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  1. #1
    Herzeleid's Avatar
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    Salt Print - Newbie Question

    I have done a few experiments with salt print. So far so good everything seems fine. I can have decent prints no more darkening or bad brush strokes after switching to glass rod coating.
    I am using the formula from Christopher James' book:
    1000ml water
    8 gr gelatin
    20 gr sodium chloride
    18 gr sodium citrate

    and %10 percent silver nitrate solution.

    But

    I want a bit of more contrast, without turning to potassium dichromate option for now.
    In the book it is mentioned that decreasing the sodium citrate or eliminating all together will increase contrast.

    Which way I should go? Do you add sodium citrate at all? Or do you prefer lesser amount of sodium citrate.
    What is your opinion I wanted to know before I start wasting precious silver nitrate
    Oh and btw I would really like to have more reddish purplish tones, any tips?

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    My only advise (I have only made a few salt prints), is to expose and develop your negatives for the process you are using. If you need more contrast in your prints, get more contrast in your negatives.

    Most processes have ways to adjust the contrast, but often it comes at a cost. For example if one is using Potassium chlorate to boost contrast for platinum/palladium prints, it works fine until you need to boost contrast so high that the amount of Potassium chlorate starts to cause grainy images.

    I believe fine-tuning one's negatives for a particular process is the best way to go.

    Have fun!

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    Vaughn is correct. The only appropriate way to get more contrast in a salt print is to get it in the negative. This process requires more contrast in the negative than any other. The 1840's paper negative that I printed for MoPA a few years ago had greater contrast than any I film negative I have seen other than those made with lith film.
    You don't mention your film or developer. You must use a film in the 100-125 ISO range, or slower. Even some of these will not produce the maximum contrast required. Efke 100 is an example of a film in this range which will give you what you need. I use either FP4+ or lith film in camera.
    You need to use an active developer. Although I don't use it, HC110 at a dilution of 1+4 from stock should work if you use the times recommended for 1+7 dilution. It will get you close,but time may still need to be increased for the ultimate negatives for this process. ABC, Pyrocat HD, W2D2 all work well, as will your print developer.
    So there are a lot of choices from which to choose. Make a choice or two and make tests.
    Before I am asked, I do not recommend development times and temperatures because I don't know how individuals meter for exposure, agitate during development, etc
    Good luck.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  4. #4
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    Correction:
    That sentence should read Efke 100 is an example of a film which WILL NOTGIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEED!
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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    Serdar, not exactly an answer to your actual question but I still wanted to mention: I remember reading somewhere (could be Reilly's The Albumen and Salted Paper Book - full of useful information...) that the silver solution's strength should be about 6x of your salt solution - I mean for best results... I think you can use a 12% silver solution; more silver -> stronger / darker and contrasty (in terms of print's dynamic range) images...

    I have little to add to Jim's comment: I personally use Pyrocat-MC (mixed it myself, you don't necessarily have to mail order it...), this developer is capable of giving strongly UV blocking negatives and lots of exposure scale. (10-12 stops...) Definitely try it! Also, FP4+ is great for strong / dense / contrasty negatives. (If you're using film negatives that is...)

    BTW, don't be intimidated of silver prices, the real cost lies in paper, not silver!

    As a last note: Definitely try gold-thiourea toning, untoned salt prints are kinda thin skinned / pretty vulnerable to atmospheric pollutants. (You'll get neutral / colder tones though. But a much more robust image: both in terms of longevity and dmax...)

    What film / developer / paper do you use? (The more information you provide the more feedback you'll get...)

    Regards,
    Loris.

    (Bol sans diliyorum...)
    Last edited by Loris Medici; 03-24-2012 at 06:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    If you want a true historic answer related to Talbots original salt prints (photogenic drawings), contrast is not inherent in this process. If you use his original formulation and dry in darkness, a scan can provide what you may be looking for. But then some people on this site will probably say that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    If you want a true historic answer related to Talbots original salt prints (photogenic drawings), contrast is not inherent in this process. If you use his original formulation and dry in darkness, a scan can provide what you may be looking for. But then people on this site will probably say that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
    hi clivehL

    i know you know what you are talking about, and would love to read talbot's writings related to his original salt prints.
    can you tell me if they are available to read online ?


    many thanks !
    john

  8. #8
    Herzeleid's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone

    I should have given more info on negative, unfortunately I am not shooting film for the prints. (I really wish I could but not for now).
    I am using acetate transparencies for printing, and I was guessing there is a limit to the density that I can reach with transparencies
    so I should first fiddle with formula.

  9. #9
    Herzeleid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loris Medici View Post
    Serdar, not exactly an answer to your actual question but I still wanted to mention: I remember reading somewhere (could be Reilly's The Albumen and Salted Paper Book - full of useful information...) that the silver solution's strength should be about 6x of your salt solution - I mean for best results... I think you can use a 12% silver solution; more silver -> stronger / darker and contrasty (in terms of print's dynamic range) images...

    I have little to add to Jim's comment: I personally use Pyrocat-MC (mixed it myself, you don't necessarily have to mail order it...), this developer is capable of giving strongly UV blocking negatives and lots of exposure scale. (10-12 stops...) Definitely try it! Also, FP4+ is great for strong / dense / contrasty negatives. (If you're using film negatives that is...)

    BTW, don't be intimidated of silver prices, the real cost lies in paper, not silver!

    As a last note: Definitely try gold-thiourea toning, untoned salt prints are kinda thin skinned / pretty vulnerable to atmospheric pollutants. (You'll get neutral / colder tones though. But a much more robust image: both in terms of longevity and dmax...)

    What film / developer / paper do you use? (The more information you provide the more feedback you'll get...)

    Regards,
    Loris.

    (Bol sans diliyorum...)
    Hi Loris,

    Unfortunately for now I am using transparencies for my thesis project. They are ok with VDB and cyanotype, but salt is new I still need to experiment and optimize.
    And I am not getting the perfect transparencies, I am content with the flaws and imperfections, because it fits the project.

    I looked for gold-thiourea at the chemist shop but can't seem to find it may be there is another name for it?
    And I am also considering waxing prints but it is not decided yet.

    About the paper I am using Canson Montval for all of the processes.

    Thanks again
    Serdar

  10. #10

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    Serdar,

    See the toner formula given in this article. (It works with all silver / iron-silver alt. processes...)

    You'll need gold chloride (or potassium gold chloride - that's what I use...), thiourea, sodium chloride (kosher table salt w/o any additive...) and tartaric acid in order to compound the toner.

    Regards,
    Loris.

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