Ferric Ammonium Oxalate - an observation and a question.

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by kevs, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm beginning to experiment with the Kallitype process, and am using Ferric Ammonium Oxalate (green) as it's much cheaper and much more avaliable than Ferric Oxalate. I am aware of Dr. Mike Ware's comments on this substance, (see his comments quoted at http://www.usask.ca/lists/alt-photo-process/2003/jan03/0352.htm). My first plan is to coat the paper with the iron salt, dry, then add the silver nitrate.

    Anyway, that's the background. My observation, made whilst experimenting with FAO-based Cyanotypes, is that after coating the FAO onto paper, it emits ammonia and turns yellow (from green). I haven't read about this observation elsewhere.

    There are two explainations that i can think of:

    1) The FAO is reacting with the paper's size or buffer;

    2) The FAO is reacting to atmospheric gasses.

    Whilst i think that 1) is possible, my money is on 2). The reason i say this is because i coated FAO onto a strip of newspaper and even that emitted
    ammonia.

    Does anyone know what reaction is happening here? What is the product left on the paper - i'm guessing Ferric Oxalate as it's still light-sensitive; I have made successful Cyanotypes with it.

    Thanks for any information. I'll let you know how my experiments go.

    kevs
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2006
  2. bruce terry

    bruce terry Member

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    I'm no big expert - still struggle with the vagaries of ziatypes, where afo - ammonium ferric oxalate #1 - is usually the primary sensitizer. Of course zia chemicals are mixed together first with metal salts of choice, then applied to the paper, resulting in different initial coloring, most of the time medium to dark yellow. I know not why, not sure I need to know, but maybe I can improve my method too, should someone who really knows weigh-in.

    Bruce
     
  3. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for the info on ziatypes. i think i've figured this one out - at least a little bit.

    My Kallitype experiments are proceding well; i produced two prints from paper negs yesterday, and am printing from camera negs today. I'm beginning to get quite excited about my little project.

    Significantly, i have changed my paper. I began using Bockingford NOT finish, and have changed to The Langton HP - both made by Daler Rowney. Daler Rowney's website (http://www.daler-rowney.com/index.asp) tells me that Bockingford is buffered with calcium carbonate. It doesn't tell me what The Langton is buffered with, if anything.

    On coating The Langton with FAO, i didn't notice the ammonia coming off the paper, although there may be small amounts. I've made some successful prints, with strong printed-out detail in the dark areas. Unfortunately they didn't clear very well in citric acid. I de-buffered the first prints in citric acid and i'm now testing it without de-buffering. The orange stain i'm getting could be Dr. Ware's 'sludge' forming on the paper.

    So it seems more likely that the FAO was reacting with the buffering in the Bockingford papers i've used until now. It also seems there is a possibility of making clean and unstained Kallitypes using FAO and silver nitrate.

    Thanks,
    kevs
     
  4. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi all,

    Just a few more observations on the use of FAO in Kallitypes...

    I haven't yet experienced Dr. Ware's 'silver sludge' (see link on original post) when combining the silver and iron salts. I have noticed though that the mixed sensitiser is a cloudy yellow colour and looks 'curdled' - a bit like stale milk in tea. It works just the same though and has caused me no serious problems.


    I've found that i get a deeper print-out image than i'd expected; with traditional Kallitypes most literature describes the presence of only a faint image after exposure but before development. Highlight details appear during development - i've been using Sandy King's sodium citrate developer which gives warm brown tones.

    I've also tried developing in a standard print developer - Ilford PQ at 1:9 dilution. This works up to a point. My resulted in a 'sooty' look over the print with foggy highlights.

    I've also found that plain tap water works quite well, giving a neutral tone to the image. To avoid hydroxide staining, i acidified the water with a few mils of acetic acid stop bath. this, surprisingly (to me at any rate!) worked.

    Because i'm using FAO instead of FO, i suppose it's a little misleading to call it Kallitypes - it's closer to the Van Dyke process because of the print-out image.

    My next hurdle is to stop the blacks from eroding in the fixer. I wasn't goint to bother but i'll have to bite the bullet and try some gold toner.

    Cheers,
    kevs
     
  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Thaks for the notes. I have never used FAO for kallitype but plan to get some and try it out.

    BTW, I met Mike Ware in my recent visit to Istanbul. Wonderful person, and wish I had more time to spend with him.

    Sandy King
     
  6. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Thanks Sandy, it would be interesting to see how the two iron salts compare when used in Kallitypes.
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    OK, I tried the FAO with kallitype and got it to work, kind of. But I did not get it to work nearly so well as FO, so unless someone can point me to a better way I will stay with FO for the time being.

    I checked what Mike Ware has had to say about this, and almost contacted him to see if his thinking had changed, but he still has not found a way to overcome some of the problems in using FAO with silver nitrate.

    Sandy
     
  8. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for getting back to me. May i ask you - in what way aren't the FAO kallitypes as good as the FO ones?

    My dark tones seem to be suffering from fixer erosion - probably because i'm not using a toner yet. But they appear quite dark in the developer, so probably are eroding in the fix. I get plenty of detail in the image though, and whites at almost paper-base density.

    Something else i've noticed is that it doesn't like chalk-bufferred papers. These need de-bufferring in citric acid before using them. I'm not sure if i can get the Stonehenge papers you mention in your article here - i've been using The Langton HP, which is a Windsor and Newton watercolour paper bought in pads. this seems to work well, considering the problems i had with Bockingford.

    I'll certainly post interesting observations to this thread, although they may not be ground-breaking, they may be of interest. i'll also scan some of my prints; something i haven't wanted to do because the viewer loses the sense of 'surface'. But i'll do it anyway :smile:

    Thanks again for the information,
    kevs
     
  9. sanking

    sanking Member

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    First, I was not able to get as much Dmax with the AFO as with FO using the same papers. One of those papers is COT 320, which in theory should give excellent results. It does with both FO and AFO with Pt./Pd. printing.

    Second, I got a lot of stain that would not clear with several papers that work well for me with FO. This includes Stonhenge.

    It may well be that one can get excellent results with AFO and silver nitrate, but a number of options appear to be more limited. However, please post some image files so that we may see your results.

    Sandy King
     
  10. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I do a lot of Kallitype printing.

    I find it does not work well with a buffered paper and normally use a 100% cotton or rag paper. These are unbuffered. When I try a new paper I generally check it pH hoping to find that it is slightly acidic. Buffers often make the paper more basic.

    Kallitype seems to work better in an acid situation, as do other alt processes, therefore I always rinse following development with a slightly acidified water. I normally use citric acid, but others should work.

    WHen I find that for some reason the highlights are not clearing to my satisfaction, usually for an unknown reason, I add a minute amount of dichromate to the sensitizer and the problem is resolved.
     
  11. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi all,

    Here's some of my attempts to produce FAO kallitypes so far. All are on Windsor and Newton's 'The Langton' HP pad paper.

    The first is a contact strip of camera negs - here i applied the FAO first, then the silver nitrate. The second is double-coated, which accounts for the problem in the left bottom corner. The third is underexposed - i had to cut and run that day and snatched it off the lightbox!

    Two and three are from copy film negatives made on Macolith line film. Please bear in mind that i'm new to this game and am still experimenting with the process.

    Sandy, thanks again for your information. Perhaps your lighter D-max is because of the self-masking effect of the printing-out that happens with FAO. But that's a guess. My prints often clear the yellow stain in the fix rather than the citric acid. I've had problems clearing alkaline papers too.

    Jim - thanks, i'll try adding some dichromate next time.

    Cheers,
    kevs
     

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