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Thread: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

  1. #1
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    The VDB is an absolutely beautiful process. Here's one that I printed this afternoon and toned with palladium. The print is waaaayyy better that the scan below: I broke down this afternoon and paid for a VueScan license for my aging Epson 3200 and I need time to master the software.



    Note, however, the thin white cloud-like line in the center portion of the sky. Rather than a cloud (several real ones are apparent) I think it is a result of folding back the paper too aggressively when checking the exposure. It also appears on the un-toned print but is slightly offset to the left. Nothing shows on the negative. Even when you think you have things down you learn something new

    Thomas

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    That's a beautiful print indeed! VdB is a rewarding process I find, even though I'm often frustrated at the loss of shadow detail in my prints.
    Is the real print of the slightly reddish tint I'm seeing on the screen? It's very beautiful, a bit like partial gold toning.

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Thanks. The color of the print is a light brownish red, not as intense in the scan above and particularly noticeable in the sky region. The image is very sharp as you can tell from the above and the process seems to have the ability of rendering a sharper image than the salt print. I toned this in a palladium solution for 11 minutes so I assume that it went to completion.

    My current monitor, a Dell 27" model E2414H that came bundled with the desktop, cannot be user calibrated as my former Lacie could. I'll probably bite the bullet one day and get a model than can.

    Paper is dry - time to make another VDB!

    Thomas

    Thomas

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    That's a beautiful print indeed! VdB is a rewarding process I find, even though I'm often frustrated at the loss of shadow detail in my prints.
    Is the real print of the slightly reddish tint I'm seeing on the screen? It's very beautiful, a bit like partial gold toning.
    If you are losing shadow detail you need to either adjust your negatives to suit the process, or if the DR of the negatives is already correct, reduce your printing time slightly.

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm aware of the parameters involved. I print from xray negatives mostly, developed by eye, so no particularly precise DR control going on. Getting just the right amount of shadow detail with VdB (particularly after drying) while retaining good dmax as well as highlight detail is quite iffy. It's probably a bit easier with digital negatives and a standardized processing regime, but even then variables such as rh and drying time tend to complicate matters. Overall silver gelatine is a lot easier to contact print in my opinion than VdB - or even cyanotype for that matter. Dry down is a difficult animal to factor in, I find.

    Thomas, it's a gorgeous print indeed by the looks of it. I haven't done a lot of salt printing but I didn't notice much difference in detail between a salt print and VdB from the same negative. Sizing and texture obviously have a huge impact, but that's kind of obvious.

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    ...Getting just the right amount of shadow detail with VdB (particularly after drying) while retaining good dmax as well as highlight detail is quite iffy. It's probably a bit easier with digital negatives and a standardized processing regime, but even then variables such as rh and drying time tend to complicate matters. Overall silver gelatine is a lot easier to contact print in my opinion than VdB - or even cyanotype for that matter. Dry down is a difficult animal to factor in, I find.
    I use the sun as the UV source. Using the sun allows me to dodge and burn selected areas just like with a silver gelatin. For example in the image above the exposure for the first 20 minutes was in the open shade and the final 4'25" was facing the sun while dodging the hotel's facade. This allowed the side of the hotel and surrounding buildings, grass, and wagon to print out as shown while holding detail in the naturally dark facade. The areas that I wanted to appear a zone 1 black, like in the open window on the 2d floor of the hotel and the appropriate window panes in the buildings surrounding the hotel, printed out just right. Each image is different of course but keep the dodging and burning tools handy if you use the sun as the UV source.

    Thomas

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Yeah, burning and dodging is a good idea, although it won't work very well so far with the exposure unit I'm using (a face tanner), as it's a bit too diffuse at the distance I use it. But good advice nonetheless.

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread


    Here's one I just made; I posted the portrait (well, another version of the same session) before as a scan. The photo of this print does the original little justice; the hue is about accurate, but the tonality is harsher and it has a grainy look that is not as pronounced (or even absent) in the original.
    It also illustrates my issues with shadow detail; in the wet print, there was ample detail in the jeans just below her hands. Upon drying, nothing is left of it. I could print it lighter (and lose the highlights), but it would just result in a weak overall print. This was with straight VdB sensitizer and selenium toned before fixing. It's a very contrasty negative though; green xray film developed in Moersch Finol for about 5-6 minutes.

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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Here's an un-toned VDB:



    The front of both the saloon and barbershop required extensive dodging and the grassy foreground was burned in with the lower left requiring a little more. The smudge appearing in the top right was from handing during processing. Periodically I lift the print to drain during processing and this smudge, the first that I have ever experienced, taught me to lift at the non-sky corners.

    Thomas

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    Old School Wayne
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    Re: The Van Dyke Brownprint Thread

    Nice. A print thread. VDB is a bonus. I have one somewhere...

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