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Thread: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

  1. #1

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    Nov 2020
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    Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    Hi all - I am hoping to figure out why my ambrotypes are turning bluish! I am making these on black glass. Is this a developer or fixer issue? My silver bath is fine and was working perfectly yesterday. Wondering what could be happening today ... Pic for reference! Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    That usually means either you didn't develop long enough or didn't rinse well enough after developing. I rinse mine until the water runs clear.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  3. #3

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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    Kent is correct. The color is from too short a development time or not rinsing it enough before fixing.

  4. #4

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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    Quote Originally Posted by cuypers1807 View Post
    Kent is correct. The color is from too short a development time or not rinsing it enough before fixing.
    My development time is still in the range of 20-25 seconds, which is what it's been in the past with my current developer formula ... and no problems then! I'm thinking it's rinsing, in that case ... how long should i rinse the plate after developing and before putting it into the fixer?

  5. #5

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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    When you first start rinsing the plate, it will look slimy. Keep rinsing until the surface no longer looks slimy.

  6. #6

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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    I don't know how you are stopping the development, but technique helps ensure you don't get "Prussian Blue" on your plates. It's not so much length of time, it's having some agitation or water flow over the plates. What I do in the field is have two tubs of water, flat tupperware. I stop the development by putting it under water, holding the plate edge and moving it up and down in the water for about 30 seconds. Then I move to the second water bath, and do the same thing for the same amount of time. Moving the plate up and down, horizontally lets the weight of the water push over the plate, as you raise and lower it. The first tub will get dirty faster, most of the developer comes off in it.

    Another technique is to get a water bottle or pitcher and pour water over the plate quickly and firmly for about 1 minute.

  7. #7

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    Nov 2020
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    6

    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    This is all great, thanks. I also realized that shortly before flooding the plates w/ collodion I was giving the clean plates a quick burst of compressed air from a can. Think some of that could be causing the blue? I just got more blue again, after mixing a fresh batch of fix and fresh batch of developer. I'm using a hose in the darkroom to rinse plates and am doing a more thorough job w/ the water,

  8. #8

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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    Argh! Still getting it ... last variable I can think of. I'm using Kodak rapid fix, which is ammonium thiosulfate. Any reason this would react differently in terms of the blue tint? I just can't believe that after washing a plate for 2 minutes with running water flowing over it that I'd still be getting this... thank you for suggestions! feeling frustrated.

  9. #9

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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    I don't know how you are stopping the development, but technique helps ensure you don't get "Prussian Blue" on your plates. It's not so much length of time, it's having some agitation or water flow over the plates. What I do in the field is have two tubs of water, flat tupperware. I stop the development by putting it under water, holding the plate edge and moving it up and down in the water for about 30 seconds. Then I move to the second water bath, and do the same thing for the same amount of time. Moving the plate up and down, horizontally lets the weight of the water push over the plate, as you raise and lower it. The first tub will get dirty faster, most of the developer comes off in it.

    Another technique is to get a water bottle or pitcher and pour water over the plate quickly and firmly for about 1 minute.

    Argh! Still getting it ... last variable I can think of. I'm using Kodak rapid fix, which is ammonium thiosulfate. Any reason this would react differently in terms of the blue tint? I just can't believe that after washing a plate for 2 minutes with running water flowing over it that I'd still be getting this... thank you for suggestions! feeling frustrated.

  10. #10
    Foamer
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    Re: Please help! Ambrotypes are turning blue ...

    Try lengthening development time by another 5 or 10 seconds and see what happens.



    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

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