Which process to start with?
Hi, I am new to all alt processes. I have alway been very fascinated with many of the alternative process. So earlier this month i started on my UV box. Now that I have completed building by UV Box, I feel I am ready to get started exploring this area of photography.
So my question now is, what is the the best alternative process for a newbie to get stared with?
cyanotype is a very forgiving process to begin with. the chemistry is fairly straight-forward, inexpensive and there are plenty of options for experimenting. the ability to expose by inspection provides a nice 'security blanket'.
Cyanotypes are easy and cheap- however, like many alt processes, you really need to tailor your negative to the Cyanotype process if you want to produce a good image in this medium. For something a little easier to visualize the result, I'd suggest something like Van Dyke Brown. I think a wider range of original images will work in Van Dyke than will work in Cyanotype, just because of the strong blue color not lending itself to as many subjects.
I got my start with platinum/palladium as an alt process. The only thing really difficult is the price tag. If you can bear to spend the money, and are willing/able to be careful with your materials, you'll do just fine with pt/pd. The controls are fairly simple, but can yield an infinite variation in tones and textures.
I would second starting with cyanotype. My favorite paper for cyanotypes is Strathmore Drawing 400. Also, cyanotype solution lasts for a long while. I've had mine for about three years and it still works fine. I've recently started printing van dykes, although my success with these isn't so great. Beautiful when they do come out right though.
Start with the process you're most interested in. If you want to do pt/pd and value your time, don't bother with Cyanos. If you print with all palladium or mostly palladium, the cost is really very reasonable. You can practice coating paper using water with a little food coloring added.
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I shoot mainly landscapes. So, I was thinking I might start with Van Dykes. I think that process would suit my images quite well. I would love to get into platinum/palladium prints but the price is a bit too much for me right now. But I do hope to get into platinum/palladium prints once my finance allow it.
I'm with Kerik. What gives you the results you like most? Before I started alternative processes, I'd seen a lot of Van Dyke/Argyrotype/silver-iron prints I liked; some salt print and platinum; and comparatively few cyanotypes or gum bichromates. So I put more effort into the processes I liked most.
Then there's POP, which I regard as barely alternative at all, and love.
Color seems to be an alternative process around here.
You could get the identical look of pallaidum with palladium toned kallitype. Whenever I travel with images I take a couple of comparative prints made with both processes, using the same negative, and there is no one to tell them apart.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
Pros and Cons?
Stability -- About same both way. When you tone a kallitype with palladium you replace a very high percentage of the silver metal in the image with palladium metal, so the end result is virtually identical in composition, regardless of how you begin the process. If you have any doubt about this, just bleach a kallitype toned with pallaidum and see what happens.
Ease of Operation -- Slight advantage to palladium because of fewer steps, but since kallitype prints faster there will be an advantage of total time of processing with some negatives.
Cost -- Can vary at lot, depending on choice of paper and quanity of purchase of pallaidum metal. However, by in my experience, giving every advantage to palladium, a palladium toned kallitype on most paper surfaces will cost only 1/4 to 1/2 of a straight pallaidum. And I am basing this cost on purchase of palladium metal in quantity, which I do, so that metal prices are rock bottom.
But this is not an either/or situation. Basiclally, since straight pallaidium and pallaidum toned kallitypes are virtually identical, and the materials and methods also virtually identical, beginning with kallitype is a very valid way to learn to make pallaidum prints at a much lower entry rate than if you start with straight pallaidum. The papers you use are the same, method of coating is the same, effects of temperature and humidity the same, etc. etc. etc.
And eventually, even if choose to make only straight palladium prints for sell or exhibition, you can use palladium toned kallitype to proof at much lower cost. This really makes a lot of sense with large prints.
Last edited by sanking; 07-08-2006 at 04:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I really like Ziatypes. The kit is cheap enough and the look can be changed from warm to cold and you can get split tones. I prefer using the sun as a UV source which works here in FL as I can even burn in and dodge my prints. Humidity needs to be controlled, but so does temps in standard developing so it's doable and not that bad unless your in the desert. Post processing is stupid simple. Water to stop development, citric acid to clear, water to rinse. Matched prints would be hard, but everything Zia is a real one off.