I Need Solargraphy Fixing Help!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by aaronmichael, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Hello All,

    Just took down a pinhole camera down the other day that had been up for a little over three months and I pointed it south to make a solargraph image. I've heard numerous times that these images can't be fixed but I went to one of my photography professors today and he said that sodium thiosulfate dissolved in water could work. He said something about about how they used to use this when doing the POP - but I'm not very familiar with this. Any information about this would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
     
  2. David William White

    David William White Member

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    What is the medium?
    In general, you can fix any exposed- or printed-out silver-halide material (as far as I know), and you'd probably want to.
    Sodium thiosulfate is the primary component of popular fixers, but you can get it without the fillers if you have a reason to.

    BUT -- we'd really like to see the cool image first!
     
  3. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Medium was a paper negative inside of a soup can pinhole. Thanks for the information about sodium thiosulfate. Here's the image.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronmichael/5593778769/

    It would be nice to be able to fix it and then contact print it.
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I'm wondering if fixing the image won't bleach out what's already there. I've
    fixed out paper that has discolored upon exposure to light and gotten pure white paper base. Of course, it wasn't a 3 month exposure, but still it's something to think about. I'd test the theory with a plain hypo bath on a piece of the same paper that's been left out in the sun for a couple of days before risking losing the image completely.
     
  5. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Very cool, Aaron!

    That's colour paper, so we'll have to open the matter to the experts here. I'm completely ignorant of colour processes and the effect of straight hypo (fixer) on printed-out colour media.

    Hopefully others will chime in....
     
  6. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I'll leave a sheet out to try to match the density of the negative that was in my camera, put it in the fixer and see what happens.

    David - It's actually black and white paper. The paper is exposed for so long that it turns a reddish color when you pull it out of the camera, so once you scan it and invert it then it turns out to be a blue color.
     
  7. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Oh, I see now. The sweet part of the image is recorded in the various hues generated, related to relative exposure. Yeah, as Frank suggested, hypo will bleach back the colour.

    I need to shut up and think about this kind of exposure a little more. Interesting.

    I wonder if you could contact print onto colour paper without adding too much of an exposure bias to the original image?
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi aaron

    if it works the same way a black and white solar graph works ..
    the image is a stain on the surface of the paper. i have done similar things
    with black and white paper ... fixing it bleached the image and made it vanish,
    contact printing was not easy, the image turned grey as light passed through it ,,
    scanning it worked OK but the image turned grey as the beam passed over it :smile:
    i never gold toned it and fixed it .. and i have no idea if there is a way to tone color paper -

    cool image btw !
    john
     
  9. David William White

    David William White Member

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    ^ ah, yes, should have asked the man.
     
  10. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Was the fixing you used with a modern fixer or with something like sodium thiosulfate dissolved in water?
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi aaron

    i used a 5% ( normal is 24% ) hypo ( plain old sodium thio + water )
    i also used 10% hypo with sodium carbonate in it, and 5% with carbonate in it ..
    sometimes after like 4 or 5 seconds "poof! "
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Yeah, don't fix it! 3 months literally down the drain...

    POP papers were usually gold toned. And since it is b&w paper, I would try to tone it before doing anything else.

    Here's a completely theoretical suggestion; what if there was someway to transfer the image chemically to a new sheet of paper. For instance, carbro tissues were "exposed" by bringing a fixed out b&w print into intimate contact with the gelatin tissue in the presence of a carbro bleach. Granted, there are some problems here; for one your print is not fixed, therefore, are the image-bearing silvers in halide or metallic form?? Secondly, we're talking about gelatin tissues, and so that's a PITA. I guess my point is, there could be some way to transfer the image into a fixable form. Just thinking aloud... probably better stick with toning... :wink:
     
  13. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Maybe toning, but the colour would change. A lift or a transfer is getting rid of the paper base, but it's not the problem. If as John says, contact printing and scanning fog the image, then maybe just photo reproduction onto colour stock by diffuse window-light.

    Aaron: I presume you scanned. How is your paper negative now?
     
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  15. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    The image bearing silvers have to be still in halide form - from my understanding. Because the developer is what turns the silver into metallic silver, correct? The carbro bleach sounds like too much work and I'm not familiar with the process so I think that's out the door.

    I'd like to keep the color how it is but what would the purpose be of toning the image and then trying to fix it? I've never toned before. Even if the image changed color, I could still use it for contact printing onto color or black and white paper. Would still look interesting. Better than not being able to contact print at all or not being able to take it outside to show people.

    I think I've scanned it a total of three times now and by the third scan it didn't look like the image lost too much detail. I've also had it out to show people under artificial light and didn't seem to have that great of an effect. When you think about it, the artificial light from a scanner and indoor lighting are pretty weak compared to the sun.

    I asked our lab manager here at school and he said he has some sodium thiosulfate that I could use. I have another solargraph image that I don't care about as much so I might try it out on that one. Does anyone have a solution to make sodium thiosulfate and water (the ratio, the temperature, and how to dissolve)?
     
  16. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Sodium thiosulfate is fixer and I seriously think your image will completely disappear.

    The carbro idea was just a "throwing it out there" kinda thing... I don't think it would even work in this case. :wink:

    But it's possible that a similar mechanism might exist in the annals of photography.

    Toning would certainly change the color, but to be toned there must be metallic silver. I think that light has the ability to make a silver halide "adsorb a speck of metallic silver", in the parlance of old photo books. Just like a printing out paper. But then by that reasoning, it should be fixable. So to be honest, I really don't know. I wish you luck!!

    If you can figure out a good way to fix the image, then we can use outdated paper for POP purposes and actually have a permanent image.
     
  17. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks for the response. Suppose I'll try some stuff out and see what happens. I won't do any testing on the three month one though :smile:
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    unfortunately there is no way to fix these ephemeral images.
    it is one of the things we learned from Nicéphore Niépce

    i thought with all this modern-stuff and modern ideas
    and modern technology and forward thinkers thinking backwards
    that i too would learn of ways to make these things light safe ..

    if HE only had a scan-machine photography as we know it would be totally different :smile:


    aaron
    regular dilution for sodium thiosulphate is 24%
    so 24g / 100cc of water or 240 / 1000cc ( 1L ) water.
    the more you dilute it, the longer you will need to soak your
    prints in it, and the more of a chance they will have of vanishing :smile:
    have fun!
    john
     
  19. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks John, I suppose I'll just have to keep my solargraph images locked up in a black box somewhere. Then it turns into "What's the point of having them in there if you can't take them out and show them to people?" - hahah.
     
  20. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Before you do anything though, set them up and photograph them with colour film. You can reproduce them from there and hang them on the wall.
     
  21. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Hmm - interesting idea. Thanks for that.
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    GREAT IDEA!
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    :smile: " and this image was a solargraph showing the arc of the sun and my home "
     
  24. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Making it more wide angle...

    Figured I'd post back on here before starting a new thread. A lot the curves at the top of my image got cut off and when summer solstice comes around, i'm planning on putting up a bunch of different solargraph cameras and leaving them for half a year. I was just wondering, how would I make my pinhole camera more wide angle in order to capture a full 6 months worth of arcs? The pinhole camera I used for the image I posted was a soup can with a focal length of 73mm, a height of 4.5 inches, and my pinhole was placed behind a 5mm hole in the can.
     
  25. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Simple, just decrease the focal length. Use a can with a smaller diameter, like a tomato-paste can.

    I think of focal length like this; if you're standing 10 feet from a window, looking outside, you see a fairly limited view of the outdoor scene. This represents a long lens. But if your face is pressed right up against the glass you can see a great deal more, nearly 180°, this represents a wide angle lens.

    If you've ever been in a camera obscura room and held a piece of tracing paper up to the virtual image, you can see that by being closer to the aperture you get a very wide angle view of what's outside.
     
  26. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    That's the answer I was afraid of. I suppose what I should have asked is, is there any way to keep the camera wide angle while still being able to use a large sheet of photographic paper. I'd like to be able to scan and print my images out to 16 inches wide or larger and I think that I'm going to start to lose a lot of quality if my negative is small. From what it sounds like though, there's no way to have both of what I want.