I have been waiting to build my new darkroom (remodeling other parts of my house were a priority). In the meantime I have been researching various "looks" produced by different procedures. I settled on the staining approach because of the apparent ease of printing.(less burning and dodging etc.) as well as the "look" I am seeking.
I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row so I can hit the ground running with a plan in place. My darkroom has been out of commission for a while, so it has given me a opportunity to reflect and decide to go in a direction I can devote some time to and explore. I don't expect to find staining as a magic bullet but an integral piece of the puzzle. I also am weighing the risks and benefits. There are as many ways of producing an image as there are opinions on these forums. That's part of what makes our pursuits so appealling. At this point I see no reason not to go ahead with the staining approach. Thanks all for your input...Dennis
I have two small kids and have to all processing in the bathroom. I had some worries about the pyro as well. After posing the question here I took the responses to a chemist and he agreed wiht what Sandy and others on this forum wrote.
Get the premixed kind or use a mask and mix it where there is a heck of a lot of ventalation (i.e use common sense)
clean any spills before they dry. (common sense)
use gloves when you develope to avoid the possibility of getting it in broken skin. (common sense)
Never leave any chemicals at baby height (common sense)
So I decided that if I used common sense I would be fine.
After using it for a while I decided that the pyro made getting a usable neg for POP printing was easier than getting one with a non staining developer. Especially since I was using a film that did not react well to increased development. Who knows. I could be full of crap and the pyro amke no difference what so ever but I use it any way.
I already wear glasses. So where does that leave me??
Originally Posted by ernie51
Well Kirk, I looked at your web site and I guess there are some that don't have to make that trade....they are already there.........Dennis
As has been said many times, a little common sense goes a long way.
As for developers, If you want to save a little money, roll your own; for convenience buy the ready made version.
I've been using pyro for almost a year now. At first, I was terribly afraid of getting poisoned by this toxic substance. However, I learned that by exercising a modicum of common sense, you can ameliorate much of the safety issues it can present to you. In addition, I personally believe that the hazards of pyro are somewhat exaggerated, at least when compared to other photochemistry and photochemicals that people interact with on a daily basis.
Indeed common sense is called for as is basic safety precautions.
I've been mixing my own PMK pyro for a number of years and more recently Pyrocat-HD. I take the precaution of wearing nitrile gloves (little more durable then standard latex). It is also considered prudent to wear eye protection and a dust mask when mixing toxic dry powders, in case they become airborne.
Take your time when mixing chemicals, be as accurate as is humanly possible and also stand up while doing so, never sit down. As a laboratory technician for 40 years, sitting down while mixing chemicals was considered a cardinal sin. If I saw any of my subordinates doing so I certainly pointed this out to them.:mad:
Sorry for the mini-lecture but old habits die hard:)
I strongly believe that the penalty for a healthy lifestyle is your bankrupted kids changing your diapers!!!:p Try it, see if you like it and make it another arrow in your quiver. Priorities Ernie - your life or your art!!:D
On Jovo's point, I actually think materials can make you a better photographer. The difference between a "good" and "great" image is subtleties and the materials, or their combination, can add subtleties to your performance that enable you to better express yourself. That's not to say that materials obviate the need for creative vision - it's just that you have new means to better convey that vision. Good photography, like any other art form, requires both art and craft. I've seen many boring, technically perfect photographs - I've also seen many well-seen photographs that were ruined by poor execution.
I have done a lot of soul searching and decided my images were lacking a certain emotion I am trying to convey. I am willing to go in a slightly different direction by using the staining approach along with some further manipulation to achieve a subtle but significant change in my images. How many times have you viewed and image that was good but not great. Usually it's the inability of the photographer to evoke a feeling or emotion because there is something missing. That's where I am at, and it is extremely frustrating. I think now I have all the elements in place to produce some powerful images. Sometimes it's necessary to find the proper vehicle to carry your voice. What started as a question here of chemical safety has turned into a way to justify going in a new direction. I appreciate the therapist present here to help analyze my approach. Certainly using "common sense" can make this method safe and viable.
Yes, to a degree I think that's true. If exceptional clarity and detail is part of the aesthetic you're trying to accomplish, then razor sharp lenses will certainly be better than less sharp ones, as will, perhaps a yet larger negative. OTOH, if lugging around an 8x10 camera makes it less likely that you'll be mobile enough to get what you're after, then there's been a tradeoff that isn't helping. I have yet to see a print from a stained negative that I thought warranted the effort....in fact, I've found such prints to be less brilliant and interesting....but that's my aesthetic at work.
Originally Posted by BobNewYork