Light Farm silver gelatin web tutorials

Discussion in 'Silver Gelatin Based Emulsion Making & Coating' started by dwross, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I am very happy to announce the launch of the Light Farm silver gelatin tutorials. Over the course of 2013, if everything goes according to plan (fingers crossed!), I, and a few others, will teach participants the abc's of emulsion making and -- just as important -- the xyz's of what to do with the materials once you've made them.

    http://thelightfarm.com/cgi-bin/htmltutgen.py?content=02Dec2012

    I hope some of the people who have participated in this forum over the years will decide to jump in and learn a Craft that almost literally has no creative boundaries.

    Happy Holidays to All,
    d
     

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  2. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Thank you Denise for this superb idea. :cool:

    Dominik
     
  3. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    And thank you for the 'cool' sign! Hope you join in.
    d
     
  4. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    this is very exciting. is there a participation fee? or a sign-up place?
     
  5. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I have been looking at the Lightfarm many times and I like what I see!

    Only one problem though: when reading about procedures ex to clean a glass plate for emulsion, all American (?) brand names are mentioned - stuff I have NO idea what is... so I get confused.. (I don't even know what Everclear is - a name mentioned many times on the net...)
     
  6. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Really nice, Denise. Great article by Wendy, too.

    -- Jason
     
  7. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Emil
    Everclear = 95% Alcohol for us Europeans, but I agree with you the American names and Brands can be very confusing.
     
  8. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Likewise for all of us Americans, too! Most of us have no idea what products you have. I've been to England a number of times so I do understand that even many common items have very different names and the brands don't translate at all.

    However, I'd say post or PM someone here if you need a translation. I'm sure someone will be willing to help out. Maybe we can create a translation table of sorts.

    -- Jason
     
  9. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Hi!

    Absolutely free. No sign-up.

    The big reason I've got my fingers crossed, though, relates to the issue that Emil and Dominik address -- the challenges of making silver gelatin emulsions a craft that translates worldwide. I have high hopes that the people who are following along, learning emulsion making, will constructively contribute to the process. I will ask that people write a bit about their experience -- both the successes and the total fails. Hopefully, post images. Offer advice on local retail outlets. If we can make a cooperative venture of the feedback, I think this will succeed beyond even my unfailing optimism and create a web learning experience that is equal to a physical workshop.

    So, if there is a 'cost', the coin is your time and willingness to share :smile:.
     
  10. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Great idea, Jason. In my ideal world, though, there wouldn't be PM's regarding these tutorials. Open source, all the way.
     
  11. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Excellent idea. This forum appears to be a good place to discuss the progress. I've gone through the list of required items, and Everclear aka 95% ethanol might be a difficult item for some. It is illegal in some states in US, and I bet some countries as well. Should we be starting a discussion on proper construction of distillation apparatus :D ?

    I know, in my inventory of chemicals I don't have alcohol and KCl just yet.

    Eugene.
     
  12. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Everclear is a brand name for 190 Proof alcohol made from corn. Generically, it it a neutral grain spirit. Most any neutral grain spirit of high alcohol content like 180-190 Proof will work. Don't use flavored spirits.
    You should be able to find unflavored vodka for use as a more expensive substitute.
     
  13. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Remember that you should, with a little web surfing, find the ingredient list for the products that Denise references and compare that information to what is available in your local region.
    Google, and MSDS sheets, are your friend.
     
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  15. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Open source all the way! The only reason I said PM was in case someone was uncomforatble asking for whatever reason. Surely, though, we would find a vehicle to publish.

    And therein will lie an issue for some. Nothing more than 150 proof is available here any longer. It sure was when I was in college :smile: but you can't get it now. The closest thing I could find to straight ethanol was 100 proof (50%) Nikolai vodka, which fotunately was not all that pricey. You can treat it as "half-strength" ethanol and remember to adjust for the water content. In my case I found that a neighboring state, Maryland, sells the real thing. So when we go down there for away games a bottle or two comes along home.

    Also, don't be afraid to hunt on eBay for chemicals. You need to watch (buyer beware!) what you are buying but there is an amazing array of things available. I've gotten stung once (and I don't think it was intentional on the seller's part) but otherwise have had very good experiences. Artcraft also sells through eBay and sometimes their prices there are better than from the website or different quantities offered - for example 50g of AgNO3 instead of 100.
     
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  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another good source of chemistry for alt process stuff like this is chemsavers - www.chemsavers.com - not necessarily the cheapest place out there, but they do stock almost anything you'd want, and they'll ship it by the appropriate means. That's where I got my ether when I needed some for wet plate.
     
  17. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    well - I might just be the worst in using these tools - not much help there....

    And adding the name "proof" isn't helping either as we don't use that at all..

    When I made my book about bromoil printing, I got two people to proof read the text - one American and one English...

    I realized - to avoid confusion - I sometimes had to use two different words to describe an item...

    In the book "Silver Gelatin" about the liquid emulsion, there's a great appendix - pages that describes the difference between European and English/American mesurements - pages that precisely describe different chemistry with formula to go with them. So nice.
     
  18. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    I'm not sure I'll have my darkroom ready in time for this, but it sounds very interesting. You mention contact prints. Is what you're doing better suited for large format negatives? ATM the largest I can go is 6x7. Can an enlarger be used for what you've got planed?
     
  19. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Kenton,

    Yes, indeed. I'm enlarging 120 negatives right now :smile:. The recipe will come a couple of months into the workshop series.
    Best of luck and speed pulling together your work space!
    d
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    great stuff denise !

    the more the merrier ... you are 100% on when you say
    the limitless boundaries ...

    looking forward to this -
    john
     
  21. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Very nice...I keep thinking I will have time to try some 'dry plates' one day.
    Thanks for all you have done, Denise!!
     
  22. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    One more question. Is making your own photographic paper cheaper than purchasing or not? I wouldn't be doing this for saving money, I'm just curious. :smile:
    Thanks,
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Good work Denise.

    Mark and I will be teaching a course in March. I urge you all, interested in emulsion making, to take the workshop at George Eastman House. http://www.eastmanhouse.org/events/detail.php?title=photo-workshop-3-2013

    The person in the photo is a student at our last workshop and is an Academy Award winner!

    We have some great people coming to GEH to learn about photography. Join us for an amazing experience!

    PE
     
  24. marenmcgowan

    marenmcgowan Subscriber

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    Sweet...I love this site. I'm currently trying to get a darkroom set up and this is the kind of thing I would love to be doing. THanks for the awesome resource!
     
  25. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    Kenton,

    The short answer is "it depends."

    Here's the long answer: The papers I use most frequently are Arches HP 90 lb and 140 lb. At Dick Blick right now they're $4.19 and $4.83 per 22"x30" sheet. I keep my eyes (and inbox) open for specials, especially the free shipping ones, so I end up paying less, but let's say $4.50 a sheet. I use 2-1/2 sheets per recipe that calls for 5 grams of silver nitrate. I get eight to ten 8x10-inch sheets, plus enough selvage for test strips (or a lot of 5x7 pieces.) That comes out to $11.25 for paper and approximately $5 for silver nitrate = $1.50 to $2.25 per 8x10 piece of printing paper).

    Beyond the one-time cost of the tools, paper and silver nitrate are the only real expenses. Depending on what you can raid from your kitchen, and how many of the items I listed you might need to talk to Santa about, (http://thelightfarm.com/cgi-bin/htmltutgen.py?content=02Dec2012) the equipment costs to start up will range from zip to less than $250. Since you need some of the tools and materials even if you're printing with commercial paper, how you count those costs is an individual matter, as is your philosophy of amortization.

    Another factor in determining cost is the value you place on time. Making your own materials isn't "efficient" in the sense we've all come to expect efficiency. No craft is. Having said that, basic paper pulls together really fast. If you don't count drying time, I spend less time per recipe than I do making a loaf of bread.

    Last but not least, as you hinted, what price satisfaction, or heck, just plain fun?

    Hope you give this a try!
    d
     
  26. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Just to add to what Denise said, the complexity of the emulsion process at a basic level is about the same as baking a cake from scratch. (raw ingredients vs a "box cake") Now that level of effort isn't going to get you "Tri-X from your basement," but it will get you something quite usable. After that, it is how much do you want to experiment or try to invent so it's up to you.

    Also 50 or 100 grams of silver nitrate goes quite a long way. My last batch of TLF2 has given 7 120 rolls plus extra used for testing, single frames, etc,. for 6 grams AgNO3. Total materials involved in that batch probably cost under $10 (US).

    P.S. the term "proof" in regards to liquor gives the alcohol content. It is double the actual percentage of alcohol. So 100 proof is 50% alcohol.

    P.P.S Thanks for the word on Chemsavers. Have bought from them through eBay but did not know they had a web site. Watch them for AgNO3. Occasionally they have a sale on it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2012