Keeping properties of sensitized albumen paper

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by David A. Goldfarb, May 3, 2006.

  1. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,980
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    For my last batch of albumen prints, I coated some Strathmore 500 2-ply and 1-ply, and while I find 1-ply much easier to work with and get much more even results over the whole sheet that way, I've been keeping the trimmings in an opaque bag, and I've noticed that the 2-ply seems much less susceptible to browning two weeks later than the 1-ply. If I had full sheets of sensitized 2-ply, they would be clean enough to print on. The thicker paper base and whatever adhesive is used to bond the layers together seems to be protecting the emulsion from oxidation. I'm sensitizing with a 15% solution of silver nitrate with 40g/l citric acid as a preservative.

    I don't know that this is enough of a factor to convince me to work regularly with 2-ply instead of 1-ply, since the system of sensitizing in the evening and printing the next day seems to work for me, but maybe if one wanted to spread the work out over a few days, that might be a reason to use 2-ply.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,980
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Made another interesting observation about the keeping qualities of albumen paper. I made some albumen prints back in June before leaving town for the summer, and noticed that I still had an opaque envelope full of sensitized paper trimmings these three months later, coated on Strathmore 500 1-ply. I was surprised at how clean it was. The back of the paper was thoroughly browned, but the front didn't seem much more brown than albumen paper that was two or three days old. The slight amount of browning on the emulsion side would be bleached out with normal toning and fixing.

    So I folded a piece over and left it on the window sill for a while. It's a cloudy day--not my normal printing conditions--but I'd guess it's lost around one or two stops of speed compared with fresh albumen paper, so it wouldn't be practical to use three-month-old paper for printing in general, but this furthers my impression sensitized albumen paper lasts a little longer than is usually suggested.
     
  3. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I find this interesting, as Albumen is something I would like to try.
     
  4. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,720
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vegas/myster
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Sunny side up

    Thanks for sharing the observatios and results Dave. :smile:
     
  5. dmax

    dmax Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    David,

    Prompted by your post, I got back to a few sheets of Canford paper (cardstock) that I had float-coated about 4 months or so ago. I had them in the customary black light-tight envelop, stored in a warm cabinet. None exhibit any kind of browning, either at the coated surface or at the back of the sheets.

    I placed a sheet in direct sunlight (late afternoon sun here in Los Angeles), and the speed loss is horrendous. The exposed sheet barely turned dark, even after 10 minutes of direct exposure. All it did was turn a medium shade of violet. And so while the coated paper keeps, the major tradeoff is in the loss of sensitivity.