Easiest hand mixed emulsion?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by m1tch, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hi all,

    I am just getting into the alternative process, I have been looking at Cyanotypes which I will be doing contact prints with, I have also found that you can use them 'in camera' replacing normal film and paper negatives, they will of course come out at the same size as the camera format and you can't really enlarge them but I am thinking of getting a LF camera soon anyway. Using a cyanotype paper in camera will mean very long exposures ie a few hours rather than less than 10 minutes to do contact printing.

    Thats not the question I want to ask though, I like Cyanotype because there are 2 easyish to get chemicals that won't kill you or explode and you develop in water (plus hydrogen peroxide if needed), this makes for a nice simple method which is easy and cheap to do. The main issue I have with film is the cost and issues around development due to the number of chemicals needed in some of the development processes - although I am thinking of doing a stand process with 100 + 1 Rodnal dilution which apparently works well. Also the film can get quite expensive especially with the larger format cameras, 35mm is ok as you get between 36 and 72 shots per roll, medium format you get about 8 shots per roll and LF cameras you get 1 lol

    I am therefore looking for something that I can hand mix thats easy to use like a paper negative, I do like tintype but am aware of all the issues around that process mainly due to the fact you need to develop it asap and it takes a while to set up so thats why im asking if there is a process that is:

    Easy to mix up
    Cheap ingredients
    Easy to develop
    Easy to handle (ie won't kill me lol)

    I think the closest I can think of is probably something like salt printing, however that probably still can't really be used in camera, im not too worried about the lenght of the exposure as I plan to do landscapes etc with it, but what options are there for hand mixed emulsions that are used in camera?
     
  2. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  3. t-royce

    t-royce Member

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    There is also a whole forum here on APUg devoted to just that idea:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum205/

    Forum: Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating: Discuss hand made emulsions, emulsion making technology and coating. Papers and film.

    As well as a very good website (run by an APUG member) devoted to the same:

    http://www.thelightfarm.com/
     
  4. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Thanks guys, I put the post in this section as I wanted to try and stay away from dangerous chemicals and silver nitrate lol although checking out that photography workshop it seems that 'Physautotypes' seem to be spot on for what I am looking at doing: "The finished plate resembles a daguerreotype, but doesn’t require the use of dangerous chemicals: only rosin, alcohol, and mineral spirits" :D
     
  5. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    Take a look at the 35mm Daguerreotypes class in July 2013 - it doesn't involve dangerous chemicals. I've seen some of the finished photos, and although small, are really great.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  7. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I will check that out, although what I might do to do some testing is simply buy an old box camera with an obsolete film size and then load a plate in.
     
  8. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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  9. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hmm the quest continues! lol I wonder if I created a negative on a cyanotype, then waxed or oiled it to make it transparent, then tried to use it in an enlarger - I have heard of it being done with paper negatives. Hmm I wish there was a simple and safe way of creating images in camera that doesn't require a lab of chemicals or certain expensive chemicals. Its almost easier to pay the extra and get a large format film and make cyanotypes like everyone else lol but thats just not as fun lol
     
  10. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Why don't you buy the pre-mixed emulsion if you're worried about chemicals? I mean, yeah, it's pricy, but it'll coat a lot of paper.
     
  11. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Then I would have to sort out all the development etc, the cool thing about cyanotype is the fact that it develops/fixes in water.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    its funny that you are doing that ..
    i have been working on that same trip for a few years now.

    cyanotype might be the way to go but the exposure times are so slow
    unless you are using a f1 you are kind of held prisoner by your process.
    that is why i have settled on using either photo photo paper in camera
    to make in camera non chemical prints, or hand coated paper with store bought liquid emulsion.
    you GET an image without chemicals but they are unstable. liquid light i have noticed
    doesn't fade like commercial paper. i have some in my desk drawer i made over a year ago
    that still look like i made them yesterday, commercial paper has turned grey sitting right next to it.

    i have a tank of super saturated salt water i plan on soaking some of my prints in to stabilize them ( yeah i know wishful thinking )
    but my plan is to stabilize them to last long enough for an additional exposure in the sun for an hour or 2 after being waxed.

    so, eventually, like you, my plan is to be without a darkroom or the need to use one ...

    probably tomorrow i will make an exposure, maybe a photogram, and test the salt water.

    i doubt it will do much ...
     
  13. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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  14. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Come on down the rabbit hole, we have cake and everything :D thanks for the link, I know you can tea stain cyanotypes but never thought about using coffee lol worth a try, the sodium thiosulphate is an old school fixer. Does seem a bit of a waste of coffee though lol :tongue: although this is still contact printing method, but seems slightly quicker than a cyanotype.
     
  15. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Mr. Nanian is actually the coffee expert. :wink: I've developed film using coffee before, but I haven't done it for years. Heh.
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I do like cyanotypes, especialy toned with coffee or tea. Bostick-Sullivan sells a kit for doing them that works real good.

    For a negative though, it makes sense to spend the $1 on a piece of film from Ilford/Arista/Foma (or more from Kodak). You just shoot less compared to 35mm or 120.

    Cyanotypes aren't free either. The non-buffered paper for that costs something. Tintypes and liquid emulsion probably cost more than doing images with film.
     
  17. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Then you have the development costs on top as well as the other accessories like a changing bag, but I guess you would shoot less on large format, its not like you can attach a motordrive to it!

    I have seen some cyanotype kits on the market, with all the chemicals and paper etc, but its probably going to be easier for me to simply get the chemicals separately, I know that the Potassium ferricyanide is easy to get as its used a lot in art, its just the Ferric ammonium citrate (green) thats slightly harder to get it seems. I'm just going to experiment with the technique and see what happens really, it seems that if I do want a faster in camera process the easiest method is indeed film lol

    I have also been told that using simple watercolour paper is fine to use for cyanotype, I might even try something really basic as my first few test prints, I also have a feeling im going to need a UV lightbox as I live in the UK lol
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you might not want to use water color paper for your "negative"
    it is too thick and will be a PITA to get light and uv rays to pass through.
    if you are planning the cyanotype route for your negative, use the thinnest
    paper you can find ... non watermarked stationary, xerox paper of some sort.
    you will probably have trouble because it is recycled paper is is buffered
    but there are ways to resolve that at least for the short term ...
    its easy to wax ( the flickr vid i posted for you over on the lf forum )
    with just a hot plate and a little wax ...

    you can probably use sunlight, after all talbot was from england and he just used sunlight
    to make both calotypes and salt prints .. facial tanning lamps are pretty cheap ..
    just get some welding goggles :smile:

    have fun !
    john
     
  19. dorff

    dorff Member

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    Yes, as long as it is cotton-based. I use Fabriano 50% cotton in various thicknesses and it works well for me, and is not too expensive. Non-cotton (or silk) papers fall apart when wet. Not always and not quickly, but sooner or later it will ruin a print that you liked. And it will not last as long as cotton paper.
     
  20. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I will get a mix of different papers and weights and do some test copies I think :smile: