If you neg is as contrasty as you say, I would start with only FO #1 and palladium. Leave out the No. 2 unless you need it. In the mean time, look into the other contrast control methods that have been discussed. FO #2 is not the way most people print these days due to the exact problems you're having. FO #2 is fatal to print quality on some papers, including Arches Platine. COT 320 is made by Arches and is very similar to Platine.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
As Michael suggests, a pt/pd print is not going to look like a silver print. It should have a softer, gentler tonality to it. If you're going for a high contrast Ansel Adams kind of look, stick with silver gelatin.
Here's info on using the Magic Brush from my workshop manual:
"The Magic Brush is used quite wet and very little sensiter becomes soaked into the bristles, so there is much less waste than with other brushes. To use, soak the bristles with water, then shake gently a few times. If the bristles start to separate, you?ve shaken out too much of the water. Lay down the bead of sensitizer on the right-hand side of the paper then spread it across the paper from right to left in quick, parallel strokes. Then make a series of strokes perpendicular to the first, then repeat this process until the paper is coated smoothly and the sensitizer is completely worked into the paper. The Magic Brush is so soft that it is nearly impossible to abrade the paper with it. These brushes are expensive (and are worth every penny), but with proper care will last for many years. Rinse the brush thoroughly after each print. At the end of a printing session, rinse the brush well, soak the bristles in fresh HypoClear for a few minutes then rinse with a final dip in distilled or deionized water. Dry off the metal ferrule to prevent it from rusting."
Thanks for that info Kerik...best description I have seen in writing on how to use the brush. Learning quickly that a 1 inch bursh might work fine for 4x5, but after that a 2,3,4 looks much more helpfull. Would guess this holds true for methods other than plt/pld as well?
Originally Posted by Kerik
Many many thanks all... I got some much better prints this evening. I cut the FeOx#2 in half for one print, and eliminated it altogether for a second, and got far superior results. I'll post scans when I can do them- right now the prints are drying. Just wanted to give a big thanks for everyone's helpful feedback.
I ordered two brushes, the 1" and the 2" from that Richeson manufacturer (Joes Cheap Art had the better price of the two mentioned, by about $1-2 per brush). Until then, I'll stick to single-coating with my glass puddle pusher.
Ok- here goes. I made two more prints last night, changing the amount of the restrainer. Here is the same image as last time, but with a 6:6:12 mix.
There is still graininess/blotchiness in the darker midtones, but greatly improved. I probably could have stood to let it dry even longer (this one I let air dry for about 45 mins, and hit with the cool air only setting on my blowdryer for an additional 5 mins).
Here is another image I shot at the same general location, printed with 12:0:12 mix:
(note - there is much more grain apparent in the scan than is visible in the print - Also, I tweaked the scan a tad in Photoshop to burn in the blown-out edges - it is a bad negative that shows a lot of development surge at the edges, and it's a shame, really, because it is a great scene. Next time I go back, I'll remember to re-shoot, and tray develop. Probably even bring the 8x10, so I'll have a good-sized negative to work with. )
I pulled out my B&S "Platinum and Palladium Printing Instructions" which came with the kit I ordered several years ago. The last page contains the "Contrast control Chart." You stated above that the neg prints well on silver paper between grade 0 and 1. According to the chart, the mixture for grade 0 is: 18-4-14. The mixture for grade 1 is 15-7-24 (for an 8x10 print). The mixture you initially used closer to the recommendation for a grade 4 print, 6-16-24. Apparently you are not "following their instructions."
Dick Arentz lists 6 causes of graininess in the latest edition of his book on plat. pall printing. The ones that may apply to your case are 1. Materials at too low a temperature. 2. Too much Restrainer. 5. Unsuitable paper. 6. Too much ferric Oxalate.
I would recomend starting from scratch. Review the B&S instuctions carefully. Follow them exactly to get a base print. If the problem still occurs, then start changing the variables mentioned in Arentz' book to eliminate the grain.
It is difficult or impossible to tell from the scans what the problem is. I recommend you read Arentz' book to learn more about the process. He states: "Graininess from the negative should not be confused with the granualrity found in the platinum or palladium emulsion. This can be a serious problem, to the point of degrading certain images. Methods to avoid this are covered in Chapter 7: Choosing Your Method, chapter 10: Advanced Technique, and Chapter 11: Problems."
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Ok- I'll re-read the B&S directions- either I mis-read it completely, or I got a set typed up ass-backwards. I'll look into getting the Arentz book.
Again, as I've said before, bear with me on this as this is the first time I've worked with this stuff, and all I did was order the B&S kit. I don't have a huge budget for this yet, since I am at the early stages of my learning curve, so I'm adjusting one print at a time.
Please continue to update us on your progress. I am learning an incredible amount from this one thread and I'm sure many others are as well.
ok folks- here is the latest. I think I've got a good combination of negative, chemistry and paper now, as well as improved technique.
This one is from an 8x10 neg, and the chemical mix for it is 24:0:24 (FeOx #1,FeOx#2,Pd). I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it, but I'm still unsure of how to judge exposure, especially when printing times run really long (this one was around 30 mins). I guess the next step is to take a Pt/Pd seminar.
If you are serious about Pt/pl printing, there are two must have books: "The New Platinum Print" from B&S and "Platinum and Palladium Printing," second edition, by Arentz. Start with the B&S book, it give a great overview and detailed exposure and development information. It covers all the basics in easy to understand form. Then move on to the Arentz book to fine tune and to learn more about the subtleties.