VDB and variations in tone and warmth; stumped!

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Phillip P. Dimor, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I'm using the Photographers Formulary VDB kit and am experiencing some shifts in image tone. I'm pretty lost at this point, the only thing I can think of is that my fixer is exhausted..

    Crane's Kid Finish Ecru White, unsized
    I'm using per 4x6 print;
    2 coats of VDB sensitizer, about 0.5ml per coat
    2 drops of 3% Potassium Dichromate
    1 to 2 drops of glycerine to aid with paper coating

    Now, i've tried it with and without glycerine and the results are the same, except that my paper dries much more evenly.

    I expose the paper using the sun. I develop the paper with a small splash of acetic acid (don't have citric, well.. except for lemon juice??) in the water.
    I generally wash for about 3 to 5 minutes.

    My fixer, well.. At first I was using the fixer straight and I soon found that my prints were reducing themselves. I had better results once I diluted the fixer to about 1:10 i'm guessing. My prints change color after about 1 minute or so but I keep it in there for about 3 to 5 minutes.

    I then wash again for about 10 minutes.

    Even when I seemingly don't change anything, two prints exposed for nearly identical times will turn out either reddish-orange or dark-grey brown.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    -phil
     
  2. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Phil,

    First try printing without the dichromate. It is a silver bleach and I've never had any success with it. It reduces the image although some sources suggest using it as a means of contrast control. I don't like what it does.

    Second, your fixer should be 2% plain hypo, two fixes with just enough solution to cover the print used for about 1.5 minutes each. Dump the first then recycle the second as the first fix with the next print, and so on.

    Third, heat may cause shifts in image color with VDB. You aren't force drying your prints with heated air or a drymount press are you?

    I would also suggest gold toning the prints in Clerc's gold-toner formula.

    See White's excellent article on unblinkingeye.com for the directions. Also, about a month or two ago I posted some toned image examples in a previous APUG thread on VDBs. You may wish to search for that thread and see the various contributions by myself and others.

    joe
     
  3. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I air dry with no heat..
    Perhaps the heat from the sun?
    I will also try it without the potassium dichromate.

    When you say plain hypo, do you mean the same as.. say, Kodak Hypo clearing?
     
  4. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Oh no. I mean plain sodium thiosulfate for the fixer. The old name for sodium thiosulfate was "hyposulfite of soda" hence the nick "hypo."

    Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent is a fixer remover, a clearing agent compounded largely of sodium sulfite. I do use HCA after the fixer though when I print any silverprint process including VDB.

    Joe
     
  5. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I tried printing a few today without the Potassium Dichromate. I use the sun as my UV exposure source and today was much more chilly than it has been in the past.

    Well, all my prints came out an absolutely beautiful dark brown. They all printed out in about 2 minutes which is much faster than i've experienced in the past.

    I believe the heat from the sun was the culprit as far as my orange-brown tones are concerned. I'm loving this process and am having a blast!
     
  6. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Philip,

    The abscence of dichromate may have something to do with it also as it could reduce the sensitivity of the sensitiser.

    In the long run you will be better off using a UV light source to ensure consistent results.

    Good luck,

    Don Bryant