Pt/Pd and Lana Aquarelle paper
ARGH ! ! ! ! ! This has been a very frustrating afternoon. I wanted to try some new paper types for Pt/Pd printing so I got a few sheets of Lana Aquarelle from B&S. Started my printing session making a couple of prints on Bergger COT 320 and everything went fine.
Then I tried making some test exposures on Lana Aquarelle with a 4 x 5 step wedge and everything started going wrong. First images came out super grainy and no where near getting close blacks to where they should be (15 minute exposure). Came in and checked on the forum about what other people's "problems" have been and found everything requiring pre-soaking in Oxalic Acid, to double coating, to super humidifying. Grain problems seem to be a trend among most printers. Tried double coating and it came out darker - sort of close to what I wanted, but instead of super grainy, it's only really grainy. Looks somewhat like a Lith print. Now if that was the affect I was looking for, I would be extatic, but it wasn't and I'm not. To top it off, after the double coating process, the print wouldn't clear completely and it's left with yellow edges.
B&S describes this paper on their website as one that is one of their favorite papers for Pt/Pd and good for beginners and experienced printers. I don't see this at all in my limited experience today.
Not sure what I'll do with the paper I have left. I don't want to waste more Pt/Pd chemicals on it and not get consistant results, and all the "pre-treating" that it appears is needed is more trouble than I want to go through.
Am I alone with all these problems or are others having the same experiences as I am?
I never could get Lana to work for kallitypes either, even acid treatment did not help.
(sorry about first reply, which was about Arches Aquarelle)
Although I prefer Platine (or the original Platinotype), I have used Lana Aquarelle for several projects. I've never had to do any pretreatment with Na2 Pd/Pt. The standard step tablet tests (as well as in use printing ) show that the exposure is 2x what Platine/Platinotype/others require. The blacks aren't quite as deep as with Platine or Platinotype or Cot320 or Fabriano Aristico or original Weston Diploma, but they're not bad. If you want deep blacks you might consider using something other than L.A.
The paper tests slightly acidic with the usual pH test (pen from Light Impressions) so an oxallic acid pretreat won't do a thing.
Maybe they've changed the paper since I last purchased a stock in summer 2008, but I've had absolutely no problems with this paper. YMMV.
We met at the Riverside show. It's probably just the paper or the need for acidification. I also find that in really dry weather like we've been having lately that grain can start appearing, which is one of the reasons printers like Stan Klimek, who lives in Santa Fe, recommends humidifying before coating and pre-exposure as well. If COT 320 gives you everything you need without all the fuss, why go elsewhere, right?
I use Fabriano Artistico EW, but I do acidify in oxalic acid, as well as a post-coat pre-exposure humidification over a pot of steaming water for a short time. I also put a sheet of transparent mylar over the neg sandwich before I put the contact frame hinged-back on, to trap the moisture in the paper (another Klimek tip).
Looking forward to seeing new work from you...
Don - I had seen your responses on other photographer's questions but you haven't seemed to have the problems like me. It seems like the grain issue is the most frustrating right now. I'm not sure why you have had good results and mine are not. I'll have to check into the acid pre-treatment step and humidification (although I did humidify it before coating, but not much before exposure). I'm guessing that the humidity is probably the probably the primary cause.
Phil - Thanks for the tip on the mylar - I hadn't heard that one before so I'll think I'll try it. Maybe I'll just stay with Bergger - it has proven to be pretty consistant for me. As you said, the humidigy can be pretty low out here in the desert - it was actually only 15% today. By the way, if Per has another Josua Tree get together this winter, maybe you can make it and I'll get to see some of your work.
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I'm guessing humidity -- my darkroom up here in the humid northwest sits at 60% plus/minus 5% most of the year.
Try getting a cold humidifier -- you'll see them cheaply available at your local drug store. Uses ultrasonic emitter to blast the water into vapor which you can see leaving the unit. You can use this to raise your darkroom to more humid conditions, or do as Dick Arentz does...build a humidification unit out of white plastic pipe and plastic = both available at the hardware store. Put a pan of water underneath and "soak(in the chamber not in the water tray)" the paper for 20 minutes or so ...until coating and exposure. The idea of a plastic sandwich, which is often used for Ziatypes, is a good one.
One thing about the nuarc printers -- I don't use plastic sandwiches, and use a large vacuum table(I use one that was substantially larger than the usual 26K version that many use. That vacuum table tends to pull all the moisture out of the coating (I'll pull a vacuum on carbon tissue to ensure its dry before I use a negative next to it). Since I don't have problems with the exposure of the resulting dried paper at exposure, I am thinking that you have a coating problem -- the paper is too dry at coating which sucks the liquid deeper into the fibers. Try this: hold the paper in front of the vapor coming out of the cold humidifier for a few minutes - moving it around. It won't get wet but it will get humid (you can feel it). I did this two summers ago at Dick Arentz's Masters class in extremely dry and hot conditions in Montana (formulary). It may help.
let us know what you find out (experiments with humidification,etc)
Phil or Dan -- either of you going to Galli/Per's workshop next week?
Thanks for the advice. I'll look into the humidity issues and see what I can work out.
Can't make it to the Galli/Volquartz workshop. My "real" job is taking me out of town each of the next three weeks. I'm actually going to be in Eastern Washington (Richland) in two weeks. I'm guessing that if you have 60% humidity, you're either on the coast or in the Seattle area.
Don - No I won't be there, unfortunately. I just saw Per, as I live in the same town and he is always an inspiration to be around.
Dan - It's always tough to print when the RH is that low. I had the same conditions in Pasadena a few weeks ago and was printing a small series. There was a bit of grain in my shadow tones that I had not experienced before. I ended up reprinting two of the prints when conditions were better. They weren't terrible or anything, just not exactly what I usually look for.
An extra tip for excessively dry weather
- Ultrasonic humidifier: Pre-coating and/or pre-exposure and/or post-exposure, works nice, it's a very handy tool.
- Impermeable protective sheet between paper and felt: Works nice, essential for long exposures and/or uniform print color. (If not used corners and center of image may show different hue; warmer in corners, colder in the center, or, you may notice a hue change along the hinge on the back...)
Those above are nice suggestions. I'd like to add this one:
- When printing in very dry climate, try adding glycerin to your coating solutions; glycerin is chemically inert regarding the reactions which take place during exposure/development (plus, will wash away later) and "it's a very good humectant". It will keep necessary amnt. of moisture in the paper. 2-4 drops per ml of coating solution is usually enough -> try other amnts. to find what's right for you.
Last edited by Loris Medici; 11-02-2009 at 06:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: added "hinge" detail