Conservation amidst Alt Processing

Discussion in 'Utah' started by kpdubbs, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. kpdubbs

    kpdubbs Member

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    Hello all Utahns,
    I am new to the LF game, in fact I don't even have the gear yet (it's on its way), but via internet research, I find myself very intrigued by alternative processing(van dyke, plat+pall, albumen). The enormous array of possible papers and procedures and varying looks seems to be the ultimate in the analog photographic process. However, one catch, these processes all seem to involve an enormous amount of water consumption: washing of the pre developed paper, washing of the post developed paper, etc. This doesn't seem very conducive to this region's biosphere, and being an environmental science major, I was hoping for a few conservational tips of the trade, if possible. Or am I just stuck with resin based paper? Thanks everyone!

    P.S. If Rob Hall reads this, Eddie from New York suggested that I meet up with you. If you wan't to PM me, that would be great, if not, that's fine too (I live in Pleasant Grove right now).
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to APUG!!

    There are ways to wash without overt wastage, and most alt process doesn't require nearly the water that fiber does.
    Glad you are here. I'm in SLiC.
     
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  3. bnstein

    bnstein Member

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    Not being from Utah pardon my intrusion, but I do live in the dryest state in Australia so I can see your concern. As stated I dont think our hobby/profession (as the case may be) is going to break the water table, although you can chew up some water using fibre based paper in a continuous washer

    For me doing cyanotype I can do a couple of 5x7 prints in an inch or two of water in two 8x10 trays. Im just stepping up to carbon and expect to do a print a tray. For washing film I use the fill, agitate and sit x3 rule so 2 sheets of 5x7 is maybe a pint or so. Not breaking the bank by any means: run the dishwasher one less time or dont wash the car or similar and you'll more than break even.
     
  4. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    It is not really that much water. The amount I use even in my longest fiber wash is a fraction of what I use to water my lawn or run a week of laundry. It may seem like a lot because you are watching it go down the drain in a slow trickle. The real idiocy in Utah is if you wast water the state will fine you but if your lawn is not green the cities will fine you for not watering enough. Washing prints, if you will pardon the pun, is a small drop in a very large bucket.
     
  5. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    We have the opposite problem. Our water supply system was designed to handle two pulp mills, which use a tremendous amount of water. One mill closed down years ago, and the other was bought by the Chinese and is now shut down (temp or permanent, we don't know). So now the domestic water users might have their water bills greatly increased because the revenue from the pulp mills is gone and we'll have to shoulder the costs of the over-capacity.

    But conservation tips -- explore the possibility of using gray water for the initial washing of film and paper...then finish with clean water (one can use salt water for the initial wash, but the Great Salt Lake might be a bit much:wink:)

    Use standing-water wash baths as much as possible.

    Don't wash obvious rejects.

    SLC gets 1 to 2 inches of rain/precipitation a month (according to http://countrystudies.us/united-states/weather/utah/salt-lake-city.htm ), get a tank and capture the rain off the roof. I have used roof water to develop negatives in Australia.

    Vaughn
     
  6. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    It is kind of funny here in Portland where we are deluged with rain about 3/4 the year yet the systems for catching rain water out of the gutters have really caught on and you see the big barrels everywhere. Over flowing I would guess.
    Dennis
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    If you caught rain in a barrel in Utah, you'd best use it quick. With our super dry humidity level it would be gone in a very short time. Of our 1-2 inches/mo average, 80% is frozen when it hits the ground and happens in the winter, and the other 20% comes in 1/8 inch increments over the space of nine months.
     
  8. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    We get an average of 1-2 inches a month. But it all comes in the winter as snow. We bake all summer with almost no rain.

    Removing water from the Great Salt Lake is considered mining due to the high mineral content. It is so bad that no table salt comes from the lake any more, just road and industrial salt. It might make for some weird tones.

    And right now it actually illegal to catch rainwater but that will be changing next year. Water is so valuable here that is a natural resource belonging to the state.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    For my albumen prints, I've been using a standing water bath with several changes of water, rather than a continuous water bath for the pre-wash (after exposure, before toning to remove silver halide that hasn't printed out). With a continuous wash there is some danger of streaking unless it is very slow or sufficiently random (an EcoWash print washer is said to be a good choice for this purpose, but they are quite expensive), so it actually turns out better to use a simple tray with the fill, shuffle, and dump method.

    For the final wash, I use Permawash to reduce wash times.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, at that brings up our water cycle here. Aquifers and reservoirs here are charged by spring run off. Our winter snow pack determines how much water will be available for the coming year. In bad years water becomes a very critical issue. In wet years, a bunch of it winds up in the Great Salt Lake, or in the east part of the state, sent on down to the more deserving members (sarcasm) of the Colorado River Compact. Las Vegas lives on Utah water.
     
  11. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Welcome aboard APUG :smile:

    This thread got me wondering about what we get in the way of rain here in Kitimat, BC, Canada. We have ferns growing in the moss that's growing in the branches of the trees, so I knew it had to be quite a bit. Turns out we get, on average, 2395mm (7'8") of rain and 335cm (11') of snow a year.

    YIKES-EEEE-MOMMA!!!

    Wanna buy some moss?

    http://www.eldoradocountyweather.com/canada/climate2/Kitimat.html

    Murray
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    And people complain about the 3 to 5 feet of rain we get! (although some areas around here do get closer to 7 feet -- depends on the mountains behind you to the east). We got moss...it is the mold growing in the closets that you got to watch out for! I always tell our new out-of-the-area students, not to put their shoes in their closets!

    If one gets lost in the woods, the old adage of moss growing only the north side of the tree just has people going in circles around here! Do the ferns only grow on the north side of the moss?

    Vaughn
     
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  13. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Nope - just about any place the moss is thick enough. We're at the head of a 60 mile channel, so it's "pretty dry" compared to the first mountains that intercept the incoming Pacific weather systems on the outer coast. There are ferns and flowers growing in the moss that's growing on the branches of the trees out there, but it never snows over 4' in a day, so I like it better here :smile:

    Murray
     
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  15. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    I HAD to look you up.

    We live pretty much due south of you, in Anacortes, WA, which is on the only San Juan Island that you can drive to, Fidalgo. We're about 90km South of Langley, which is on the US border. It hardly rains here at all compared to where you are. My wife just told me we get a bit more than half a meter (21 inches) of rain. We've had enough rain, even so, thanks! It is depressing! How can you stand it!

    Right now, we are blanketed with snow -- about 30mm, I'd guess. The neighborhood kids are out throwing snowballs and building snowmen. I understand we are in for a VERY SERIOUS snowstorm and may get as much as 12.5 cm. Man, what are we going to do? Traffic will be paralyzed. I think I'll sit home by the fire with the cats! Seriously, for you it is probably a laughing matter, but around here, people have to drive in snow so seldom that when they do, a large proportion of them end up in the ditch.

    Well, we are in the Olympic rain shadow, and while it is still Pacific Maritime, it's nothing like where you are. We can go to the other side of the Olympic Peninsula to Forks, though, and they get about 3 meters of rain, over 10 feet; hardly any snow though. The rainforest over there would seem pretty familiar to you, I'm sure.

    It wouldn't work here, but where you are, can't you just hang your prints on a clothesline overnight?
     
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  16. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Yes we get RAIN. Tonight though we have SNOW. Makes for great black & white shots. They don't call this the Wetcoast for nothing !!
     
  17. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Yeah, Lotus Eater!

    It's pretty much the same here, neighbor. But if you moved over to Victoria (which is actually south of us) you'd have our weather. I think it's a bit better on the whole than yours. But, weather isn't everything. We can't get a decent Chinese dinner without heading up your way, or going the other way just about the same distance to Seattle.

    We drove home from Bellingham at around dusk. The landscape gradually disappeared into the mist. It was gorgeous. I didn't take any prints to wash by towing them behind the car.
     
  18. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Ya with Victoria right on the south of the Island they get the wind. Actually were I live the postal code is Burnaby.On the coast here we get some outstanding shots. What I've noticed is we are the only ones still in today most eastern APUG ers are in tomorrow. Oh well they don't notice cause most are sleeping. It usually gets VERY quiet here @ this time. Oh well I'm just babbling time fer bed.
     
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  19. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    It can be an interesting discussion with folks down south with brown lawns and restrictions on washing their cars that the water flowing down our rivers into the sea is not just getting "wasted". SoCal use of Colorado River water is a touchy issue (not to mention Mono Lake!) as water pacts will divert more and more of that water to Arizona.

    Water rights is the biggest issue in the West, and the world -- the Israel/Palestinian conflict is more about water rights than anything else. Land, yes, but more importantly about the water running under it.

    I find it interesting comparing the SLC rain data I linked to above, and the perception of those who live there. I suppose even if SLC gets an inch of rain every month, when it is such low humidity it must evaporate right after hitting the ground and not soak in. So different from here!

    Vaughn
     
  20. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Even up here in the Skagit Valley - the Skagit River carries the 3rd largest volume on the west side of the US; Only the Columbia and the Sacramento deliver more water to the Pacific. It rains a fair to large amount in the Skagit watershed. The North Cascades, from whence it comes, get a great deal of snow. We SEE a lot of water; more than we like. Superficially, one might think that we should have no shortage of water. We can't necessarily count on it. It's not just the Skagit, either; all of the rivers in Western Washington are affected as well, as are, to some extent, the rivers on the east side of the Cascades.

    Two conditions that I know of (maybe there are others?) have a way of causing major flooding. The flooding results in the depletion of the stored water, as well as causing serious damage to communities downstream. We can sometimes have a lot of precipitation in a year which nonetheless leaves us experiencing drought conditions.

    One of these conditions is the "Pineapple Express" - a stream of warm, wet air coming straight from Hawaii. By straight, I mean just that; a straight line of clouds that heads right for Puget Sound and the Straights of Georgia. As the warm air moves northward, it cools and dumps a great deal of rain. The warm air and rain melts accumulated snow. Typically, this happens several times / year. Flying from Honolulu to Seattle once, we got on the plane in the sun, then followed the clouds all the way to Seattle and disembarked to find it raining very hard. We wanted to get back on the airplane and go right back. Of course, all of the rivers were flooding.

    The other condition is when we get early hot days in the spring. This simply melts the snow. By spring, we are about ready for some sun, but when we get it, flooding can be on its way. Some years, it is very strange. Thinking we are getting lots of rain, we can still be in a drought.

    These floods and their aftereffects in drought years have disastrous effects on the salmon runs and agriculture both on the west side of the Cascades and the east side too. A few years back, we had sequential drought years; it was hard for the orchards to stay in business.

    -----

    BTW, dances-w-clouds, we get the same winds that Victoria gets... Sometimes, out on the flats, at or very close to hurricane force. The water is flat; the land is flat. Two storms blew down a local barn two years ago. The first one got most of it; the second finished the job a week later.
     
  21. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Yes the weather patterns are changing in record numbers. One year about about 5 years ago we were setting them for the most amount of rain. In the last few years records for the least amount. Most places have gradual changes but in the Pascific Northwest it is more pronounced.
     
  22. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Vaughn, David, and any others with insight into this -- How do you use standing water baths? Several sequential? How long? And how much running water after? Any pointers?

    -------
    Water is one problem, but what the water carries is important, too. Wherever we live and work, effluent is an issue. Here, there is a likelihood that fixer's silver content will end up in the bodies of those yummy oysters that they farm around here. Since I eat them, I have a certain vested interest. In another place, like Utah, there may be no oysters (there used to be, how many millions of years ago?) but something else will end up with it. So, everywhere, it is very important to drain the fix off the prints thoroughly before washing, and dispose of the used fixer responsibly. I've thought of plating it out; I'm sure Hallmark Precious Metals would happily accept small gifts of flake.

    The metal isn't the problem; ions are the problem. At one of my past schools, they redesigned the facility, leaving out the recovery system. The state came in and forced them to add one. At another school, we had to add steel wool cartridges. The refinery sold us the unit, then we paid off the balance in small amounts of silver over time whenever they picked up a cartridge.

    Larry
     
  23. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    In the Salt Lake Valley, everything winds up in The Great Salt Lake, which has an unprecedented amount of mercury in it as well as almost any mineral salt you can name. If you evaporate a cup of water from the GSL you will have up to 30% mineral content, depending on the part of the lake you pull from.

    The lake itself only supports brine shrimp, algae, things like that, however the brackish marshes around it are important habitat for migratory birds, and other creatures.
     
  24. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    Larry -- I am a bad water-waster (except during those rare drought years). But I go with 5 changes of water at about 5 to 10 minutes each (with occasional aggatation to reduce the concentration of chemicals next to the paper/film). My only running water bath would be the first one (short -- maybe a minute) -- to get rid of any fixer on the surface. This is what I used for film washing (8x10) before I got my film hangers. I'd develop 5 negs at a time and put each neg in its own 8x10 tray to wash.

    We have a large oyster farm operation here in Humboldt Bay -- I don't eat too many (very few, actually) -- it is dioxin that is a worry here. But I did have some wonderful wild ones in Australia the last time I was there (from some river mouth up in northern NSW.)

    Vaughn
     
  25. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Thanks.

    Hmm. I am surprised. I would think that the running water bath would have be the last one, or that there would be a short one to begin, and then a few cycles of soak, then a final one. It would seem to me that the final one would be the most critical.

    My rationale would be that when you place a piece of paper containing fixer in a tray of water, the paper will yield up its fixer to the water, turning the water into very dilute fixer. Then, if you dump that, replacing the water, you would get a yet greater dilution, etc. Of course, we're talking here about fiber paper; RC requires very little wash because the paper is sealed in plastic, and except for the very edges, isn't soaking up fixer at all. Film also. What I have always heard is that film and RC CAN be washed clean, but fiber paper can never really be completely free of fixer. The level can only be reduced to a very low level.

    The way it was explained to me long ago was that it is analogous to the half-life of radioactive materials. After a certain time in the wash, time not specified, half of the fixer would be gone. After that same time again, half of the remaining fixer would be gone. After that same time again,.... infinite regression. I started in this business when there was ONLY fiber; RC had not been invented (well, there was a little "waterproof" paper the military used). The time in a running water wash was always 1 hour. Wash was absolutely HOLY. Not ever to be violated. Last print in, the time starts; no prints to be added until all the clean ones were taken out.

    I'm pretty conservative about the wash, which means I'm not conserving much water and I'd really like to change that, I really want to use less water. So, I've become religious about Permawash. I would think that we could cut MOST of the fixer with a few standing soaks, but I really doubt (could this be a product of my extremely rigorous training? Am I overdoing it?) that without a final running water wash, there would just have to be some significant amount left. Everything I've ever read in my ancient library (some of the photo books were saved when the library at Alexandria burned, and they all came to me) said that it was the NUMBER OF COMPLETE CHANGES, not the time in the water, that actually washes. This makes sense to me.

    Seems to me I recall you using a residual hypo test - or was it somebody else? If you do, what color do you get?

    ___

    Too bad about the oysters. One of the local tribes up here is conducting a study of the effects of the pollution. The coastal tribes' traditional diet was very heavy in shellfish, and they are concerned about the long term effects over a whole lifetime. What to feed the children? We lived in the hamlet of Edison on Samish Bay for five years. Sewage from the town was simply dumped into the bay when we arrived in 1997. Community activists got a project going to construct a local sewage district, which we are still paying off on a zero percent loan from the county. When the project was completed, a very large additional area in the bay was opened for oyster production. I don't even know how many oyster companies there are. Quite a few.
     
  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    For prints, when I do the standing bath wash, I usually do about seven changes of water in progressively longer baths, like 1', 3', 5', 5', 10', 10', 15', depending on what exactly I'm doing. I might do less than that when I'm washing fixed prints and use Permawash. For pre-washing albumen prints before toning (the sequence is print out under UV/sunlight, prewash, tone, rinse, two-bath fix, wash), I wash until there is no more milky silver precipitate coming off the prints.

    I've started doing silver reclamation with my fixer, using the simple steel wool method. I don't know what I'll do with the sludge yet, but I figure I can accumulate it for several years before I have to decide, and meanwhile, I won't be putting as much silver into the waste water.