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  1. #1
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Recommendation for beginner - Van Dyke or Kallitype or ???

    Last year I tried my hand at cyanotypes and figured out how to do it at a basic level, but I never got too excited about the strident blue color so I let it drop. I now have some negatives that I managed to screw up in processing that are pretty darn contrasty and I am now thinking that this may be the time to think about alternate processes again. I think I want to stick to silver processes (I'm cheap and inexperienced!). What would be the best process to try out? I have a printing frame and light source already. It would be a bonus if I could use pyro developed negatives meant for silver also (probably a bit much to ask, I know!).

    Thanks -- Mark

  2. #2
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Mark,

    It was always suggested to me to start with kallitypes or van dykes, but I jumped right into palladium printing and I love it! Something to think about?
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

    blog
    website

  3. #3

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    Mark,
    I've been playing with silver contacts in 11x14 via the Michael and Paula methodology for a couple of months now and was also thinking about trying my hand at alternative printing.

    I've read here and there by some reliable APUG posters that a properly toned Kallitype comes darn close to platinum http://www.alternativephotography.co...kallitype.html. What format are you working in? If it is large this could be a factor due to chemistry cost.

    Mike A

  4. #4
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
    Last year I tried my hand at cyanotypes and figured out how to do it at a basic level, but I never got too excited about the strident blue color so I let it drop. I now have some negatives that I managed to screw up in processing that are pretty darn contrasty and I am now thinking that this may be the time to think about alternate processes again. I think I want to stick to silver processes (I'm cheap and inexperienced!). What would be the best process to try out? I have a printing frame and light source already. It would be a bonus if I could use pyro developed negatives meant for silver also (probably a bit much to ask, I know!).

    Thanks -- Mark
    Mark,

    Start with VDB prints as it is a less expensive process than making palladium or kallitype prints and also a little easier (although palladium printing isn't that difficult once you get comfortable with the process). After getting comfortable with VDB printing you can move on to palladium printing or kallitypes.

    Making VDBs will teach you a lot and you will be able to leverage your skills and apply them to other alternative processes.

    Don Bryant

  5. #5

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    The primary advantage of kallitype over VDB is that it offers the potential for extensive contrast control, just as you have with Pt./Pd. By contrast, VDB has little or no contrast control. This is a very important consideration if you are working with in-camera negatives because if the negative is not developed to the exact contrast needed for VDB you will never be able to make an optimum print. If you plan to print with digital negatives, however, you could tailor the negative very easily to fit the process.

    Both VDB and kallitype can be toned with gold, palladium or platinum. In toning the more noble metal replaces a high percentage of the silver, giving the print permanence on the order of regular Pt./Pd. prints.

    VDB prints toned with either palladium or platinum are much warmer (browner) than kallitype prints, which tend to be a warm black.

    Sandy






    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher
    Last year I tried my hand at cyanotypes and figured out how to do it at a basic level, but I never got too excited about the strident blue color so I let it drop. I now have some negatives that I managed to screw up in processing that are pretty darn contrasty and I am now thinking that this may be the time to think about alternate processes again. I think I want to stick to silver processes (I'm cheap and inexperienced!). What would be the best process to try out? I have a printing frame and light source already. It would be a bonus if I could use pyro developed negatives meant for silver also (probably a bit much to ask, I know!).

    Thanks -- Mark

  6. #6
    juan's Avatar
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    I'd second the recommendation of VDB to begin. It's a cheap way to learn to coat paper, to learn about the various available papers, and to learn about dealing with the light source. I use my negatives developed in Pyrocat HD to print normally on the last Grade 2 Azo, so your negatives may well be usable.
    juan

  7. #7

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    And what about Gum bichromates?

    I'm thinking of starting with that. It seems like an interesting process and you're not bound to any color.

    G

  8. #8
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    While you are considering which alt. process to try next, I hope you will consider Argyrotypes.

    The process affords a look similar to Kallitypes but the chemistry and the process are a little easier to deal with.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide

  9. #9
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replys. I believe I am going to try Kallitype prints at this point. Looking at Sandy's article on unblinkingeye together with Wynn White's VanDyke article, it looks like I'd probably be happy either way, though. I think I'll hold off on expensive toners until I get things dialed in a bit. I'll post my results when I get some (reasonable) prints.

  10. #10
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by argus
    And what about Gum bichromates?

    I'm thinking of starting with that. It seems like an interesting process and you're not bound to any color.

    G
    For a first alt. process it probably isn't the easiest one to start with.

    Good luck,

    Don Bryant

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