View Full Version : Alt Process: Ziatype notes from the field...

Ed K.
15-Sep-2007, 21:31
I really like Ziatypes, however I confess to much monkey business with various additives even though some really nice prints come from just the straight process.

In my quest for a bit more dmax, I've tried various recommended additives. Here's how it has been going so far, based on an 8x10 image area, contact prints from 8x10 negatives:

PVA (not the glue) does enhance dmax and give a bit of a snap. 1 drop provides noticible difference, two drops can be really nice. Too many drops and it gets splotchy on the paper's I've tried. Brushing PVA on the paper first, then letting it dry, then brush coating works really well, however there can be splotchy areas just under the paper surface - so it's not perfect. When used with a tad of ammonium dichromate contrast enhancer, the PVA works even better - nice edge effects on the print. Perhaps diluted a bit it would make a nice size. I don't know if PVA will cause problems with permanence - any thoughts? PVA does tend to make prints more stubborn to clear.

After some humidity control issues, I started using B&S Cold Bath developer. If the humidity was a bit low during printing, the cold bath developer brings out the rest of the print right away. Now my results are much more consistent, and exposure times are now easy to predict plus judge on the print-out image. The cold bath developer doesn't seem to do anything to images that print out right due to correct / adequate humidity other than richen the blacks a tad - but when the humidity is a bit low, it brings the print right in line. I use a shot of it and then rock the tray around to spread it on the print - lasts a long time that way, then I toss that shot. With Cessium and cold bath developer - tones are really nice. Also, with 3 drops of palladium instead of lithium, I seem to get a tad smoother and richer print. Still experimenting there.

I've tried using gelatin to size with pd - big bummer there. But with Zia, I just tried a thick sizing over Crane's Platinotype (just a few sheets left now..) - wow!!! Super nice dmax, and nice mid tones, clean highlights. Just a tad diffucult to clear, however using a little bit of Permawash just dropped all the unexposed stuff right out.

Alright, I'm probably not the "Lone Ranger" on the gelatin, however there is just not much mention of using it in anything I've found - so it seems like a good idea to share the fact that it at least yields a good image with Zia.

I'm so impressed with the first hasty test image from gelatin coating before Zia that I want to explore that more, perhaps even just fixing out some silver paper to do it. I have contrast control with the Zia that I can't get with pre-made POP (even a bit of dichromate in the first wash is often not enough) - this is one of the main reasons - to get contrast control, image color, and print-out instead of develop-out.

But what of permanence? Problems with Ziatype ingredients in gelatine? I think the look of semi-matte is really special. It even seems that a gloss or semi-gloss Zia would be possible. Next try will be to mix the Zia juice into the actual gel coat on the second gel coating. The depth added by a gelatin size is amazing, and my print speed remained very high even with dichromate. It seems that gelatin counteracts the dichromate speed loss. Of course, if the gelatin ruins the permanence of the print, perhaps I'll have to skip it even though it looks so neat.

Permawash clears Zia's in record time. It has more than the usual clearing agents, and I don't know what is doing it - but it really clears Zias without softening up the paper too much. What do you use to clear the more stubborn Zias? Know of any problems using Permawash?

I am concerned about permanence. Any suggestions on that would be really appreciated.