%$#@ Socorro paper

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Jorge, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Ok, what is it with this paper that gives such ugly grainy skies?.

    Here is my experience maybe someone can explain to me why the prints look so crappy.

    I started a printing session, the negative has a 1.4 range and I started with a #7 solution FO#1 12 drops, FO#2 12 drops, Pd 18 drops and Pt 6 drops....exposed, developed...and ugly, ugly skies, the print was correctly exposed and the tones in the subject area looked beautiful...but those skies...jeez I have never seen anything so ugly in my life....So I thought ok, maybe it is the potassium chlorate, since I dont have any dichromate (it is in transit) I figure I use hydrogen peroxide in the developer as per the tip Clay gave me....so my new emulsion was...21 drops FO #1, 18 drops Pd, 5 drops Pt, and 2 drops sodium platinate 25%.
    Expose develop....better but still butt ugly skies. So I thought Ok, I am on the right track, I lowered the FO a little and restrainer in the developer helped, so my next thought was maybe is the "cold snap" thing Sullivan mentions in his book, so I heated the solutions to room temp in a water bath....so, made the emulsion same as above with only FO#1 and exposed and develop....better but still looked like the skies were licked by my dog....so, I am thinking...ahaa...I am getting better result, maybe the paper is too alkaline so if I dip it in oxalic acid maybe I should get more even skies....so I did this, and success.....great smooth skies...but crap! the brush strokes were apparent in the print...so I am thinking ok, I got it handled, I made the same exact emulsion with heated solutions, paper dipped in OA and dried overnight, so nest print.....same ugly grainy skies...
    So I finally gave up after many prints and grabbed the platinotype....first print...beautiful, even smooth skies...so now I am weary, I am thinking, Jorge you are new at this, this must be beguinners luck...so I make the same exact print and again...beautiful even skies...and I thinking..ok, lets try another negative with more contrast.....again, perfect...so my conclusion, they should label socorro paper in the catalog not as "advanced platinum" printing but as "buy if you are a stubborn masochist".
    The thing is, I love the tone of this paper and the way it dries to give rich beautiful tones...unless there is sky, that is! So, any thoughts, help....or should I use this paper when the subject matter has no smooth even tones only?...if so this paper is more trouble than what is worth.

    BTW I have to thank Clay for the tip on the oxalic acid bath, it really is useful.
     
  2. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Another easier-to-find paper that has worked well for me with an oxalic acid pre-treatment is Rives BFK 280gsm natural white hot press. A quick dunk in 1-2% oxalic, and you can get a tone like the image I printed last night. If you intend to use it for a later gumover treatment, you MUST pre-shrink it in hot water for at least 20 minutes, dry and then dip in oxalic. Needless to say, I do large batches of this paper so it will be ready. It is a really long scale beautiful paper and will print 20-21 steps on the Stouffer tablet!

    I'll send you a jpeg off-list.

    Clay
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I just got your print and I wish you would post it here too.....it is a lovely print full of brightness.
     
  4. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Ok, here is a reduced size thumbnail of the image on BFK w/oxalic

    Clay
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Hi Jay, it is an interesting book, but I found albumen way to hard for the results. I agree that the initial outlay for pt is more expensive, but let me share part of the message Clay sent me, on his print, Clay made a test print and the first print came out like you see. How many times have you printed with silver and have a great print right at the first time?

    Of course Clay is experienced and I am sure he has his technique very well controlled but I think the rewards far outweight the initial "pain"... [​IMG]
     
  6. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Maybe I'm a crappy silver printer. But it usually takes me about 4-5 sheets of paper to get it close to right with dodging, burning and whatnot. It is not uncommon for my first platinum print to be by final. Admittedly, I have been doing this almost exclusively for about the last year or so, but I do think that platinum requires a lot less dodging and burning to get a print that 'glows'. When you factor all my silver failures into the equation, I think it is about a wash for me.

    And yes, in answer to the other question, that is the same Rives company that's been around since god was a kid.

    Clay
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (clay @ Nov 29 2002, 02:45 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Maybe I'm a crappy silver printer. But it usually takes me about 4-5 sheets of paper to get it close to right with dodging, burning and whatnot.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    I found myself in the same boat, and if the negative was a problem one, the the masking, SLIMT, etc took way more time and effort to produce the image I wanted.
     
  8. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    I'm going to launch into a somewhat philosophical discourse, so, fair warning: I find the 'hit rate' to be much higher for shooting ULF and printing in platinum. I think it is partly due to 'image discipline'. When I've got the big camera out, and know I only have 10 exposures that will have to last all day, I am much more careful about picking a subject, composing it on the ground glass and getting the right exposure. The picture I posted above represents a short photo excursion when I was 'in the groove' with my 7x17. That morning over about a two hour period, I made six exposures. I developed the negatives that afternoon, and printed the four possible 'lookers' last night. I think two of them will interest me enough to go back and get the 'perfect' print. Two others are 'okay', but probably will get relegated to the almost-there pile. The last two were decent photos, but had technical flaws. One was blurred because of tripod shake in some wind. The other had a hot streak I got from using Rollo pyro in Jobo drums, and apparently not rocking it back and forth frequently enough during processing. I plan on going back and getting both of those photos again.

    This day was about typical. So my hit rate is about one-in-three. I don't know when the last time I got 12 good photos off of a 36 exposure roll of 35mm. That said, there are certainly instances where the big camera is out of the question and the small cameras are all that are practical. The good news is that the 'image discipline' transfers to the use of a small camera as well. Recently, I find that I will be taking a 35mm photo, and I consciously think about whether my shadows will have detail, and if the edges and corners look right in the rangefinder.

    I guess what I'm saying is that, yes, it is expensive if you shoot and print like you do with small cameras. But you won't be shooting that way. You'd be worn out if you tried.

    Happy snappies to all,

    Clay
     
  9. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    I just noticed that my previous post had quite a few 'quotations' . It's sort of irritating to 'read' a 'letter' with way too many 'quotes' in it. I 'apologize'. It always amuses me when I see 'inappropriate' quotation on business signs. What is 'Good' Food supposed to mean, really?

    'Apologetically'

    Clay
     
  10. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    Jorge,

    I don't know what "sorocco" paper is, but there are plenty of papers that give bad results. Luckily there are quite a few that work just fine with no special treatment. Watch for an article in PT next spring, but as a sneak preview, Lenox 100 and Folio, both available mail order from Stephen Kinsella paper dealers, are a pair of white and off-white sheets that print beautifully with no oxalic treatment or other extra steps. Cost is just over a dollar a sheet--22x30"--so they're also very reasonable in price. Masa is a "Japan tissue" that is much easier to handle than Bienfang and again prints fine with no extra treatments in either develop out or POP (zia) platinum/palladium.

    When a paper has a tendency to give gritty high values, most often seen in skies, but snow scenes can do it too, the situation gets worse when you add contrasting agents. With *any* paper it's best to get your contrast in the negative. I never use contrast agents, like, haven't used one on a print in years, and the reward is extradinary smooth tones throughout a long scale. Getting negatives with sufficient scale is no problem with either ordinary developers like D-76 or HC110, or with PMK pyro, though the latter is my usual choice.

    On the other topic, I'll agree with Clay that getting a first good print--even a good first print is much easier in Pt/Pd than silver, once you are making appropriate negatives. I expect to get a good "artist's proof" on the first or second sheet, usually the first. BTW, doing this is much easier if your negatives don't require contrast agents in the print...

    ---Carl
     
  11. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Hi Carl, Socorro is sold by B&S with an "advanced platinum" admonishion. I did not know advanced platinum meant crap right out of the box, now I know. Thanks to you and Clay I have a few recommendations which I will follow.

    BTW I cannot find the thread that had the phone number for Stephen Kinsella, could you please post it again?

    Never mind Carl, I found their web site. For anybody interested


    http://www.kinsellaartpapers.com/
     
  12. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    About Socorro. The rumor is that this is the same as Van Gelder Simili Japon, without the annoying watermark. If you really like the super warm tones with this paper, try COT 320 dipped in 5% oxalic and developed in potassium oxalate at a temperature greater than 110 degrees.

    Clay
     
  13. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Carl could you please tell me a little about the differences between folio and Lenox 100, I presume both are hot pressed. The catalog at SK does not mention this. If I call them and tell them I want lenox 100 the one Carl Weese uses, would they know what I am talking about?
     
  14. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    Jorge,

    Lenox and Folio are very similar--so much I wonder if they come from the same mill. Lenox is a natural white, similar to Cranes Cover Natural white, while Folio is whiter, though not as bright as paper with brighteners like Cranes flourescent white. They are nearly identical in speed and contrast with a given Pt/Pd mixture. The Folio is a little bit flimsier when wet while the Lenox is a bit stiffer and more robust, though they are the same "weight." Both handle easily. Lenox 100 is a standard sheet sold at Daniel Smith and other vendors as well, though I don't think I've seen Folio offered anywhere but Kinsella. The slight difference in base color can have a noticeable affect on some pictures. I like them both and keep them both in stock.
     
  15. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Thank you Carl, I checked the Kinsella site and their prices are great, I will try both papers.
     
  16. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jorge @ Nov 30 2002, 07:33 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Hi Carl, Socorro is sold by B&amp;S with an &quot;advanced platinum&quot; admonishion. I did not know advanced platinum meant crap right out of the box, now I know.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Jorge,

    No, no! Socorro Platinum is not crap if you treat it right. In fact, it gives some of the most beautiful smooth, warm golden brown tones of any paper I've printed on (which is a very long list!)

    From your description, your neg is much too low in contrast to make a good platinum print on just about any paper. You need to lose the ferric no. 2 ENTIRELY and some or all of the platinum. Socorro is, in fact, an alternate name for Van Gelder Simili Japon as Clay suggested. I get the best results on this paper by double-coating with 2 relatively light coats because the paper is not very absorbent as it comes from the factory.

    With the right neg and very warm (~150 degrees) potassium oxalate and double-coated with straight palladium or just a bit of platinum, you should get very smooth tones throughout the scale and a beautiful, beautiful warm color.

    Good luck,
    Kerik Kouklis
    www.kerik.com
     
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Well, darnit.....about the only thing I did not try was double coating.......I will give it a shot, with a more contrasty negative. Thanks Kerik!
     
  18. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Kerik, thank you, thank you, thank you! that double coating technique worked great, as an additional observation I tried it twice, the second time I added contrasting agent to the second coating and it also worked great.
     
  19. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jorge @ Dec 9 2002, 07:18 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Kerik, thank you, thank you, thank you! that double coating technique worked great, as an additional observation I tried it twice, the second time I added contrasting agent to the second coating and it also worked great.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Jorge,

    Glad to year that worked for you. It really is a nice paper...

    Kerik
     
  20. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Carl:

    I tried Lenox 100 with Zia and can NOT get that paper to work. I have nice, repeatable results with Cranes, but Lenox 100 seems to drink up the emulsion. Thoughts?
     
  21. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Hey Kerik since your tip I thought maybe the paper needed a stronger soak with oxalic acid, so I mixed up a batch of 4% OA, and soaked it. I got great result, beautiful smooth skies......
     
  22. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (cjarvis @ Dec 11 2002, 10:33 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    </td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Carl:

    I tried Lenox 100 with Zia and can NOT get that paper to work. I have nice, repeatable results with Cranes, but Lenox 100 seems to drink up the emulsion. Thoughts?

    I've only done a little Zia on Lenox. What I found was higher than normal contrast with lower than normal speed (not a bad thing for zia, it makes the contrast similar to develop-out) with charcoal-black neutral color. How are you coating the Lenox? It likes lots of humidity and a long period of brushing. It might do badly coated in a dry room with a tube. 65-70% humidity seems ideal. You could also try an oxalic acid pre-treatment. I don't find Lenox *needs* this, but it might help if you're having coating problems. I've found it is a bit more absorbent than, say, Platine, but just about in line with Cranes Cover in terms of drop counts. I've done an enormous amount of develop-out printing on Lenox using this coating, and the few tests I tried with zia chemicals did just fine, noting as above the relatively low speed and high contrast.
     
  23. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    Thanks for the tip, Carl. I've tried rod and brush coating, but as you suspected, I started with relatively dry paper. I'll try pre-humidifying. I will say that I do like the paper for albumen. It doesn't have the tendency to curl that Crane's has (heavier weight), and the surface is really sweet.
     
  24. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    I understand the "real" purpose of Lenox is for intaglio printing where high absorbency and high loft are desired for lots of ink density and visible embossing from the plate. It seems to resist changes in humidity, that is, it takes longer to dry it or to humidify it, but when you find the right humidity level it is a wonderfully easy to handle, forgiving paper to work with in Pt/Pd. You may want to use a first clearing bath of citric acid (2-3%) and then EDTA/sulfite: without the acid clearing you *may* see a very slight overall yellowing of the entire sheet but this seems to fix it right up.