had 4 prints at various stages.
A gallon is too much. I couldn't rock a try without spilling it every now and then. I used a 1.5 liters of developer and that seemed about right for a 12x16 tray.


But as long as the prints clear, you're gold.

They looked clear to me by the first hypo clear bath. In the workshop we used Dev 2:30, Water 3:00, Water 3:00, Hypo 5:00, Hypo 5:00, Hypo 5:00, Water 10:00, Water 10:00



I do not heat the developer ever.

I keep the room 70degree and 55% humidity at all times.

I don't think I'll heat it anymore either. I didn't spill any of it when I dumped the tray back and I lost 1/2 a quart. I assume that it was mostly water and that changes the composition of the developer. Room temp was 76F and 55% humidity

Now that all of my prints are dried down I'm not too happy with the result. Out of 10 prints I have one that I might be able to work with. The others are flat and don't look anything like what I did in the workshop. I'm a little suspicious of my Ferric Oxalate. Bostick and Sullivan says their solution will last 1-2 years and mine, unopened until yesterday, is not quite a year old. During the workshop we mixed up fresh FeOx and the difference was notable.

Here's the image that I'm calling acceptable.

http://wildlightimagingstudio.com/img/s11/v3/p1935032311-5.jpg

And here's one that I thought would be ok, except for the blown highlights in the clouds, that's my fault. It's darker than I thought it would be.

http://wildlightimagingstudio.com/img/s4/v9/p2036030483-5.jpg

Vaughn
8-Aug-2016, 07:40
Yep, there is considerable dry-down with Pt/pd prints. If I see what I want in the wet print, I know that I have over-exposed it...especially in the shadows.

I believe you are working from digital negatives? If so, what may have to be done is to recalibrate, or whatever is the best term, your digital negs. everytime you change something significant such as developer type and/or temperature, paper type, UV light source, etc).

Changing your developer temperature changes the 'speed' of the coated paper -- more exposure will be needed for room-temp developer compared to hot developer.

Michael Lloyd
8-Aug-2016, 07:50
Changing your developer temperature changes the 'speed' of the coated paper -- more exposure will be needed for room-temp developer compared to hot developer.

There's the problem then. I reprinted one of the workshop prints to see if something would change (it did) and mindlessly changed the process :) I wondered if the 4000' altitude difference was going to be a problem and meanwhile introduced a worse problem without even thinking about it. I use a Jobo for my 4x5 and 5x7 developing and I know better. At least I should...

In this case yes- digital negs. I've seen where some people scan a film negative and then make a digital negative from that but I haven't gotten that far with this process.

bob carnie
8-Aug-2016, 08:14
One thing I like about Pt Pd vs Silver is the visual dry down. In silver if it looks good wet I know it will be too dark dry, Same for Pt Pd as Vaughn points out, with one exception that the
Shadow detail seems more open or compresses less than silver and as long as the highlights are not muddy there is more latitude for me to accept it as a final print.
I have a film dryer going full blast for my first pt pd print of the day to dry it quick to see if I am where I think I should be.

I am over my 10000 silver print plateau , but still honing in my pt pd skill set- it will take me a few years to hit the 10k level.
I have learned with alt printing to change one thing at a time, I have been known to try changing more elements of the process due to my comfort level in a darkroom and it has bitten me in the ass.

The bad batch of paper was a real learning curve for me as I have never seen bad silver paper, but I sure as hell got a bad batch of platine , and it took me months to accept the fact that the paper was to
blame , and not something I was doing.




Yep, there is considerable dry-down with Pt/pd prints. If I see what I want in the wet print, I know that I have over-exposed it...especially in the shadows.

I believe you are working from digital negatives? If so, what may have to be done is to recalibrate, or whatever is the best term, your digital negs. everytime you change something significant such as developer type and/or temperature, paper type, UV light source, etc).

Changing your developer temperature changes the 'speed' of the coated paper -- more exposure will be needed for room-temp developer compared to hot developer.

Michael Lloyd
8-Aug-2016, 08:53
I envy your darkroom time. I don't have one and there's no place to put one in my house. I plan to build a large workshop in the near future and it will have a wet darkroom. For now I develop my film in a Jobo and scan. The closest I can get to doing darkroom work is Pt/Pd. I have to say... I spent all day printing yesterday and it was one of the best days that I've experienced in photography. Warts and all :)

I'm going to go back to the way we printed in the workshop. I'll consider changing things here and there once I get the process down.

Question- I have a DVD set of Patrick Alt working in his darkroom. In the first video he talks about making negatives for Pt/Pd prints. He says- if you normally put your shadows in zone 3, put them in zone 4. If developing calls for N use N+1. Does that sound right? I'm going to take my LF camera out this coming weekend. I also have Dick Arentz's book, Pt_Pd Printing 2nd Edition, but haven't begun to read it yet.

Vaughn
8-Aug-2016, 09:11
It took me two years to start getting carbon prints I was happy with. This was before the internet and all the info now at our fingertips, so all I had was the basic instructions from a magazine article. Also I had never seen a carbon print in the flesh (or gelatin, I suppose), so I did not know what they were 'suppose' to look like. Very few carbon printers 25 years ago!

Part of the 'problem' was that I was needing to change how I processed my negatives for carbon printing at the same time I was learning the process -- gearing both for prints that had the raised relief that I got a hint of in the wet print (but would dry w/o relief). Basically, decreasing the pigment content while increasing the contrast of the negatives. Not very efficient, but I am glad I did it this way -- I learned from my many many failures...countless 12 hour printing sessions with no successful prints.

Dry-down is a big factor for carbon prints, too. The barest hint of texture in the highlights would dry down to a perfect hint of detail, the darkest shadows deepening to rich pure blacks with texture in the form of raised relief.

I have taught many people carbon printing since then, but I emphazise that they will have to go home and fine-tune the process to fit their working space and conditions -- and their personal needs of expression. Carbon is a very versitile process. They can look like Pt prints if you wish, or like silver gelatin, or like no other process. Workshops are great, but one must be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that your instructor's prints are what all prints could or should look like. The workshops are bus stations...you pick the final destination.

Vaughn
8-Aug-2016, 09:31
...
Question- I have a DVD set of Patrick Alt working in his darkroom. In the first video he talks about making negatives for Pt/Pd prints. He says- if you normally put your shadows in zone 3, put them in zone 4. If developing calls for N use N+1. Does that sound right? I'm going to take my LF camera out this coming weekend. I also have Dick Arentz's book, Pt_Pd Printing 2nd Edition, but haven't begun to read it yet.

Good place to start. All depends on the film and the SBR (subject brightness range). That will determine how you process your film. I usually need to greatly increase development from 'normal'. For carbon printing, one time I actually gave a negative slightly less than normal development -- but then the SBR was a minimum of 14 stops (EV on the Pentax Digital Spotmeter went from 0 to 13 -- and I may have had some below 0. Exposed at 2 (Zone V), highlights fell on Zone XVI, perhaps pulled down to XIV as a guess) It made a wonderful carbon print.

As an aside, for Pt, Terry King suggested using FP4+ developed in Ilford PQ Universal Developer -- he claimed that it gave great expansion with nice seperation in the mid-tones. All I know is that I get wonderful pt prints from those negatives! My use of the developer is all over the place -- I change the time and dilution depending on the SBR and which way the wind is blowing!

bob carnie
8-Aug-2016, 10:46
digital negs vs In camera negs.

this is an area that many , can argue which is better.
Reminds me of the Walt Disney show about Paul Bunyan and the new kid on the block with the chainsaw. I remember crying as a child when Paul faded into the sunset with Babe the blue Ox. I think digital has won like the new kid on the block but Paul and his Ox is still around.

Today we could argue the digital negative gives precise boundaries to work from, but Vaughn has proven that making in camera neg's and customizing his process to fit his needs , beautiful work can be accomplished.

I kind of came at this from two fronts, In the 90/s I made enlarged negatives using FP4 with great success, in the 2012-present period I have been using digital negatives using Pictorico with good results.
Next month I am back to silver negative Ilford Ortho 25 via a digital film recorder, and I will use a Variance method to decide what is the right curve shape.

One thing about digital negatives for a Luddite like me is that unless you have a good technical geek around you all the time, one can get lazy/stupid/ignorant of the way this process works and for me I get the deer in the headlight syndrome when it comes to profiling pictorico negative. I have very limited patience to say the least. What happens if my 7900 blows a gasket, I am not like a lot here able to fix or for that matter have the time.

But when it comes to looking at negatives, well I am in Vaughn's camp , meaning I know a good silver negative when I see one going back to my FP4 days of enlarged negs. As well since 73 I have been looking at negatives and converting them into positive images.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck - well its probably a duck... So if you know how to play with film then making neg's is a piece of cake.
I lost this aspect of my thinking the last few years and was relying too much on laying down dye on pictorico and somehow not really understanding how the whole process can be modified.
My friend Sandy King, well I think he is a genius , and have said so many times on the forums and I know I am not embarrassing him with my praise. Profile plotting is very easy for him and others and this digital negative transition is fluid.

I kind of fall out of place in this regard, and I doubt I will ever fully get it. But the ability to make large silver film negatives excites me because this is something I know.

Vaughn
8-Aug-2016, 11:17
Sandy is amazing. His carbon Yahoo forum ("Carbron") and its discussions of making digital negatives makes my head spin -- and makes me very glad I love working with camera negs for printing! Great information and resources offered there concerning dig negs, but I only chime in when someone asks a basic carbon printing process question, and leave the technical digital questions alone.

The whole process from waking up in the morning, to going out to photograph, to making the final print is all one process for me. If I was going to start incorporating digital negatives into my work flow, I would more than likely change my entire process and way of communicating through photographs. But at 62, I do not have even enough time left of my life to truly master what I am doing now...bad enough I split my time between Pt/pd and carbon!

I am reminded of a 92-yr old master musician who was asked why he still practices every day...he said, "I think I am beginning to see some improvement."

I will move on to something else when I stop improving.

Michael Lloyd
8-Aug-2016, 16:27
I wish I could remember exactly how he said it but Patrick Alt said something to the effect that making prints on digital printers was making posters. :D I've made a lot of posters since 2008 lol

The print makers in a little photo club that I'm in liked my Pt/Pd's (posted on another thread). Most of my fellow poster makers didn't see the point but some of them saw the difference in the Pt/Pd. Some of them said that they couldn't tell the difference :rolleyes: I should have printed the same images to and let them compare. It wouldn't matter though, you either get it and want to do it or your don't. I'm not criticizing. It's just how it is.

I have a friend that is a "film darkroom guy" from way back. He's been instrumental in teaching photography to more people that I've met and I've met a bunch that he's helped. He helps our club every month. I've seen some of his darkroom prints and he was very good. Today he hauls around a DSLR that I gave him and edits in LR and Photoshop Elements. And he makes posters on an Epson 4900. I know that he loves to print and I sense that he misses his darkroom. This coming Sunday... barring anything unforeseen, I am going to load up my Jobo, chemistry, a Sinar 4x5, a Sinar 5x7 (wonderful camera), and a Chamonix 4x5, some loaded film holders and go pick my friend up and take him on a film day. When the light goes south we'll precess the negs in the Jobo. It'll be interesting to see if he keeps his and hauls out his enlarger and trays or just lets me scan them for him. Either way, it'll be nice to catch some light rather than turn off and on bits...

BTW - Vaughn... your last post gave me the idea for the film day trip :)

PS- I just took a roll of TMAX 400 out of the processor. It's drying now. I found it in the film tray at the bottom of my refrigerator (some silly people put vegetables in theirs). It was in a baggy and marked "exposed". I know I exposed it but I don't know when. Low and behold it has images. We'll see how the negs come out. I'd rather process 4x5 or 5x7. Winding 5mm film on a reel, in a Patterson tent, is not my idea of fun :D

Michael Mutmansky
8-Aug-2016, 17:18
Heat is bad... very bad. NO HEAT!

Also, eliminate the HCl if you can. It can cause bleaching plus it is volatile and corrodes things. Not good for your lungs. If you need to acidify your water to avoid getting a permanent FO set in the paper, use citric acid or another much less aggressive acid.

Warm developer is fine, but avoid heat when drying the paper.

I don't understand why you would have problems to get the paper to dry with normal temperatures in the DR? Do you work in 80% humidity or do you have an air conditioner? You should be able to let it sit for an hour in the DR in the dark with a little air moving over it and get it sufficiently dry.

Coat up the paper, and let it sit while you get the chemicals out and mix the clearing baths and warm up the developer, etc. Clean the exposure unit. Get the negs ready, etc. When you are ready to print, the paper should be pretty good to go (but of course, you'll need to check).


---Michael

Michael Lloyd
8-Aug-2016, 17:34
I didn't put heat on the paper. Well... not like using a blow dryer which I wouldn't do. I put it in a vehicle that was parked under a shed, and was about 100F inside. But I get your point.

The Muriatic Acid will not be used again. When I opened the jug it started fuming and I decided right there that the "acid experiment" was over.

I coated some paper the night before I and hung that up in the bathroom with a dark cover over the window. It dried in a few hours and I put the coated paper in the paper safe. It was fine the next morning. I decided to print 4 more prints so I coated 4 more sheets. I don't have a darkroom and the bathroom had too much light in it, even with the window covered, so I put the coated paper in a Doran paper safe once it was coated. I put that in my Landcruiser to dry. After an hour it was still "humid". I should have figured out a way to let it sit inside for an hour with some air flow. Not having a darkroom is a hinderance.

Inside humidity is 50% - 55% most days in the summer. My water temperature is always above 24C / 75F (water well) so I have to cool the water bath in my Jobo. Fall and winter conditions are better for film developing and print making.

karl french
8-Aug-2016, 18:07
Those conditions sound somewhat similar to mine in San Francisco. It's typically 70 degrees and 50 percent humidity in my apartment. I don't have a darkroom, but it's fairly easy to set up for platinum/palladium printing here. I only make one print at a time. 3 trays. (1 Dev, 1 Clearing, 1 Holding) Potassium Oxalate developer with 3 Citric Acid clearing baths. Typically after I coat a piece of paper it only takes 30-75 minutes (10x12 paper to 10x22 paper for 8x10 - 8x20 prints) for it to dry enough for printing. I picked up one of those cheap moisture meters on amazon. I aim for 14-16 percent moisture content in coated area of the paper. I just find a cabinet somewhere in the bathroom/vanity/or closet where I set the paper to dry in the dark. A 75 degree room temp/water temp should be just fine for printing. And since we typically overdevelop film for alt printing, the 75 degree water temp can work to you advantage as well. My cold tap water is typically around 65 degrees.

Vaughn
8-Aug-2016, 18:55
Michael, for what it is worth, I have not had a darkroom for three years...bathroom and kitchen at night has to do until I get more done to weather-proof my house for the coming winter.

Jim Noel
9-Aug-2016, 09:27
In his posts on this thread Vaughn has given some very good advice, especially concerning what to do after attending a workshop. Workshops are intended to give newcomers to a particular process a place to begin, not a place to end. Water quality, relative humidity, temperature, UV source, and many other things alter final prints.
Also I would add that "Haste makes waste". An old adage yes, but a most valid one. At one point the originator of this thread indicated having four prints in various stages of exposure and processing simultaneously. One at a time from beginning to wash helps to assure more consistent work. I had a student whom I frequently caught with 3 or 4 prints in developer trays in the school darkroom. His printing, in fact his photography in general, showed little or no progress from his first class to his last. This began over 10 years ago, and his printing skills still show little if any improvement.
Slow down, think, keep notes and your problems will become fewer.

Jim Fitzgerald
9-Aug-2016, 09:54
In his posts on this thread Vaughn has given some very good advice, especially concerning what to do after attending a workshop. Workshops are intended to give newcomers to a particular process a place to begin, not a place to end. Water quality, relative humidity, temperature, UV source, and many other things alter final prints.
Also I would add that "Haste makes waste". An old adage yes, but a most valid one. At one point the originator of this thread indicated having four prints in various stages of exposure and processing simultaneously. One at a time from beginning to wash helps to assure more consistent work. I had a student whom I frequently caught with 3 or 4 prints in developer trays in the school darkroom. His printing, in fact his photography in general, showed little or no progress from his first class to his last. This began over 10 years ago, and his printing skills still show little if any improvement.
Slow down, think, keep notes and your problems will become fewer.

Jim, very sound advice. You want to get it right. Follow procedures and take notes.

lab black
9-Aug-2016, 11:08
In response to your inquiry regarding Patrick Alt's suggestions in his Pt/Pd video, where he recommends metering shadows so that they are placed on zone IV, rather than zone III and processing film to N+1 rather than N, both techniques depend on the specific conditions that the photographer encounters. While open to interpretation, zone placement of shadows has been discussed at length by Bruce Barnbaum in his online, You Tube video, "Placing Shadows on Zone 1V,"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlnt5yFArWo

The successful practitioner of Pt/Pd print-making benefits from a firm understanding of negative development and negative density and how that impacts print quality. Rather than uniformly developing to N+1 for Pt/Pd negatives, Dick Arentz's book provides a wealth of useful information regarding negative density values. Dick and Patrick incorporate(d) divergent methodologies in their approaches to Pt/Pd print making and perhaps, after studying both disciplines, you can interpolate helpful techniques which best serve your specific needs. In addition, in the second edition of Dick's book, Platinum & Palladium Printing, Stan Klimek provides in depth details of paper humidification prior to printing which you may find to be of interest. Certainly, there are alternating views regarding this subject. Given the complexity of Pt/Pd printing, both Jim Noel and Vaughn offer sage advice to concentrate on methodically changing one variable at a time.