Starting point for Albumen negatives

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Jon King, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    I'm starting a project where I plan/hope to print exclusively in albumen. I've done several prints before, and I've made enlarged negatives (Lith film and LC-1 developer). I'd like to use full size (5x7) negatives for the images this time.

    I know I'll need to do a good bit of experimenting to get really good negatives, but my question is:

    I know the time, with my developing particulars, needed to develop for a good silver gelatin negative. Using the same film, developer, agitation, etc, what would experience show to be a good starting point for developing the film for albumen printing?

    The films I have to use are FP4+ or Ektapan (I have a box of 100, expired several years ago). The developers I normally use are Rodinal or Pyrocat HD. I'd happily mix up D76 or switch films if necessary, if it had a large advantage.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Figure you need about two zones more contrast for albumen than for silver, so if you've worked out Zone System processing times, your +2 time will be approximately N for albumen. I'd recommend pyro, which has a higher UV density. I use ABC, but if you're comfortable with Pyrocat HD, start with that.
     
  3. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    Thanks David. I haven't worked out Zone system times... yet. Until now, I've printed any LF negatives on VC silver paper and tweaking my roll film development times has been close enough. Time to do some testing, I think.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In that case, start with about 50% more development time for albumen, and maybe cut exposure back by 1/3 stop or so. Or you could run a test with a scene of normal brightness range and process the negs with 40%, 60%, and 80% more development times, print them all, and see what looks best. I find my best negs for albumen take a one hour exposure in indirect sunlight, 20 minutes in direct sunlight.
     
  5. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    Jon,
    How are you processing your negatives - tray development or rotary? I would urge you to stay with the Pyrocat diluted 2:2:100 in order to produce a negative of sufficient contrast to make a full scale print in the shortest amount of exposure time.
     
  6. Jon King

    Jon King Member

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    Gary,

    I'll test with Pyrocat at 2:2:100. I'm tray developing - I have picked up enough deep tanks to try that, but to date I've only used trays. If all goes well, I'll be printing albumen for my project in Bev's History class.