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Thread: Vandyke Brown

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    vintagepics's Avatar
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    Vandyke Brown

    Today I produced two of my first VDBs. I am using no contrast control just trying to get the hang of it. My first image turned out very nice, and even darkened a bit when placed in the fixer. The second image place in the same fixer bleached out in a matter of seconds. I am using a 10% Sodium Thio. Why would the first image darken, and the next one bleach? The only thing I did different was the amount of exposure. The first image was exposed for about 4 min, and the second for only about two since the calotype neg was a bit thinner.

    ???
    Rick Lanning
    Retired Crime Scene Photog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagepics View Post
    Today I produced two of my first VDBs. I am using no contrast control just trying to get the hang of it. My first image turned out very nice, and even darkened a bit when placed in the fixer. The second image place in the same fixer bleached out in a matter of seconds. I am using a 10% Sodium Thio. Why would the first image darken, and the next one bleach? The only thing I did different was the amount of exposure. The first image was exposed for about 4 min, and the second for only about two since the calotype neg was a bit thinner.

    ???
    That sounds very strange. Firstly your Sodium Thiosuphite solution is too strong, try 2%. But perhaps if you can say more about your entire process steps we can help.

    “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

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    vintagepics's Avatar
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    From the book of Alternative Photographic Processes:

    27g Ferric ammonium citrate
    100 ml distilled water

    4.5g tartaric acid
    100 ml distilled water

    12g silver nitrate
    100 ml distilled water

    10% Sodium thio, which I will reduce to 2% next time. I had it left over from some calotypes I was working on.
    Rick Lanning
    Retired Crime Scene Photog.

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    cliveh's Avatar
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    But can you describe your process steps?

    “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

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    vintagepics's Avatar
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    Sorry,,,,,,

    Mix the first 100ml into the next, than into the third. I let the bottle sit in the fridge for about a week. I brush on two thin layers of solution, then dry. Expose for about 4 min in direct sun, wash in running water for several min, then fix for 10 min. Last I wash in running water for about anther 10 min and dry.
    Rick Lanning
    Retired Crime Scene Photog.

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    cliveh's Avatar
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    Wash for about 5 minutes in a borax solution (about 2 tablespoonfulls in 20 litres of water) You are fixing for far too long. Two minutes is sufficient. You may also try adding a 10% ammonia solution to your fixer bath.

    “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

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    vintagepics's Avatar
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    Would the borax wash be before the fix?
    Rick Lanning
    Retired Crime Scene Photog.

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    Herzeleid's Avatar
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    10 minutes in fixer sounds long to me. I do 2-3 mins for VDB. I don't have the book of C. James with me here, but I recall adding sodium carbonate to fixer, ammonia would do the same I guess.

    A related forum thread is here http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/1...es-fixing.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagepics View Post
    Would the borax wash be before the fix?
    Yes, but wash for about 5 minutes after and before fix. Fix for 2 minutes max and then wash for at least 20 minutes. let me know how you got on.

    “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

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    I wouldn't recommend washing the print with Borax before fixing. If anything you would want the wash to be slightly acidic. C. James recommends adding a "pinch" of citric acid to the first 5 minute wash, running water for a second 2 minute wash and then either toning and fixing with a 3% ST fix for 1 to 1.5 minutes in that order, or straight to the fixer for 1 to 1.5 minutes - both followed by a final wash. I interject a 2 minute sodium sulfite bath before the final wash. Either way you should see a substantial "pop" in the fixer or in the toning stage. At least that's has been my experience.

    If your first print turned out well and the second one didn't, then that implies that there was something amiss with how you either processed the 2d print or with the exposure (negative and print).

    Thomas

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