Having seen the images its not as pronounced as I imagined and therefore not what I thought it was. Looking at the colour you are obviously toning with PT. Is the graininess apparent before toning?
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the grain is visible before toning (it is Palladium), right after the image develops. It does not appear to change during the processing.
I do not see this grain when I look on my old prints made on other papers. This makes me thinking it has to do with Arches paper. I recall, but I may be wrong, that first time I saw the grain was when I developed the first Arches print. On the other hand all the papers I was trying before Arches did not clear well. But, like I said, my old prints just do not give too much material to compare with Arches. I think I will try to use them again with newer negatives.
Arches Platine is notoriously picky when it comes to coating. It always seems to need a second coating, but I would actually suggest using a plain distilled water coat first, instead of two coats of sensitizer. Wait atleast 45 min to an hour for it to dry completely. Coat the sensitizer, then wait atleast another hour, allowing the paper to dry in a drawer or cabinet.
Graininess is often caused by too much humidity left in the paper (as you found out when you over humidified it), so I'm suspecting the 20 minutes of drying time isn't nearly long enough. I wouldn't recommend using a hair dryer to speed up the process, either.
My brother has had his Alt-Process classes at the SF Community College test air-drying versus hair dryers and found that the air-dryed images always have deeper blacks, less bleeding of the image during development, and less grain.
The other thing I would do is mix up a fresh batch of developer without the Dichromate. I stopped adding the dichromate to our Kallitype developers 8 or 9 years ago, because I got a lot of calls about it causing similar problems to yours. I had forgotten about that until I started writing this, but it's a good place to start, along with the coating suggestions.
PS - If you're still banging your head against the wall, give us a call at B&S and we'll try to solve your problems.
As an aside, I do not recommend using a hair drier either from a health point of view...it kicks a lot of chemicals into the air. It took me 5 years of pt/pd printing, but I developed a strong reaction to pt and/or pd dust using a hair drier without a mask. Pt causes an nasty type of asthma, and with me, also a sore throat. Both me and my prints have improved since air-drying!
Originally Posted by Dana Sullivan
I have to agree with Dana about the dichromate. It always caused me a grainy problem.
As for drying, I found a dryer meant for RC paper which can be set to no heat, or any temp up to about 150 F. I dry all of my coated papers regardless of process in this dryer with no heat, They dry within 5-10 minutes and print better than any other method I have ever used. I gave the hair dryer back to my wife.
I also recently added a humidifier to the darkroom because the humidity was often below 25%. It is now a constant 50-55% which I believe also helps make smoother, more consistent prnts.
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Thank you very much for help.
Dana - I will call in case I can not solve this problem. I am going to do some experiments with water coating and extended drying time tonight and on the weekend so I would call some time next week. I also think of using something to substitute Tween 20 as I found some notes from Keith Shreiber that Tween caused spots on Arches Platine. It might be that in my case I did not see any effect of Tween as I had some other factor that was causing spots anyway. I think of using 10% glycerol, Tween at much lower concentration, NP40 and gum arabic. I really would like to get Arches Platine to work as it clears very well and I recently bought a pile of this paper...
My understanding is that the paper should have correct humidity which would be 50-60%. Less and more is bad - is that correct? And some papers are more some less sensitive to that. We have really low humidity here in Tucson, for instance now it is 18%. Using humidifier is out of question. I do not have my own real darkroom.
As to dichromate, my limited experience is that it is really impossible to get paper white without minute amout of dichromate. Even with Arches Platine which was the best paper I tried so far regarding clearing. I did see some heavy grain when I used too much dichromate (about 1 ml 5% sol per liter) but I am using now much less. I do not see any effect but like I said refering to Tween, it might be that other factor gives the grain anyway and I woudl see this effect only after I eliminate this factor X.
one again - thanks a lot. I will report the results in few days.
I did some experiments during last few days and I think I solved this problem. I guess this might be interesting to some other beginners therefore I report here the results. Here is what I did: double coating - first coating which water, sensitizer, sensitizer plus a drop of 1% Tween, sensitizer plus a drop of gum arabic (standard gum printing solution). One hour latter I applied the second coating with sensitizer or sensitizer plus respective surfactant.
I also tried single coating with or without Tween20. I omitted dichromate in the developer.
All prints came out better then the previous ones. This might be due to either prorogated drying time or omitted dichromate or lower Tween concentration. The smoothest print resulted from double coating with gum arabic. It is really smooth print, no trace of grain. It seems that gum arabic gives reddish cast to the print but after toning with palladium the print has very pleasing color. All the above applies only to Arches Platine paper. Cranes Kid Finish behaves in a very different way. I print in quite specific conditions: humidity about 15% and about 90F.
Thanks a lot to all who helped,
My results, working at a RH of 55%-65% are very different.
Originally Posted by Dana Sullivan
When double coating I always put on the second coat when the first coat is dry to the touch, within two minutes of finishing the first coat, drying aided by a fan.
Then, I expose the sensitzed paper within 15-20 minutes of applying the final coat.
I also mix a small amount of dichroamte in the developer, since the ES of the process is about log 2.2 and my negatives are calibrated at about log 2.0. Too much dichromate will definitely cause grain in kallitype prints, but for that to happen you must add upwards of 8-10 ml of a 5% solution of dichromate per liter of developer.
I air dry the paper, with a fan, but after each coating give a short blast of hot air with a hair dryer to set the sensitizer on the surface and keep it from seeping too deep into the paper.
None of these procedures result in extra grain for me with papers such as Weston, Stonhenge, Cot 320 and various vellums.
Last edited by sanking; 05-26-2007 at 08:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.