Van Dyke troubles

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by DrPablo, May 11, 2007.

  1. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I've just started doing some Van Dyke prints, and I'm having all kinds of problems. The most annoying is that in the shadows, I don't get a deep rich brown -- I get this shimmering metallic silver. It appears in the darkest border areas during exposure, and then throughout the print once it has dried.
     
  2. Brook

    Brook Member

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    Its solarization from overexposure in printing. Back off on the exposure.
     
  3. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    Thanks, Brook.

    I have some fairly dense negatives that have required very long exposures to get any highlight detail (including one 8-hour exposure under four blacklight bulbs). I'm just not sure how to expose long enough to get a detailed print, yet avoid this effect.
     
  4. Brook

    Brook Member

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    I had the same kind of problems when I was using really dense negs I thought I needed for azo. I had to abandon some of these negs when I realized I would never get good prints out of them. If the solarization is not too extreme, palladium toning can reverse some of the solarization, but here I would mask the negs so as not to waste a lot of expensive toner on the borders.

    Depending on what paper you use, double coating may help. I setteled on Arches Platine just to avoid a variable.
     
  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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    There is really nothing you can do to prevent solarization in VDB with this type of negative. As mentioned, toning with palladium ir platinum may reverse, at least partially so, the solarization. You could also reduce the negatives.

    Sandy King
     
  6. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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    I'm sure someone will be along shortly with a cross, hammer, and nails, but have you considered making digital negs with curve corrections applied? There's sticking to form and there's actually making the image you want...
     
  7. buze

    buze Member

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    Solarisation can also happen if you overcoat the paper.. had that on some of my few first prints when I was experimented with double coating.

    And you can reverse some of the effect with just a quick dunk into a very, very, VERY weak selenium.
     
  8. Clay2

    Clay2 Member

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  9. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Good idea! In the real world I might have suggested the same.

    But to avoid certain crucification for these thoughts you should take them to the hybrid forum. http://www.hybridphoto.com/forums/

    Sandy King
     
  10. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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    I have had impure thoughts, I have--this is just so hard for me to say--SCANNED my film... am I beyond redemption?
     
  11. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I haven't gone the digital neg route for lack of a printer, as well as disinterest in paying what it costs from some commercial services. None of the pro printing labs in Boston will print on transparencies anyway.

    I have, I'm sure, been overcoating the paper. I've taken this from my experience with cyanotypes, where I get much denser shadows if I use 3 or more coats.

    I'd assumed that since VD has a very long tonal scale, it would be amenable to high contrast negatives. The difference with cyanotype, though, is it seems I can't expose the VD for long enough to get highlight detail and still have non-solarized shadows.
     
  12. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I really think that coporal mortification is called for in this case!:smile:
     
  13. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    VDB does take a long scale negative. However, if the film is overexposed causing dense shadow areas in the film, and/or overdeveloped causing too dense highlights, the longer printing exposures will cause problems.
     
  14. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    I'm glad I read this thread; I've had the same problem. I'm kind of disentangling all the variables right now to figure out which result is from which problem (paper was one issue which I had confused with all the other issues).