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kb3lms
05-30-2013, 02:31 PM
Hmm, that's tempting. D, uour AJ-12 image looks very nice.

I'm in the process of starting up again.

-- jason

Photo Engineer
05-30-2013, 02:47 PM
Denise;

Yes you can make AJ12 as is for what you specify, or close to it. But I wonder how much it would cost if you began to make those modification you talk about. And then average the cost overall to get the average cost per emulsion. Dont forget utilities! And, how variable are your batches?

AJ12 happens to be very sensitive to fog and temperature. So, it takes some finesse to work with it outside of the formula given.

You oversimplify. I have the experience of dozens of students who worked with me personally in a lab and classroom either alone or along with Mark Osterman and our interns, and I have literally thousands of e-mails from those students and other APUG members. I guide them all by return mail in their trials to alter this or that formula that was either taught to them, read in my book or read on-line. And I have many many personal years of lab experience.

I recommend your web site to my students with a caveat to be conservative in their interpretation of results. Indeed, you are a marvelous photographer, and you did it over years of work. Please don't think of yourself as an instant expert in emulsion making.

PE

jnanian
05-30-2013, 03:07 PM
my apologies to mark for seeming to derail his thread ...
id love to attend more than one of these teachings, but
unfortunately commitments keep me close to home ...

===

hi ron

at the risk of being argumentative ...

i think it is wonderful that you teach these classes with and without mark o at GEH
and i think it is valuable that you have feedback and experiences of "thousands of emails"
but making emulsion does not need to be that sophisticated.
it can be done in a small room by a college student who has absolutely NO emulsion making experience
at 2:15 am using a (then)80 year old recipe, no internet, no seminars, no help
.. i wish i still had prints from that emulsion i made it was OK ...
but i have moved maybe 15 times since then and some things got lost.
one does not need sophistication, one just the will to make it ...
im not saying, it wouldn't be great to have thousands of letters of feedback about everything from
making emulsion, to coating cyanotypes, to making exposures to making prints
but it doesn't need to be like that ...

this whole emulsion thing reminds me of the "mystique" around using large format camera.
people for years told me it is sooo hard, its complicated, and isn't for the faint at heart ..
i bought one and find it to be easier to use than a 35mm point and shoot.



I am pulling together the next set of web workshops, so stay tuned. Plans are to get through to ASA 100 (summer speed) ortho ("X2Ag") by the end of summer. If anyone doesn't want to wait for more tutorials, there are a lot of proven recipes on The Light Farm.

John: thanks for the support! Much appreciated.
d

MOST EXCELLENT!

my pleasure denise !
john

dwross
05-30-2013, 03:20 PM
Ron,

Are we in a competition I haven't been made aware of?

dwross
05-30-2013, 03:28 PM
Hmm, that's tempting. D, uour AJ-12 image looks very nice.

I'm in the process of starting up again.

-- jason

Great to hear! I'll keep my fingers crossed you find the time.

And speaking of finding time, the clouds here have cleared and I'm heading out for the rest of the day with d.i.y. film in a camera (and truth be told, also a digi P&S:) )
carpe diem,
d

Photo Engineer
05-30-2013, 03:47 PM
Denise, your AJ12 image is indeed very beautiful. As I said before, you are a very good photographer.

John, you are correct. Emulsions can be made very simply in a small darkroom with little equipment. Mine is 7 x 14 ft.

HOWEVER, you have to be using a cookbook emulsion, and you will not have complete instructions, and your results will differ substantially from that in the textbook. It will look good but have bad latitude, bad LIK, bad reciprocity, bad keeping and so on.. It will probably be blue sensitive and have a lot of halation depending on the image.

If you make 10 or so plates over one hour, the first plate may be ok but the last plate may be foggy and have a different speed. If you make it more than one time it may vary by one stop.

I am trying to FIX some of those problems and to warn those who might try this that they may see it but that it is NOT THEIR FAULT and IT CAN BE FIXED!!!

I hope someone out there is listening and understanding what I am trying to say.

PE

zsas
05-30-2013, 04:20 PM
I'm sure it is a wonderful product Andy, but how is it a game changer?

The Photographers Formulary has been selling photograde gelatin for years. Their current products are both from Kodak's former plant in Peabody MA.

PE

Hi - Sorry i misunderstood your comment, I thought you said something about photo grade gelatin not being attainable but then thought I saw Mirko of ADOX recently talking about this new product.

I appreciate all's comments here, nice to know there are options. Just still wonder why we've no APUG'r selling "Joe's 25 ASA" or "Sally's 25"....guess maybe all that training you all at EH have of Holmburgers might make my dream come true....


I've a bottle of Liquid Light I need to mess with....gotta start somewhere....

Photo Engineer
05-30-2013, 05:46 PM
Andy, one of the points being missed here is that photograde gelatins of the 1920s and earlier were active gelatins and came in 3 or 4 grades which controlled speed and contrast - and caused emulsions to vary a lot depending on the diet of the cows.

Modern gelatins are specially purified to give constant speed and contrast, but this speed and contrast are quite different than the one the 12920s writer intended. Generally, modern gelatins make emulsions that are up to 5 stops slower than those of the 20s and have much lower contrast. And so, AJ12 is nominally a nice long scale emulsion with an ISO of 25 or so if made with old gelatins (or made using modern methods which I teach). Without active gelatins or without modern methods, you get an ISO 1 emulsion with short latitude.

PE

Hexavalent
05-30-2013, 07:19 PM
I attended a emulsion workshop at GEH a few winters ago - it was wonderful experience.

Ron Mowrey (PE) and Mark Osterman took turns describing the history and process of silver-gelatin emulsions, and guided the attendees through the hands-on portions. It really was "plug 'n play" : Put on a labcoat, gloves and goggles, walk into the lab, and everything was ready: chemicals, glassware, hotplate/stirrer, coating rods, coating wells, paper, etc., Our freshly coated papers were hung to dry in a large room next to the lab. Stacey Vandenburgh (GEH) was invaluable in keeping everything organized and on-schedule. (As if by magic, refreshments such as coffee, tea, pastries and fruit appeared on a regular schedule). We made contact prints on our treasured paper the next day. The group was also lucky enough to view some selections from the GEH archives.

A fantastic experience!

Things were a little different when I got home: small cramped darkroom, a meagre stock of chemicals, no hotplate/stirrer, no coating blades or rods, etc., One can make a basic emulsion with a few glass jars, some silver and salts. You can simply brush it onto paper, and do a few bubbles or dust marks really matter?

So the moral of the story is: yes, a simple, pleasing emulsion can be made easily with a few basic tools. If you want to make a camera-speed, panchromatic film, with good LIK, latitude, and anti-halation, it becomes rather tricky and finicky. You want streak, dust and bubble free coatings? It gets a little more complicated. Now, let's try to do the whole thing again, with the exact same results. Ohoh, perhaps the temperature is one degree off, or it cooked for a minute longer...accuracy and control start becoming significant players. Perhaps one can claim that batch of emulsion costs only a few bucks, IF you don't include the labware, tests and trials, coating tools, hepa air filtration, scrupulous cleaning, precision weigh scales, pH meter etc., etc.,

I sometimes feel that I am cursed with the insatiable thirst to know "why and how" things happen in the emulsion kettle. Good 'old AJ-12 has undergone numerous tweaks in my 'lab': varied addition times, stepped additions, sulfur, TAI-restrained sulfer, dyes and so on. So far, I've only had a few complete failures - most emulsions have been usable and quite capable of recording an image. What I'm learning is of far greater value than the money (a few $k) into building a lab.

Should there be an opportunity to take a workshop at GEH, I would highly recommend it as a fast-track into emulsion-making with some of the best in the business being guides along the way.

A bazillion thanks to Ron (PE) for putting up with my endless questions, supplying answers and suggested reading, and providing much "hand-holding" along the way.

Photo Engineer
05-30-2013, 07:27 PM
Many thanks Ian. You are one of many that are holding my virtual hand over the internet. Mark is doing the same. Only, next week he is sailing down the Erie canal with Chris and Nick. They are doing dry plate (IIRC) and supplying period music with banjo, mouth organ, washtub and guitar. Knowing my limits, I am staying out of this workshop! :D

Best wishes to al.

PE

jnanian
05-30-2013, 07:41 PM
hi ron

i think it is collodion tintypes they are making.
i looked at that workshop, it looked like lots and lots of fun.
one of these days, i gotta break the chains of my bondage and head to rochester !

have a nice night
( playing boil them cabbage down on his lap dulcimer )
john

Prof_Pixel
05-30-2013, 07:44 PM
Oy! Ron,

Yuh just gotta stop saying stuff like this. People take you seriously and at your word, but they shouldn't. I just can't figure out why you want to make things seem so hard. But, words are only words.


It certainly is possible to make a usable emulsion with minimum fuss and bother. However, making reproducible emulsions with exactly the same properties day after day and year after year is NOT easy. I've known Ron for over 40 years. What he is trying to do is develop workable manufacturing processes/formulas that produce reproducible 'do it yourself' results time after time. That's what he did at Kodak.

Hexavalent
05-30-2013, 07:47 PM
Many thanks Ian. You are one of many that are holding my virtual hand over the internet. Mark is doing the same. Only, next week he is sailing down the Erie canal with Chris and Nick. They are doing dry plate (IIRC) and supplying period music with banjo, mouth organ, washtub and guitar. Knowing my limits, I am staying out of this workshop! :D

Best wishes to al.

PE

Let me guess... your accordion is in for repairs, so you can't participate. :D

Photo Engineer
05-30-2013, 11:36 PM
Ian, my wife is the dulcimer person. I am violin! My violin is out of tune and practice. I would love to learn from Mark, but we have little time to digress from our core silver gelatin when we meet, as you know when you join us. BTW, this will not be next wee! ::

Fred, many thanks. I appreciate the comments.

Oh, BTW, I get very seasick.

PE

Hexavalent
05-31-2013, 11:16 AM
..... A simple published formula such as AJ-12, published here on APUG cannot be tinkered with unless you know a lot about what you are doing or have some expect backup. This is a Kodak formula, but one that can only be made exactly as written.

PE

If I can add another 2 cents - even the AJ-12 formula, which is fairly explicit in detail (compared to many other 'old' formulae), contains some fuzzy areas such as "Heat the emulsion to 15 minutes at 130 F (55 C) for further ripening; then slowly cool it to 104 F (40 C)." How long is "slowly cool"? 5 minutes? An hour? All the while, there is activity in the kettle which will affect the final result. Another, but not so critical item: "Soak 1 ounce 180 grains (40 grams) of gelatin in cold water until it is thoroughly softened. Pour off excess water ". What is 'thoroughly softened'? How much water should the gelatin absorb? Similarly, the noodling/washing procedure does not specify temperate, or what kind of water (tap water, distilled, DI). As I have learned, overwashing can ruin an emulsion, by diluting it and/or rendering it unstable.

Can such a formula be followed exactly as written? The formula part: almost. The procedure: kinda. Frequently one encounters frustratingly vague phrases like "in a manner familiar to one practiced in the art". Whatever one's interpretation of the 'grey areas' of a procedure, it's good policy to aim for a manageable and reproducible set of parameters. i.e. always use the same water, use a chill bath instead of "slowly cool", and do it the same way every time.

Fortunately, the home emulsion-maker is not likely to be growing t-grains, or using complex dopants, so there is a fair amount of wiggle room in procedure that will still yield a pleasantly usable brew. The magic of seeing a home-brewed and coated glass plate is nothing short of thrilling!

Bob Carnie
05-31-2013, 12:11 PM
We have a decent setup here in Toronto for work. How hard would it be to make a consistent emulsion on rag paper?

Ron I am specifically thinking the wonderful samples you showed me that IMO looked like an Extalure Print on a lovely watercolour paper.

I do plan to do the workshop with Paulette as soon as we can.

Bob

kb3lms
05-31-2013, 12:51 PM
A bazillion thanks to Ron (PE) for putting up with my endless questions, supplying answers and suggested reading, and providing much "hand-holding" along the way.

Double-dittos to that!

The good news about emulsion making is that even with basic tools and materials there isn't that much reason not to try if you are interested. Sure, you don't get perfection and absolute reproducibility might not be possible but you CAN make something that will work, experience the process and get an appreciation for what people like Ron and Fred and others have done for all of us over the years. As Ron gets closer to the goals he is pursuing we all benefit.

And you can get the pride and satisfaction of "I made it myself." As long as you are careful and observe common sense precautions, even if you do totally mess up a batch, you're out some time and money but probably not more than that. Denise's web site, The Light Farm, is great in the encouragement it provides to go out and try and she provides a lot of great information. I don't think anyone pretends that they can use what they find there to go out and start making salable products. Growing T-Grains in your basement is another matter entirely.

John: I definitely get the "chains of bondage" thing.

-- Jason

Photo Engineer
05-31-2013, 12:53 PM
Ian, thanks for putting things in the perspective of one who has BTDT with a "good" formula published by EK no less.

Bob, using Ian's example, we will leave nothing to question. We give precise instructions with which you can repeat the emulsion so exactly that you can blend batches with no deviation in speed or contrast.

PE

Bob Carnie
05-31-2013, 01:33 PM
I look forward to visiting Rochester again and rubbing shoulders.

I also am negotiating a much larger group to visit for a few days and am speaking to Mark O about this.
I will keep you in the loop.

Ian, thanks for putting things in the perspective of one who has BTDT with a "good" formula published by EK no less.

Bob, using Ian's example, we will leave nothing to question. We give precise instructions with which you can repeat the emulsion so exactly that you can blend batches with no deviation in speed or contrast.

PE

Photo Engineer
05-31-2013, 03:20 PM
Well, this coming week, I said that Mark will be on the Eerie Canal! :D

He is going to be exhausted after class every day and at the end of the week.

See you soon.