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  1. #1
    gbenaim's Avatar
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    Which Alt process to learn on for PT-Pd?

    Hi All,

    I've been meaning to give platinum a try ever since I got into LF, and was wondering which of the cheaper alt processes you'd reccomend to learn on, kalli, cyano, argyro, van dyke, or just go w zia from the start? I'm leaning towards the kallitype from what I've read, but would welcome any suggestions and examples online. Thanks,

    GB

  2. #2
    DrPablo's Avatar
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    I was wondering the same. From what I understand vandyke has a very close tonal scale to Pt/Pd. To be sure, the tonal scale on vandyke (in my limited experience) is utterly enormous. I can do vandyke prints of negatives that require grade 00 printing to print normally.
    Paul

  3. #3
    gbenaim's Avatar
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    Also, does anyone have a 4x5 printing frame they're willing to sell, or alternately, will the vintage ones selling on ebay usually do a good job out of the box?

  4. #4
    billschwab's Avatar
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    The basics of PT/PD printing are so easy and really not that expensive.. why not just start there?

  5. #5
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    VDB does have a similar tonal scale, even though it likes a longer scaled negative tha PT/PD.

    The closest to PT/PD in process, and appearance is kallitype. It can use the same developers and clearing agents. A good kallitype looks so much like a palladium print that they have often been mistaken. Kalitype developed in ammonium citrate is a beautiful thing.

    If you are working in 4x5, the cost of palladium is not obsessive and is quite easy to learn the basics. YOu should look for a 5x7 or 8x10 printing frame so that you will have some border space on your print. a 4x5 image on 6x7 paper is much easier to manage in coating,
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  6. #6
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    While kallitype, and its first cousin, VDB, can result in an appearance similar to Pt/Pd, my experience is that those processes were much harder to control that Pt/Pd.

    My suggestion would be that if you want to do Pt/Pd, then do Pt/Pd. It's not hard to do. There are a number of places that offer short workshops in the summer that are a great way to get started. (Peters Valley has a Pt/Pd workshop scheduled next month with Tillman Crane that would be ideal.)

    I would also suggest starting with Bostic & Sullivan's Pt/Pd combo starter kit - it includes both Pt and Pd salts as well as the ferric oxylate #1 and #2 solutions required for the "traditional" process along with ammonium citrate developer and EDTA clearing bath. The beauty of this kit is that the critical components (ferric oxylate, Pt and Pd) are premixed in distilled water and come with a set of calibrated droppers that really eliminate the need to mix exotic chemicals. If you find that you like the process, you can switch over to dry components and mix your own (for economy) later.

    As to printing frames, I suppose you could do it with a 4x5 frame, but most 4x5 Pt/Pd prints are actually larger than 4x5 (when you sensitize paper for Pt/Pd, you always make it slightly larger than the actual negative size). For that reason, your frame should be at least one "standard size" larger than the largest print you plan to make. Also, if you get hooked, you will sooner or later want to try larger sizes. So I suggest looking around for at least a 5x7 frame if not 8x10. The units available on e-bay are fine - there is really nothing exotic involved there.
    Last edited by Monophoto; 06-14-2007 at 10:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Louie

  7. #7
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab View Post
    The basics of PT/PD printing are so easy and really not that expensive.. why not just start there?
    I agree with Bill. At the sizes you are thinking of starting with (4x5 and smaller) would just go directly with pt/pd.
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  8. #8
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    I am surprised that no one has mentioned cyanotype as a "learning process" to see whether they like the concept of alt processes.

    If you are just starting out, you can use some thick glass rather than a printing frame.

    I wrote an article on basic questions in starting with an alternative processes. It's on Ed Buffaloe's www.unblinkingeye.com

    Might have an answer to your question. Ed's site is pretty good, too.
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  9. #9
    Dug
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    I'll send you a printing frame

    Quote Originally Posted by gbenaim View Post
    Also, does anyone have a 4x5 printing frame they're willing to sell, or alternately, will the vintage ones selling on ebay usually do a good job out of the box?
    Hey - PM me your address and I'll send you a printing frame for the price of postage. I am trying to shed the "stuff" in my darkroom - there is not enough room to swing a cat! I picked it up on ebay but have moved on to 11X14 and larger Kallitypes.

    Look at Sandy King's article on Unblinkingeye.com on the kallitype process. you might like it! I do.

    Doug

  10. #10
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    I'll third the notion of start directly with pt/pd. If you want to learn the process, learn the process. Saying you'll start with Van Dyke or Kallitype to learn Palladium is only slightly less silly than saying I'll learn Palladium to teach myself Albumen printing. Each process has its own nuances, and are worth learning properly. Pt/pd is, as Jeremy noted, actually quite straightforward. The biggest hiccups are coating, paper choice, and humidity control, not necessarily in that order. I had success making an image with my first ever Pd print - not a very good one, but I got a viewable image. You can be making decent prints within four to five prints. Mastery is a different story, but you don't have to burn through tons of paper to get your hands around it.

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