Couple o platinum questions

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Jarvman, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Jarvman

    Jarvman Member

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    I was lucky enough to be able to visit 31 Studio platinum printroom yesterday, they said that the developer has the greatest influence on the tone in the print rather than the ratio of pt to pd. I have ammonium citrate which produces cool tones with arches platine and apparently the opposite with aquarelle. Considering I would like a warm tone to my prints it was suggested that heating up the developer could make a difference. Would the ammonium citrate heated to 40 degrees, the highest my water bath will go yield a warmer print. Also, I was looking at the prints they made of Coburn's work which im sure they referred to as gumover but a mention of vandyke brown also came up when talking about them, whats the difference in the processes? Thanking you kindly!
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Straight Palladium will give you a much warmer tone than any pt/pd mix. For my own use, I prefer the Potassium Oxalate developer, which does shift image tone when heated, but it is not as dramatic a shift as excluding platinum from the emulsion.
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Metal content, developer (and temp of the dev), and paper all come into play in the final print color.

    Van Dyke is a silver process...brushed on the paper in the same manner as Pt/pd printing. They can be toned with platinum to give a look that is much like platinum/palladium prints.

    Vaughn
     
  4. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Also in my experience with Potassium Oxalate the age of the developer affects color.
    With a brand new batch of developer heated and using Palladium I get pretty warm prints. After a couple years seasoning with Pt/Pd mixtures it won't change color much regardless of temp.
    Dennis
     
  5. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    I have found potassium Oxalate to be much warmer than the other developers, especially when heated. I heat to 125, or "low" on my walmart hot plate.
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Dennis, with old well-used developer, does the development temp still affect the "speed" of the paper (ie, increase temp -- decrease exposure time under the UV) ?

    Vaughn
     
  7. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    If it does it isn't much. Occasionally I will forget to put the developer back into the heater and it gets cool in the tray and I process anyway and it doesn't seem to make any difference. I think my heating the developer becomes part superstition after awhile. My developer gets really old because when I heat it I am usually careful to pour it right back in the bottle and cap it so it doesn't evaporate between prints. Then when my volume starts to get low I add fresh developer to the old.
     
  8. HMFriedman

    HMFriedman Member

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    Here's a formula for a developer that gives warm tones at room temperature:

    180g Potassium Oxalate
    60g Potassium Phosphate monobasic
    1000ml Water

    From Ted Rice's book "Palladium Printing Made Easy".
     
  9. Jarvman

    Jarvman Member

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    Oh aye, one more question, If I want to have straight borders what tape do I use to mask the edges of the print area? Obviously something archival which doesn't allow the solution to bleed into the paper yes? What specifically though
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Actually you don't tape. You mask with Rubylith (graphic arts film) during exposure. Rubylith completely blocks UV transmission. Then the area outside the borders of the negative is never exposed, so it disappears in the clearing bath.
     
  11. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    While rubylith is an option, you can absolutely use tape to create straight borders. I've done it this way for years. Look for 3M/Scotch safe-release masking tape for delicate surfaces. The current product is blue. There is an older version that was white that I like a little better (still have a stash), but the blue stuff works. Look for the lowest tack you can find. This will work very well on smooth papers like Platine, Fabriano Artistico HP, COT 320, etc. It's a little dicey on a textured paper like Rives BFK because it will pull up fibers if you press it down too hard. The white tape was the best for textured papers. I think there is a newer version of the white tape, but I can't find it with a quick Googling.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2009
  12. Jarvman

    Jarvman Member

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    Cheers Kerik, yeah they were using tape attached to an offcut piece of paper at 31 Studio. Dominic's coating technique there was mesmerising, absolutely perfect. I've got a lot to learn but it's gonna be good fun doing so.
     
  13. Davec101

    Davec101 Member

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    I switched from Ammonium Citrate to Potassium Oxalate a while back, much prefer the warmer tones PO has even at room temperature on Platine, also the dichromate method has been much more consistent compared to the ratio method which obviously uses AC. If you do heat AC make sure not to go over 120 F, last time i did that i had some strange results. In Dick Arentz's book on platinum printing there is a table on page 96 regarding heating AC and PO, you might want to take a look at.

    I saw an exhibition a couple of years back in Stroud where there were a good number of 31 Studio's prints show, they were outstanding, it was great to see so many well known prints in one room. Paul and Max Caffell are execptional platinum printers and have printed for many great photographers, hope they have another exhibition sometime.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2009
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  15. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I could easily be wrong with this, but would not hot Potassium oxalate developer just (or mostly) give off water vapor when it evaporates, thus get stronger over time. If that is the case then one would just add some distilled water to "replenish" one's developer.

    I'd like to know, because it is about time for me to bring my Potassium oxalate back up to its original volume after a long printing session through this past night and into this morning's light.

    Vaughn
     
  16. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    My developer develops grit like black pepper and also green crystals. I decant the developer off the grit sometimes and add a little water to dissolve the crystals. I am not very scientific about it but doesn't seem to be very problematic. I also sometimes add a little Oxalic Acid to the PO because I read you are supposed to do that to keep the developer acidic. I can't verify that ever had any affect on anything.
    Dennis
     
  17. PVia

    PVia Member

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    JArvman...what was it about his coating techniques that did it for you? In what way was it different? What papers was he using and did they humidify, acidify, etc...?

    Tell us everything! ;-)

    Thanks...Paul
     
  18. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Kerik...I find that the blue tape transmits UV when printing in the sun...
     
  19. Jarvman

    Jarvman Member

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    Yeah I'm a bit gutted that I've got the citrate now instead of the oxalate. I phoned up B&S but the price for shipping one bottle is rediculous. :-( Is there any where in this country I can source it? Should have bought some off Paul and Max when I was up there. They are working on an exhibition in Italy soon showcasing 21 years of their work at the mo.
     
  20. Jarvman

    Jarvman Member

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    The way he used a tilted easel rather than laying it on a flat surface and started from the top of the print and gently lifted the top edge of the paper allowing the solution to flow down the paper. This he did in sucessive brushstrokes down the paper until it began to pool at the bottom then he began to draw the excess away with the same brush where the tape was and drain it back into the pot. The coating was exceptionally even though. Apparently there is a slight difference in exposure at the bottom but this must be factored in when printing. Obviously everyone has their own way of doing things but this seems to work for them. He was quite blase about humidity really. There was a humidifier in the room but obviously when you're that good you're totally intuitive about the process. The paper they use 90% of the time is arches aquarelle. I was in complete awe being there. :D
     
  21. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Ummm... you missed the point. Maybe I wasn't clear. You apply the tape prior to coating the paper then remove it after drying. The idea is to mask off the area to be coated, not masking over the coated area. That's what Rubylith, Amberlith or Goldenrod are for.
     
  22. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Vaughn you are correct. Heating the developer releases water vapor resulting in an increased concentration. The crystals indicate the solution is beyond saturation at room temp. You can either add water (distilled or deionized) until they dissolve or simply filter them out then add fresh developer which is what I usually do. The actual concetration of the developer is not that critical. It is a good idea to filter out the black grit fairly regularly because it can sometimes stain the paper.

    You should also monitor the pH of your PO with litmus paper (a pH meter is more accuracy than you need, and they break too easily). I like to keep my PO around pH 6 by adding small amounts of oxalic acid. Once the developer becomes alkaline (pH 7 or more) it can have a detrimental effect on the print quality. You can also do as Dennis suggests and sprinkle in some oxalic acid once in a while and not worry about the litmus paper.

    It ain't rocket science, so don't worry about being too anal about this stuff. Some basic maintenance will keep your developer going for a long, long time.
     
  23. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Jarvman it's easy to make your own PO from potassium carbonate and oxalic acid if you can get those chemicals locally.

    (You may want to do this outside or at least with good ventilation as the process gives off CO2, some heat and a significant amount of bubbles. Think gradeschool volcano project.)

    To make 2 Liters:

    1. Start with about 1100 ml cold distilled water in a container big enough to handle all the effervesence - maybe a gallon or two.

    2. Add 450 grams of Potassium Carbonate mono with stirring until dissolved.

    3. SLOWLY add 400 gm of oxalic acid to the potassium carbonate solution with stirring, waiting each time you add the acid until the bubbling subsides. Continue until all of the oxalic acid has been added.

    4. Add water to bring total volume to 2 liters. Check the pH at this point. It should be near 7.0 (neutral). Now add more oxalic acid in small amounts and keep checking the pH. When you get the pH to about 6.0, you’re done.
     
  24. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Is the advantage to this in the cost? Or just easier than having it shipped?
    Dennis
     
  25. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    If you buy the chems in reasonable quantity it's much cheaper this way.
     
  26. Jarvman

    Jarvman Member

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    It's £6.99 for 100g of oxalic acid from retro so its going to work out more expensive this way. there's a chemical company called sigma aldrich that sell everything but you need a business account with them apparently. I never got the chance to try a gradeschool volcano project :sad:
     
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