Bleaching - tanning, not sure if this is right

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Perry Way, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    After much planning and patience acquiring all the necessary ingredients to get started with bromoil process, tonight I started the first time ever bleaching and tanning prints I want to ink up.

    So, I followed Gene Laughter's directions and got my chemicals from Bostick & Sullivan, followed everything to a T, but if you look at these snapshots here, there is more than a "faint" image left. Now the tray under the tub spigot is the wash prior to the hypo wash. And the tray on the left side of the tub is the final wash on the first two prints. The one on the left happens to be the one that started with the least amount of darkness on the print. But I can clearly see the image below. It is not the straw color I anticipated. Is there something wrong here?

    By the way I started with cold tone Ilford MG fiber matte. My understanding is this should work. But maybe I'm seeing something unique to the Ilford paper that doesn't happen on the Kentmere that Gene Laughter prefers?

    Anyone have a clue?
     

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  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Looks pretty close like the example I saw in a bromoil demo last month up in Vancouver, WA (NW APUGer gathering). But I have no experience with t he process.

    Vaughn
     
  3. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Good to know Vaughn. Do you recall what kind of paper was used during the demo?
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    No...I have a mind like a steel trap. Once something gets in it, it stays -- but it tends to get a bit mangled.

    Vaughn
     
  5. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Here's some photos a day and a half after the fact. Now that the prints have dried they have become darker? I wouldn't use the word "ghost image" to describe these. I'm starting to think maybe Ilford FB Matte paper is not a good paper, or.. something else maybe.. maybe the chemicals were not powerful enough? Or, I don't know what. But I'm really thinking these are not good starting points for inking up.
     

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  6. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Was just discharged from the hospital following surgery. I'll try to focus on this in a few days. In the meantime, try inking one of the matrices after soaking.
     
  7. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Oh! Wow! Well I hope you're alright now. Get some rest. I will give this a try later on this evening probably since I just now got home from trip to Los Angeles to pick up new 4x5 enlarger and I've got it in pieces on the floor here. Have to make space first :smile:
     
  8. willrea

    willrea Member

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    Terry Halstead suggests, and used, I believe in the demo at Vancouver, Agfa MC Classic MCC 118 FB. He also said I believe that any paper that is non-super coated should work.

    From the handout:
    Agfa MC Classic MCC 118 FB
    Luminos Classic Charcoal RB
    Forte Elegance Polywarmtone FB
    Ilford Multicontrast RB
     
  9. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Okay, well I'm quite disappointed with how things are going. I tried to ink up two prints tonight. Both really sucked big time. I thought I was getting pretty decent results on one and then decided to add a brown to the black, just a wee bit mind you, and then somehow the brush got loaded up to the point that it made an indiscriminate inking all over the print. Then I could not get the ink off with saran wrap or the brayer, the brayer got loaded up with ink, and then suddenly I had a cloudy mess. Back into the wash went the print and then soon as the water touched it my finger just ever so slightly brushed up against it trying to get the print below the water line and then it was suddenly lifted, all the ink in that area. The area being the sky portion which probably wasn't dark before the bleaching.

    So what are my findings? Well, I'm a complete inexperienced fool in many ways here. I love the results Gene gets. Its the whole reason why I ventured into this craft, but I am thinking at this point that the tanning portion worked somewhat because the ink does want to stick more to the darker regions, but the bleaching didn't work very much. That's my in a nutshell take on things.

    However, at this point in the evening (12 midnight) I'm so far out of patience if I were to base a lifetime of pursuit on how I feel right now, I'd kick this all under the bus. That's how bad I feel I am at this.

    First thing first.. I need to work with the BEST possible equipment. The paper needs to be the perfect kind so I know what is optimal. I think this Ilford paper is about the worst one could use for this process. Second, I'm not so sure I was shipped good ink and/or good chemicals. I got kind of a snippy response from B&S about the dry hard inks with them saying that heat will make them workable again and then not telling me what kind of heat, for how long, etc. Without having done this before I'm feeling like the Hardy Boys on a really cold lead.

    Last observation... I could really benefit from a hands on workshop.
     
  10. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    A Few Comments:

    Sorry to hear that your first try ended in failure. Bromoil is not a process that always produces good results without "paying your dues." :>)

    I must assume that you followed the exposure, developing and bleaching steps properly. There are lots of variables in these and one mistake can spell failure!

    Your Photo Paper: If you read Bromoil 101, you may recall that I stated: "I would not recommend this paper for beginners." The ink goes on easily, but it's almost impossible to clear. The ink clings to the surface. When you added the thinner brown ink, it sounds like the mixture was too thin and you probably overloaded your brush.

    Your Ink: I purchase my ink from Graphic Chemical and Ink Co. so I can't comment on the condition of the ink you received?

    Briefly I think you started out with a paper that's far too difficult for beginners.

    Good Luck!

    Gene
     
  11. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Agfa, Luminos and Forte papers are long gone and extinct! I only use super coated papers for bromoil.
     
  12. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    A couple of questions: What developer did you use? What fix????
     
  13. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Hi Gene,

    The developer was the Ilford PQ Universal and the fixer was Ilford Rapid Fixer, which to my understanding does not have a hardener.
     
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  15. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    paying dues is fine by me. I know I need to build up skills from point zero :smile:

    I don't have your book, Bromoil 101. I have another one from a Brit.. the name eludes me at the moment. I need to get your book because the Brit doesn't mention anything about exposure and developing. He only mentioned using a non-hardening fixer and bleaching techniques.


    Yes. That is exactly what happened when I added the brown.


    I bought the same ink (Graphic..) from Bostick and Sullivan, along with the other supplies and the bleaching/tanning chemicals. They sent along with that some photocopied instructions from Bromoil 101 as to the bleaching stage, which is what I worked off of for that step.


    I agree. This paper did not bleach properly at all! And I think it did not tan the best.

    So, of the papers that are readily available (such as by ordering from Freestyle), which one would be the best to resume my experimentation with? Most of the other papers that were ever used are no longer available new and very hard to find on eBay (and in unknown state as well).



    Thanks Gene. Your work is my greatest inspiration. I want to make pieces like yours. I'll buy your book now, now that I'm ready to do bromoiling. I think you mentioned in some posts that it can be ordered through you directly? As for your video, I lack a VCR video tape player :sad:
     
  16. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    "So, I followed Gene Laughter's directions and got my chemicals from Bostick & Sullivan, followed everything to a T..."

    To a T? LOL! Seems you took some detours along the way! I use, and recommend, plain Thiosulphate crystals (10% solution)! Plus, you used a paper that I have pointed out that isn't for bromoil beginners.

    Gene
     
  17. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Presently I am using Kentmere Fineprint VC semi matt (fine grain matt) from Freestyle. As of this morning it's on their website. I would recommend this paper. I'm getting ready to try a couple of the Adox papers and bromoil buddies report good results.
     
  18. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    hehe, perhaps after I get your book and read the rest of your instructions I might notice the other detours :smile: I was referring to the bleaching and tanning portion alone (which B&S distributed with your chemical recipe). That part I followed your directions exclusively (including the fixing with hypo). The exposed paper before bleaching was developed with Ilford PQ Universal fixed with the Ilford Rapid fixer.
     
  19. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Great! I will order some of that today! Thanks Gene!
     
  20. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    I feel that it's extremely important in bromoil to follow a straight path and stay in the middle of the road until you have some success and experience. If you take one bit of advice from me and another bit from someone else ... and then take detours as you heard they work, you'll never reach your destination!
     
  21. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Okay, I'm sharing this next bit as an exercise in playing followup. By the way Gene, I've placed an order with Freestyle yesterday for some Kentmere paper. I must say that for the longest time last year there was a possibility we'd never be able to get more (is how I had it stuck in my brain). But while Freestyle is now running low on some sizes they do have some in stock. Meanwhile I'm plodding ahead with attempting to ink some of the other prints I bleached and tanned. Oh, before I go into that, I will say this, I had the oddest thing happen at work today, sorry for being a story teller if you're looking for the simple skinny, but I must embellish this next bit.

    So today I had the long face. And another coworker had the happy face. So in jest I walked by his desk and told him that smiling was being outlawed. He said "oh yes, forgot, we can't be happy here!" So we chit chat a bit.. I told him why I had the long face, its because I want so much to do bromoil like a pro, and having such a problem. Side comment, I seem to always have every conceivable problem with anything new I attempt. Like fate, or something. Anyway, he asked "what's bromoil?" I said "hang on a sec I actually have a print with me". So I waltzed on over to my office and picked up my lighthouse print I somehow miraculously saved from being over-inked (whereas the other print I had my initial problems with is long gone messed up and mangled trying to clean off the ink). He looks at the print and I'm there telling him about how what he's looking [at is] ink not silver. But he didn't let me finish, instead he said "WOW I LIKE THIS!" which totally blew me away. I was not expecting the response. "You do???" sounding puzzled. "Oh yeah, I like that! It's so artistic!" and suddenly all my ails went flying away. So I started to tell him "Yeah, that's Piedras Blancas Light...." and he said "Oh yeah I know exactly where that is!" and I was surprised again. Not only was it "artistic" to him but he recognized it. And here all I saw was a heaping pile of mistakes after another. So instantly I said "well since you like it so much, you can have it!" And he smiled like I made his day. Made HIS day? He made MY day! Just then he shared the odd part of this story. He said that his girlfriend used to live in that lighthouse. Live in it? Why yes.. out in the middle of nowhere. Back in the day when she was a biology student, she was on some project that took her there to study something and she lived in the lighthouse for a duration of time. So he said he was going to give it to her. Now, how is that for a story? :D

    So now, on to why I posted tonight. I just inked up for the second night, tonight. I picked another one of the prints that I originally bleached and tanned. I think I have one or two more remaining. Now, this print started out visible, not a ghost image. But instead of last time when I tried to ink and ink and ink until all I saw was ink and not photograph, I stopped on this one soon as the print felt dry to the touch basically. So have a look at the photos. This is where things lay after the first inking on my second evening attempt at this craft. I may do another layer on this tonight, the print is soaking as I type, but I am going to look for a smaller brush. The detail areas I need to work on are simply way too small for this huge "bromoil" brush. I know I have some brushes I had around for acrylics.. and hoping that I have some I never used and which are stiff enough to use for hopping motions.

    I'll share the progression here so interested parties can see, and to also allow for critiques.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2009
  22. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    Looks good to me! Slavich paper from Freestyle is another "bromoil friendly" paper that I use. It's a graded paper and I use the grade 2 matt for bromoil.
     
  23. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    My Kentmere papers came in from Freestyle today. It's been one of those odd warm days for October on the Central Coast here (California). Apartment is still upwards of 75 degrees even at 12:42 AM so I haven't cracked open the paper yet to make new enlargements. Hoping that tomorrow morning bright and early it will be down to 65 or lower thus allowing me opportunity to develop some more. Meanwhile tonight I did some more inking. I tried to revive the print I horribly mangled the other night since it didn't seem so bad after it dried. Plus last night I did more inking on the other print I was having better success with. It has since dried to the touch and allowing me the opportunity to scan them both. I warn you, my scanner is a total piece of ... dog poo poo.. It puts a long streak down the center of everything it scans, plus the underside of the glass is not allowed to be cleaned but it is mottled over time. So this is where things stand so far. First image is the "good" one. Avila Beach Promenade. Second image is the "mangled" one, Turn of Century Horse Drawn Plow, Traver Ranch (I did a nice print of this and uploaded to Gallery a week or two ago. Thought it would look good as bromoil subject).
     

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  24. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    Okay, another entry in the ongoing series of bleaching and tanning. I'm experiencing the same thing with the Kentmere paper. Last night I exposed some prints. Today I got set up for bleaching/tanning. Just finished my first two prints. This time I have greater light in the room, so easier to see what's going on. Everything looked great during the bleaching process. Then slip into hypo and the prints get a smidgen darker, but not by much. Just ever so slightly darker. Maybe that's the tone difference going from straw to faint grey/green that I noticed. Now then I slip the prints into separate water baths for final wash. This is where one looks okay, although it is noticeably darker yet again, but the other one looks dark sepia toned. That one began as a print with a lot of blacks in it. I'm thinking the darker the original print, the greater the effect I'm seeing. Now, my worry at this point is that since that print darkened up considerably, will I be able to evenly apply ink on it in stages? How will I see the point when I should stop on the first and second and third application?

    So, my next question is a simple question. I'm hoping there is a simple answer. The question is: What could possibly cause the darkening of the print after fixing with plain hypo?
     
  25. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    I take it back. After I made this post, I went back into the bathroom to fetch the other print out and to hang for drying. This is when I saw that both of them are now darkened with sepia tone. Considerably. Both of them. Here's a snapshot with my Kodak digital camera to illustrate...

    I don't understand how this can happen, and would very much like to. All the matrices I've seen (in books and/or videos) have looked like the prints directly after I've finished bleaching/tanning. None look like this. Only mine.
     

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  26. Gene_Laughter

    Gene_Laughter Member

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    I assume the Kentmere Fineprint paper is neutral tone, not warmtone? I don't have a clue as to what you're doing wrong? I outlined my methodology and procedures in Bromoil 101 in great detail. Sorry, But I have too much on my plate keep up with you.

    Good luck! :>)

    Gene