Negatives for Carbon

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by mark, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    With the depressing loss of centennial POP I have been searching for a process that would suit me. Seems like Carbon would be it. Sounds fun and I like the idea of doing most of the work in water instead of chemicals.

    My question is about the negs. I have negs suited to POP and know what those should look like. Would these negs be suited to Carbon as well? If it would be important I shoot Efke PL100 and develope with pyrocat in tubes. 8x10 and 5x7
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    My guide for negs that print perfectly for my way of doing carbons (lots of relief) -- if the neg makes a platinum print that has the proper (or too much) contrast, with no contrast agent used (Potassium chlorate, NA2, or dichromate), then I know I have a great carbon negative.

    Your POP negatives will probably work, especially having used a staining developer. You might just start with those...especially if you buy the pre-made carbon tissue from Bostick and Sullivan.

    If you want to make your own tissue and want a significant raised relief, make a couple negs of the same scene -- expose normally and then develop one at 50% more time than "normal" and the other at 100% more time.
     
  3. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Mark, if it helps any I shoot Efke-25 and develop in Pyrocat-HD. My best negatives for printing my carbon work with my own tissue have a density range of 1.8 to 2.2. Works well for my process. I pour thick tissue and get plenty of relief. Kind of like Vaughn! Should be as he taught me the process.
     
  4. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  5. mark

    mark Member

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    HOLY CRAP CAKES BATMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! did you see the price of that stuff?! 5 bucks a sheet. Carbon looks better and better.

    Will try the POP negs to see how they work. Found out I am working under the gun on my project so I need to get off my rump.
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Snifflling snodgrass Robin, you're absolutely right!

    :laugh:

    Carbon is afterall, the premiere choice.
     
  7. Jim Graves

    Jim Graves Member

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    Mark ... I also learned carbon from Vaughn. I shoot mostly for silver processes (lower contrast than either Vaughn or Jim F.) and find that most of those negatives work fine in carbon ... I just end up using lower percentages of dichromate and longer printing exposure times.

    I shoot WP and 8x10 and use Pyrocat HD or HC-110 in a Jobo Expert 3005.

    So, I don't think you will have any trouble successfully adjusting the carbon process to your collection of POP negatives.
     
  8. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Jim, are you in the 1/2 to 1% club too? I'm boosting my negatives to get some relief; so to speak. It's interesting to pick a negative and see what it yields in Carbon though and when beginning that's about all a person has. I dug into my negatives to find some that that were right for Carbon but years of shooting helped me refine them down to print on silver without any problems at all.

    I learned the process from Vaughn too. Actually a person never quite learns the process completely because there are so many styles and variables to work from. For one thing it's not boring and every print is amazing to see.

    Curt
     
  9. Jim Graves

    Jim Graves Member

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    Curt ... have done 1% ... haven't been down to 1/2% yet ... probably should have, though.

    Most of mine are 2-3%

    I'm heading back to the Tonopah Workshop in two weeks ... I'll say hello to the gazebo crowd for you.
     
  10. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Thanks Jim, I opted to go to the Vancouver BC workshop with Vaughn. I'd like very much to go to the Yosemite workshop.

    Curt
     
  11. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Well guys my dichromates generally run 1 1/2%, 3% 45 and 6%. An occasional 8 and 12 for good measure. When I get the negatives up to the Density ranges I talked about I'm at the 6% range. A lot has to do with what is going on in the negative.
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    1 1/2%, 3% 45 and 6%

    I've never done any at 45; is that 45%? Smiley face inserted here.

    How are those 14X17 prints working out? I'm about finished with my 11x14 build. Camera Bellows needs 240 pounds for a bellows. I'm making my own and when I'm though remodeling my darkroom I'm making a nice 11x14 in the same type of design as yours. Then I'll order a custom bellows. If you beat me out of any more glass I'll have to make do with what I have. Ha, ha, ha!

    Do you ever show up at Yosemite during the time of Vaughn's workshop?

    Best,
    Curt
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    My standard is still 8%, though my negatives of late have been "weaker" (using FP4 and Ilford Universal PQ developer) so I have done some 6%, and even some 4%. But there are some negatives I might revisit with 10%.

    The Yosemite workshop has disappeared from the AA Gallery website -- so I assume that it has been cancelled due to a lack of interest. Sort of wish they would have contacted me directly, though.
     
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  15. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Now that's a disappointment, It's interesting, when I stopped in there they said they were reorganizing. I guess they reorganized it right off the calendar.
    Maybe somewhere else will present an opportunity... one never knows...
     
  16. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Curt, usually I read what I type! That should have been 4%. Sometimes the shift key does not work. As far as glass goes I think I'm done for a while. Prices have gotten crazy! Once in a while I find a good deal but it is getting harder and harder. My 14x17 bellows from Custom Bellow cost me $500.00 delivered to my door. Expensive but I wasn't going to screw that part up! As far as cameras go I do have something in the works but that is all I'll say right now.
    I did a still life with the 14x17 last night and have to develop the negatives. I also poured some 15x18 tissue so I can print if the negatives look good. X-ray film of course. 14x17 @ $.50 a sheet is great!
    If Vaughn's workshop was a go I would have come up. I always love to see my mentor!
     
  17. Jim Graves

    Jim Graves Member

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    AA Gallery screwed this up with their reorganization.

    They have always done virtually no advertising which is because of the expense ... they don't make a lot from these workshops. But they didn't even make an effort on the forums or other websites.

    They also raised the price this year ... and did away with the ability to make a deposit to hold your spot ... meaning you had to front the whole price up front, months in advance.

    They also failed to put any information on their own website about guaranteeing lodging space (as they did in the past.)

    When I went to their website in December to see about attending the scheduled April workshop, the Yosemite Lodge was already booked up for that week. I contacted their workshop coordinator to ask if they would take a deposit and if they could guarantee Lodge rooms ... the answer was no. He said they could guarantee lodging somewhere in the Park and they would add that information to their website ... but they never did.

    I ended up not signing up this year for other reasons but hate to see this great workshop disappear because AA Gallery can't get their act together.
     
  18. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Well, I can not complain too much -- the past two years they have let my workshop run with less-than-minimum enrollment. They still made a few bucks and so did I -- and those that signed up got good value, and we all had a good time making prints in a beautiful place (Yosemite Valley is hard to beat in April!)

    Their digital workshops seem to be doing quite well...and I would love to take Kerik's workshop in November to learn more about digital negatives and fine-tune my platinum work.
     
  19. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    I've never printed carbon, But i have seen both B&W and color carbon prints in person. They are amazing, when i have the time i will certainly try to make some carbon prints. I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with a guy by the name of Gordon Chapple, But he was a king of carbon printing, who passed away a couple years ago. Well i have his enlarger and many of his other darkroom items in my darkroom now, thanks to his generous son. heres a page about him: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/CarSym/CGC/cgc.html. He is one of those people i never got to meet but i still feel very close to him every time i print (especially considering that i am using his equipment!). Anyways, carbon prints are beautiful, and i had the pleasure of seeing some of his.
    -Austin
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I dropped by and visited with Gordon and his wife a couple times and we showed each other our prints and he showed me set-up. He did wonderful work.

    He liked the raised relief of my prints and he said he was going to be working on that idea for some new pieces, but I don't know how far he was able to take the idea.

    On my second visit he gave me his old NuArc plate burner -- an interesting old beast:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...8ufseHHiruFpJakcQ%3D&viewitem=&category=57058

    It is at the university now -- it will be great for our alt photo classes. I'll have to put Gordon's name on it -- it is a nice reminder of a great person and printer!

    Vaughn
     
  21. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    that's funny, you'd probably recognize quite a bit of equipment i have in my darkroom. As i understand it, he was a very nice, generous person, I definitely saw that in his son. It's a big shame that he passed away so suddenly and it was without warning for anyone. Even bigger shame that his wife was with him when the accident happened. The prints i saw of his were very 3-D, and as you probably know, he did color carbon transfer printing too, which is a very cool process. These were extra 3-D! I wish i could've met him, his work is amazing.
    -Austin
     
  22. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Yes, Chris and Katie and two fine young people. Gordon was a master carbon printer. I'll never forget the color carbon print at the end of his hallway. It is a 16x22 color carbon of Escalante Canyon. I have the work print and many of Gordon's carbon materials including his Nuarc 261Ks. Gordon was a master printer and it was a great loss when he and his wife were killed in Escalante.

    Gordon was quite fond of pin registered multi layered carbon prints and his monochrome prints are stunning.
    I met with the kids after their parents death and helped them sort things out. Two fine young people.

    Vaughn, I'm disappointed that the Yosemite carbon workshop is not going to happen. I would have come to the park with the 14x17 so you could see it.

    Austin, I forgot that the link had what I feel was Gordon's finest carbon print. I held the print "three leaves" in my hands and it brought me to tears. Amazing print!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2011
  23. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    I haven't met katie, but Chris was very nice to me. Yes that is the one i think of whenever his name pops in to my head, what an amazing image and print. I think Gordon deserves more recognition, he was an amazing printer. Three leaves was my background on my computer for a long time. I haven't seen the actual print, but even on a computer screen it looks amazing. I believe I would tear up as well! Not sure if your close to chris, but when i picked up Gordon's enlarger and other stuff, he mentioned a large amount of binders full of Gordon's notes on carbon printing. He didn't give them to me, but it would be interesting to see what his notes had said. Also, among the many things i got, one thing is a small black box with a red button on the side, a light sensor on the top and a small screen on the front. Do you happen to know what this is, or how it is used? If it's useful to either you or vaughn for carbon printing, let me know, i can send it your way...
    -Austin
     
  24. Vlad Soare

    Vlad Soare Member

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    I've been thinking and trying to understand why the relief might depend on the contrast index of the negative. Intuitively, it shouldn't. I mean, the relief depends on the amount of gelatin in the shadows. That is, on the shadow density. That is, on the contrast of the print. And I think it shouldn't matter whether the contrast of the print was attained by lowering the dichromate concentration, or by using a contrasty negative. As long as you get the same print contrast, you'll get the same shadow density and the same amount of gelatin in the shadows, ergo the same relief, regardless of the method you used to achieve that contrast, right?

    But then I think I've found the answer. I think what really affects the relief is the concentration of pigment in the glop. If you use a low pigment concentration you'll need a thick layer of gelatin in the shadows to get deep blacks. A high pigment concentration will give you deep blacks with a thinner layer of gelatin.
    So, I think that if you want a prominent relief you need to use a lower pigment concentration. Lower pigment concentration means intrinsically lower print contrast, so now you have to increase the contrast somehow, either by using a contrasty negative or by lowering the concentration of dichromate. But since there's a practical limit to how low you can go on dichromate, starting with a contrasty negative seems like the best option.

    So, my guess is that a very contrasty negative is not mandatory for getting a strong relief, but it helps by allowing you to use less pigment and still get good contrast without resorting to impractically low dichromate concentrations.

    Am I right?

    Vaughn, how much pigment do you use for one liter of glop?
     
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  25. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Bingo, as they say here in America!

    Back when I was re-inventing the carbon printing wheel, I saw a little bit of relief in a wet print and went about trying to figure out how to get enough relief so that it would remain when the print dried. At the time I did not know about the affect of dichromate concentration and had standardized on an 8% stock solution, diluted 1:2 -- as per the instructions in the magazine article I was using to learn with.

    So I figured out a way to get the relief by lowering the pigment concentration to a minimum amount -- and by increasing the contrast of my negatives to match the pigment load and dichromate concentration.

    Teaching workshops with the participants negatives being all over the contrast map, I have embraced dichromate concentration as a form of control. But I have found that there is a practical lower limit when matched to a low pigment concentration. For the way I make tissue, it seems that going much below a stock solution 2% (diluted 1:2) makes it difficult to get a lot of relief (I am being purposefully vague on the exact amount as I have not nailed down the exact amount). So I still encourage the participants of my workshops to bring high contrast negatives -- much higher than silver gelatin printing can handle.

    Comparing pigment concentrations is not very worthwhile unless one is using the same pigment. The actual concentration of the stock pigment, its color, and its light blocking ability all affect the amount one uses. I am using about 4 to 5 grams of watercolor paint (in tubes) per 750ml batch of glop...and even the brand of paint makes a big difference -- I am using Grahams Watercolors.

    Vaughn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2011
  26. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I'm in agreement with what you wrote, Vlad. I have followed Vaughn's Advice and have gotten some images with great relief. I also agree that the pigment one uses makes a big difference on how low you can go and still get good blacks and relief. Pouring a thick tissue is a must and then finding the perfect balance of pigment load and dichromate dilution takes some time. I have made some images with nice relief and tonal range using 8 grams/1000 ml. and 1 1/2% dichromate with negatives that have a density range of under 1.00! My best images are with negatives developed in Pyro and have a DR of 1.8 to 2.2