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Thread: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

  1. #1
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    Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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 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

    "Even after all this time
    the Sun never says to the Earth,
    You owe me.". Hafiz

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  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    Yep -- moisture content affects the outcome!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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
    "Even after all this time
    the Sun never says to the Earth,
    You owe me.". Hafiz

    Wild Light

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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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.

  5. #5
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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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.

  7. #7
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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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.



    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.

    "Even after all this time
    the Sun never says to the Earth,
    You owe me.". Hafiz

    Wild Light

  8. #8
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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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.
    "Even after all this time
    the Sun never says to the Earth,
    You owe me.". Hafiz

    Wild Light

  10. #10
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    Re: Problem with some of my Platinum Palladium prints today

    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.



    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    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.

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