I think your plan to work with VDB first is a good one. The process is fairly simple and not very expensive. Later you might want to try kallitype which, when toned with palladium or platinum, is identical in appearance and tonal range to pt/pd.
Note, however, that for VDB you will need a very contrasty negative, one with a DR of log 2.0 or more. Your silver negatives will not give optimal quality with VDB. And unfortunately there are no simple ways to control contrast with VDB as there are with kallitype.
My pesonal recommendation is to go with the brush, either a Hake, or best of all, the brush that we folks on the alt-photo-process list call the Magic brush, a very fine synthetic brush made by Richeson.
A great paper, and also very inexpensive, that works well with VDB, kallitype and palladiuma and platinum, is Stonhenge Rising White. You can get if from Daniel Smith (out West) or from Steven Kinsella (in St. Louis) for less than 2$ per 22X30" sheet. In fact, closer to $1 a sheet. Another paper that works well and that is often available in local art stores is Strathmore 400 series drawing paper. It comes in pads in different sizes.
Gray, have you checked the articles in unblinkingeye about making enlarged negatives? Perhaps it is a good alternative for you.
OTOH I know Sandy does the digital neg stuff, perhaps if we ask him nicely he will be willing to do an article for us...
Nige, I think there is a special kind of sheet people use to do the ink jet negatives. I am wanting to say is called pictorico, but I am not sure. Suppsedly this sheet fastens the ink pretty well and prevents it from smearing.
I print in both carbon and kallitype with both in-camera ULF negatives and digital negatives. To this point most of my digital negatives have been made from scanned 5X7" original in-camera negatives, corrected and adjusted on Photoshop, and printed on an overhead transparency material called Pictorico (website = www.pictorico.com) on the Epson 2000P. I am very pleased with the results and consider that the quality of my kallitype and palladium prints on art papers closely approaches the quality of prints made from in-camera 12X20 negatives. With POP or AZO an original in-camera negative will give better quality than an inkjet negative, and about this there is no doubt.
Dan Burkholder's book is a really good resource for making digital negatives. I would certainly be willing to prepare a work-flow of my working procedures for this site if that is of any interest, but in the end I would strongly recommend that anyone interested in making digital negatives get a copy of Burkholder's book. The main issue at this time is that the results are very much printer and media specific so that my work procedures would only be applicable to others if they are printing with one of the pigmented ink Epsons, such as the 2000P, 2200, 7600, 9600, 10,000, etc, using my media (Pictorico) and my curve.
Thanks Sandy! well there you have it guys.
I think that having the benefit of Sandy's expereince would be benefecial to all who want to try this. I know I have learned a lot from his articles on Kallitypes.
I also would like very much to learn from you in how to make digital negatives. Fortunately for myself I also use an Epson 2200 so this might work well. Basically I guess that I am a bit confused about what I should be doing in the scan, how I show manipulate the scanned image and finally what things to avoid when making and printing the output.
For anybody else who has never even tried this, they might also appreciate a very simple straightforward guideline in how to get started. Sometimes the terminology used with scanning can be confusing. It took me a few days to figure out what "curves" meant after reading it a few times and I still am not sure I fully understand the impact of modify the curves.
Have you ever done any scanning of negatives to make enlarged contact negatives?
Well hopefully there are some others who can greatly benifit from an article like this. Even though I prefer not to use digital methods, in this case I believe this is the most logical and easy way to enter into the alternative process and discover if it is something to be enjoyed.
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The last time I spoke to Terry King he said he was having some success making 'compunegs' using an OHP material. I have the Dan Burkholder book and if my understanding is correct, the services of a lab and drum scanner are needed for optimum results. I am trying to avoid this and would like to do the whole process myself. I am keen to start making Kallitypes but I want to work with a format bigger than my 5x4 produces and will either make bigger negs under the enlarger from a smaller format or, if the results are satisfactory, via computer, scanning a 5x4 neg. I am encouraged by Sandy's comments that his results are good so I shall keep this method in my mind and of course, watch this forum.
Originally Posted by Jorge
PS. I previously tried to send this during the upgrade Sean mentioned, so please bear with me if this is repeated.
Originally Posted by sanking
I too would be interested in your workflow. I've been using a 2200 & OHP for negs to print in platinum. I'm using Burkholders curves slightly adjusted to increase contrast of the upper values. While contrast and density seem good so far I'm finding that large expanses of smooth tones have a '35mm-ish' grain to them. I contact emulsion to emulsion for best sharpness and print on Platine.
I am truely inpired by Sandys article on PyrocatHD - although I am satisfied with PMK for 4x5, I have had better results in 6x6 with DiXactol. I am now ready to brew my own PyrocatHD based on his article use that for most of my larger than 35mm use if it tests out like he lists (as I am confident it will) - So this brings the question -
Since I am about to try VanDyke and excited to do so - How would you all compare the AZO/Amidol results to a VanDyke/Selenium Tone result? Notwithstanding the variable of paper choice. (assuming the VanDyke was on similar fiber paper stock.)
My photos are always without all that distracting color ...
Originally Posted by fhovie
This is one of those questions that can't really be answered because AZO is a photographic paper with an emulsion in gelatin on the surface of the paper, whereas the VDB sensitizer is actually embedded in the texture of the paper surface. You will get a much greater reflective density range with AZO (AZ0 can get up to a Dmax of over 2.0), and the image will be sharper. The VDB will have a much lower reflective density range (about maximum of 1.5) and the paper texture limits sharpness.
It is somewhat akin to comparing apples to oranges. Some people prefer the rich Dmax and sharpness of AZ0 while others like the matte surface and texture of hand-made prints like VDB, Pt/Pd and kallitype. Both are acquired tastes so the best thing is to just look at some good prints made by the two processes and do what works best for your own work.
"I too would be interested in your workflow. I've been using a 2200 & OHP for negs to print in platinum. I'm using Burkholders curves slightly adjusted to increase contrast of the upper values. While contrast and density seem good so far I'm finding that large expanses of smooth tones have a '35mm-ish' grain to them. I contact emulsion to emulsion for best sharpness and print on Platine."
I am going to write this up soon. Unfortunately I am just a bit swamped with work right now and have not had the time to get to it.
Thanks for your patience