Van Dyke it is

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Wayne, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    I decided to start out with VDB rather than kallitype, to make it easier on myself.

    Question: must the prints be developed immediately after exposure, or can it wait a few hours?

    Wayne
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Wayne -

    I am trying to learn the VDB process. My experience so far is that you definitely want to process immediately.

    I have found that the process is rather erratic - so much so that I can't depend on getting a good print each time. Therefore, I need to process each print before deciding what I need to change before I attempt the next print.

    My practice has been to coat several sheets of paper early in the morning, and then go back for a second application late morning. That gives me several hours for the paper to dry thoroughly before I start printing/processing in the afternoon.

    I have also found that the process is VERY sensitive to the paper being using, and switching papers makes a really big difference in the quality of the final image. I initially started with relatively smooth water pads, then bristol illustration paper, and finally hot press mould-made watercolor sheets. I'll know better in a couple of hours how that works.
     
  3. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Thing is, I am using the sun for the time being and I cant do the processing until evening. So I'd like to expose at 4-5 pm and develop at about 7.
     
  4. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    That's - - - a problem.

    I've heard that it's possible to keep sensitized paper for a day or so. In that case, it should also be possible to defer processing. On the other hand, the experience I had with cyanotype many years ago was that the sensitized paper would gradually "self process" over time, and if I didn't expose it an print on it within a few hours, it would gradually fog.

    But - - given your constraints - I guess that thing to do is try it and see what happens.

    By the way - some feedback on this afternoon's printing session - I coated five small sheets of paper this morning (Arches HP watercolor paper) - I was generally quite pleased with the way it printed, but I found that it was much slower than the last paper I experimented with. So be it - that's a variable.

    Of course, the best print happens to be on the sheet that has the watermark - and until it dries I won't know whether it will be a "keeper". I like to mask my negatives to eliminate that dark border, and on two sheets the negative had slipped against the mask (a sheet of black plastic), leaving a very narrow black line on one edge of the image. One sheet has a distinct printing flaw - fortunately, I think I caused that by being lazy and trying to squeeze two sheets into my contact frame at one time. And then there is the one sheet that I printed with a different negative - the negative that includes the clock face in the scene - and that I inadvertantly printed backwards.


    Oh well, it's a learning process.
     
  5. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    VDB coated paper will self develop even if left in the dark too long.

    I have found sheets that I've coated hidden in drawers weeks to months after they'd been coated, and they had all started to fog significantly.

    FWIW....
     
  6. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    After working out my exposure/development formula, to make multiple prints I coat multiple sheets of paper, let them all dry, then expose all of them, then develop all of them. Each process probably takes a couple of hours, so I'd say yes, you can expose VDB then develop a few (but only a few) hours later.
    juan
     
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    I did my first VDB last night, and it sat for 2.5 hours before developing. Unfortunately I didnt look closely enough at it when I pulled it from the frame and stuck it in a dark box, so I couldnt say if anything happened between then and development. I will say that for my first VDB I was pretty impressed with my skill. It looked like my exposure was pretty good for the first tme (10 minutes in sun), and I loved the medium brown color. Until, of course, it dried, and now its way too dark and I dont care for the color nearly as much either. I guess you havent seen drydown until you've seen VDB drydown, huh? Live and learn, it certainly could have been much worse.

    Could I stick it back in the fix to lighten it, if I were so inclined? (and I'm not sure I am...)


    Wayne
     
  8. kevin klein

    kevin klein Member

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    Difrent Paper

    I found that using other papers makes a big difrence in albumen printing. The Strathmore 500 prints much slower than Southworth 4 star 25% cotton ledger paper. Although its only 25%cotton it still has a superior printing capability, it is thin like any index paper and has somewhat poor wet strength and dries kind of rumpply.
     
  9. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    Cranes Kid Finish Ecru White is the best i've found.. Strathmore 500 drawing (or is it 400?) doesn't work so well, but it's great with cyanotypes.

    I like using a drop of glycerin with the sensitizer, brushing it on with a flat damp watercolor brush. Seems to help with some papers, but the Crane's doesn't need it so much.