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Thread: salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
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    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    I want to explore a number of different Victorian printing processes over the next few years, with an eye toward platinum/palladium as my goal. Pt/Pd looks pretty expensive so I thought that other methods, such as salt and Van Dyke printing would be good practise in learning how to coat paper, etc. My question is, would the contrast range of the negatives be the same for these different processes? I have an interesting book on printing (Secrets of Salts) but none of how to process negatives for these types of prints. Any suggestions as to a good starter book? I will shooting 5x7 and 8x10.

  2. #2

    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    Coating paper for pt/pd is not difficult. I got great results with my first print. Don't start with salted paper. It is difficult to coat. I tried coating salted paper with no success. The negatives needed for the processes you mention are similar to pt/pd negatives.

  3. #3

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    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    The process most similar to pt/pd is kallitype, but traditional kallitype that uses ferric oxalate, not Vandyke. The coating method and final tonal range of pt/pd and kallitype based on ferric oxalate is almost identical, and they both require negatives of very similar density range.

    Salted paper is quite different. The coating method is more complicated and you need a negative with a longer DR. Also, salted paper is a printing our process, in comparison to pt/pd and kallitype which are developing out processes.
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at Yahoo.
    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/CarbronTransfer/

  4. #4

    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    Don,

    Sandy has it right, I think kallitype is the closest in a number of ways. I would add that if you are going to do pt/pd, don't mess around with another process, because as you get better you will really be getting better at the other process, not pt/pt.

    What I mean is that there are a handful of steps in kallitype that are basically identical to pt/pd, but the fine details could end up being completely different. A paper that may be suitable for one, may not work for the other. Pretreatment with oxalic acid will help with one, but may not the other. Double coating helps with some papers, but may not in the other process. As you learn to overcome these finer details, the experience can be applied to pt/pd, but the factual results cannot. That will have to be learned a second time through when you actually do pt/pd.

    The skills you need to start are quite easy really, and an afternoon with an experienced pt/pd printer will get you very far down the path to competant printing. Then, you can spend the rest of your life mastering what I consider to be an easy process to learn, but a very difficult process to master.

    Besides, pd prices are near a 7 year low right now, so there is no better time than the present to get started with the process. Ultimately, the only real cost difference between these processes is the metal salts, and while they are intimidating at first, a little goes a long way. You might actually find that the paper you print on is actually the most expensive part of the process.

    I encourage you to jump right in to pt/pd, as it is very rewarding, and the results obtained even from the first session (with an experienced guide) will be quite satisfying.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  5. #5

    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    Since MIchael already said it, I will add my vote to his opinion. I tried Kallitypes and I was not happy. THat is not to say that is not a good medium, it only showed my ignorance of the process, but I have found pt/pd much easier and decided to just dedicate myself to pt/pd instead of wandering all over with other methods.

    If expense is your worry, just get the Richeson 9010 brush, it is expensive but the savings you get in coating will pay for itself in a few printing sessions.

    The rest of the materials are about the same price, papers, Ferric Oxalate, etc....so if you can make significant savings by using the Richeson brush I think both processes would be about the same price.

    Good luck and lets know how you get along.

  6. #6

    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    Michael and Jorge,

    Ya know, we have been raving about the Richeson brush for the past few years, but I recently tried a Simmons Skywash brush and found it to work better for me. The Simmons has more bristles and seems to coat smoother.

    The price is similar and I find that I do not have to use anymore emulsion. The Simmons just feels right in my hand. Karma I suppose. ;-)

    Anyway, As Michael and Jorge suggested, buy some chemicals, paper and jump right in. Palladium is not all that expensive these days. Start with 4x5 negatives until you become a master, then jump to bigger prints.

    Michael

  7. #7

    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    Michael,

    I haven't tried the Simmons, but I have heard good things. The next time I get a brush or so, I'll add one to the order.

    Don,

    By all means if you want to do brush coating, spend the extra cash on a Richeson, and don't waste your money on the inexpensive Hake brushes. Here's why:

    The Hake burshes work decently, but they must be bone dry befor you use them. So, you have to have multiples around for multiple prints. The Richeson brush, while much more expensive, is used wetted with distilled water, so you can continue to use the same single brush over and over, with just a rinse and dip in distilled water in between.

    The Richeson also does a substantially better job of coating in my hands, so I find it to be a much better brush all the way around. As Jorge states, you use less chemical with the Richeson, so it actually ends up being less expensive in the long (and even shor, when you consider the number of Hake brushes you save) run.

    I used to do rod coating, because I was unhappy with the quality of the coat with brush methods. That has been replaced entirely with the Richeson brush, as it is even better than rod coating for me.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    So where are folks purchasing their palladium and platinum these days to get these low prices?

    Thanks,

  9. #9

    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    DOn,

    Low is a relative thing. Compare pd to pt, and it'll seem low. Compare it to silver nitrate, and it'll seem high. Palladium chloride prices is basically driven by the metals markets, and the current prices for palladium are historically quite low. About a year and a half ago, the palladium prices were actually higher than platinum, and it resulted in much higher costs for us printers.

    Look here for some pricing history:

    http://www.kitco.com/charts/livepalladium.html

    Anyway, you can get palladium chloride from Bostick Sullivan (highly recommended), Artcraft (also recommended), Photo Formulary, and a few other places, including Freestyle and I think even B&H now.

    B+S has palladium chloride solution, 250ml for $300 or so, 100ml for $150, and 25ml for $62.50. It typically takes about 3/4 to 1 ml of solution for an 8x10, so your costs per print can be as low as about $1.25 per print for the palladium. I don't know if B+S has the best prices, but I do think they are the most knowledgeable, and they are very willing to help out a beginner with information and guidance.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  10. #10

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    salt printing as practise for platinum/palladium

    Michael wrote:

    "I would add that if you are going to do pt/pd, don't mess around with another process, because as you get better you will really be getting better at the other process, not pt/pt. "

    I would agree that one would learn very little about pt/pd printing by becoming an expert in salt printing. However, I fundamentally disagree if the issue is kallitype and palladium, and I think my own experience clearly support the difference in opinion. I learned kallitype printing about three years ago primarily as a proofing system for carbon printing and it has proven very useful in this way. At the same time, however, I have come to see it as an end in itself and have made some really nice kallitype prints, easily equal in quality to the best work I have seen in pt/pd.

    Until about five months ago I had never really done any serious work with pt/pd. However, in May or June I had an opportunity to go in on a group order and buy a fairly large amount of palladium chloride. So I decided that I would make some palladium prints. For my first print I used the same negative (7X17") and paper that were used to make a palladium-toned kallitype. It took me two test prints to calibrate the speed and contrast of the two processes, but the third palladium one was a perfect match of the kallitype. And I emphasize *a perfect match," in terms of richness, contrast, image color, and tonal values.

    So I would strongly suggest that even if your ultimate goal is to make palladium prints you could learn a tremendous amount with kallitype that can be directly applied to palladium. It is true that the devil is in the details, but the actual fact is that between a palladium toned kallitype and a *true* palladium there are very few details that are different, even little ones.

    So from my perspective it makes a lot of sense form an economic point of view to start with kallitype, even if your eventual goal is to make palladium prints. You will certainly save a little money in the process, and in the end you may find that since the actual final product is the same in terms of appearance and permanence you might never both with palladium.
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at Yahoo.
    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/CarbronTransfer/

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