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  1. #1

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    Kallitypes - blurry/grainy

    I recently printed several kallitypes from old negatives. I have also printed these as palladium prints. As best I can tell all variables are the same. I am using the same light source, the same paper (Stonehenge Rising), the same contact printing frame, the same water, etc. However, looking at the kallitypes beside the palladium prints I am struck by how much sharper the palladium prints are. The are really nice; the kallitypes appear blurry and grainy.

    For the kallitypes I use 20% sodium citrate as a developer, 3% citric acid as a clearing agent then tone in platinum before fixing.

    I would guess that the paper was the problem but for the fact that Sandy King and others have often written that Stonehenge Rising is a nice paper for kallitypes. The paper has been sitting around for a few years and it has been very humid here, so who knows.

    I was wondering if anyone else had observed this phenomenon and come up with an explanation or solution?

    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. #2

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    Did you tone the kallitypes, or when exactly did you notice their faults?

    How dry was the paper when you exposed it? How did the printout look?

    how did the sensitizer look when you coated it?

  3. #3

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    Lukas,

    The coated paper looked fine -- evenly distributed, nice light yellow color. It did occur to me that I have not printed in a while and the silver nitrate solution I have been using is a couple of years old. However, it has been stored in an amber bottle in a very dark corner and it is as clear as water, so I think this part of the process is ok. The ferric oxalate is a month or so old.

    The printout (that is, the visible latent image before development) seemed pretty sharp, but then again, it is hard to say given that it is so faint.

    The paper was as dry as it was going to get when I exposed it. I am working in the basement, which is pretty damp given the hot humid weather and rain we have been having in the Northeast. It certainly was not so damp that the negatives stuck to it. But is was not as dry as it would have been in December. I have no idea what time of year I printed the palladium images. I guess I could try drying the paper in a less humid location.

    Yes, I did tone the kallitypes using a platinum toner.

    I really did not notice how grainy/blurry they were until I put them next to the palladium prints.

    The paper seems to be the most likely culprit, so I may start there.

    -Paul


    Quote Originally Posted by Lukas Werth
    Did you tone the kallitypes, or when exactly did you notice their faults?

    How dry was the paper when you exposed it? How did the printout look?

    how did the sensitizer look when you coated it?

  4. #4

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    Having not done pure palladium prints before but having done some kallitypes I wonder if (without knowing) your paper is in the solutions for a longer period time when going through all of the required kallitype baths compared to the palladium printing routine..

    I know with a few of the papers I used that they 'bloomed' and became quite rough in texture the longer they were in the water/baths, thus losing sharpness..

    Is it possible that your paper is merely reacting to being wet longer, or being in different chemistry for a certain period of time?

    (mostly questioning if the times the paper is actually wet are drastically different between the two processes, kallitype and palladium)
    "Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image."

  5. #5

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    That is worth looking into. I suppose I could cut the processing time by skipping a step or two and reducing wash time just to see if that is the cause. Of course, the solution is still going to be a change of paper I would think.

    -Paul

  6. #6

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    Just to make shure: I have printed a few of my negs in print-out palladium (with a little sodium platinate added as a contrast agent and as palladium-toned kallitypes, and I would not be able to tell the difference if I wouldn't know. You should be able to get the same tonality and sharpness.

    It is difficult to see where the problem might be without knowing all the variables. For instance, I have never printed on Stonehenge rising paper, because it is not commonly available here, but I know of course that it is frequently mentioned as a good pat/pd paper. (batches of paper change, however.)

    From the top of my hat I would suggest the following testing procedure: coat as you used to, let the coating sit for a minute or so, then dry the paper as fast and as dry as possible; I suggest use a hair dryer. Contrary to what is written elsewhere, I would yet have to experience the first fogging from heat drying. Just don't overdo the heat, but get the paper bone-dry. Expose immediately, develop immediately (5 min); the printout should be alltogether faint, without darker rust-colored shadows.

    Also, and I risk becoming a bit one-sided here, because I have just written far and wide about papers in another thread, but place a piece of your paper in a 1% acid, and see if some bubbles start appearing (no real fizzing or so, just some bubbles, and maybe a very faint sound). If this happens, your paper has an alkaline buffer which might also create the problem.

  7. #7

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    Lukas,

    Thanks for your efforts. I will give that a shot before switching papers. I will let you know what the results are.

    -Paul

  8. #8

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    Lukas,

    I tried your suggestion of drying the coated paper thoroughly before printing. I think it helped a little, but the reference palladium prints are still sharper. It has to be the paper. The palladium print I am using as a reference is only 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 inches, so it is not poor contact in the print frame. I have ordered some COT 320 and will see if that solves the problem.

    -Paul

  9. #9

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    Well, I think I figured it out. The problem was twofold. The first factor was the paper I was using. I switched to COT 320 and it make an immediately noticeable difference in the quality of my prints. This is a very nice paper. The second factor was my print frame. It was a cheap frame with clips that only apply pressure to the very edges. I rigged up a clamping system that uses bars of wood to apply pressure in the center. It worked so well that it broke the glass. So, I made a few prints using two sheets of 1/8 thick glass that I keep on hand for contact printing on AZO. I put a magazine under the paper for extra padding and used spring clamps to hold the whole thing in a sandwich. Voila -- sharp prints.

    Now I need to get new glass for the print frame and try my experiment again. The next step, I suppose, will be a new print frame when money allows.

    -Paul



 

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