Argyrotype running off Platine?
Dear people smarter than I am,
I hoped to use some time around the [rented, very short-term] house after the birth of our baby for making some small photos of her on-site. I can develop my film, but have nowhere to print. Lacking darkroom and not able to set anything up temporarily. Centennial POP would have been perfect for my use, but found it was long discontinued. So I turned to Argyrotype for easy processing without a darkroom; it gave me good results many years ago.
Been working with some Bostick and Sullivan pre-mixed argyrotype sensitizer on Arches Platine, with 6x6 negatives. Figured Platine was a can't-miss, being designed for this. Coating with a puddle pusher on 3"x3" squares of paper, printing in a brand-new Photo Formulary frame.
Having problems getting any sort of decent image. The issue looks, to me, to be image runoff. The areas outside the negative are printing out to the "plated" or "solarized" appearance just fine. But in the initial rinse, much of their density is washing right off. Same with the film base edges and shadow areas in the image.
And, despite attempts at both single- and double-coating the paper, the image is a bit mottled, as if some of the sensitizer has peeled away...correspondingly, the negatives have bits of dark goo on them which I can only assume is sensitizer. Tried wiping them off with alcohol to modest success, but they seem pretty ruined.
It is REALLY hot and humid out, if that's a factor.
Any ideas to what's causing my problems? I'm focusing on the issue of lost density and mottling before looking at any fine-tuning of my negatives' exposure/development...if I was simply getting less-than-optimal results within the image area alone, I wouldn't be so confused. But even the unexposed film base areas are washing away.
Seems to be something more mechanical/procedural causing my problems.
Am I coating too lightly/thickly, or is it not dry enough? Just too humid outside right now for this? Am I missing something special that needs to be done for the Platine paper to take on the sensitizer properly? Can I add Tween or some other additive to help? Could Platine simply be an inappropriate paper? (Figured it was a can't-miss, being specifically made for these purposes...)
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
a. Add some wetting agent (Tween, Ilfotol, Photo-Flo etc...) into the coating solution. (1-2 drops per ml of sensitizer should do well, work out yourself if it doesn't)
b. Dilute the sentizer 1:1 with distilled water and coat in two passes. (Try single pass too, respectable sources say it works very well that way too...)
d. Change the paper - just to be sure it isn't a paper issue
Humid is fine for Argyrotype, way better than arid...
Hope this helps and good luck!
Thanks--will give it a shot...
I have had a similar issue with not dry enough paper. Also, ensure that your rinse water does not have chlorine (distilled water or rainwater work, many bottled "spring" waters have some chlorine in them).
The advice of using a wetting agent is good, especially with Arches Platine. The sizing makes that paper very nice to coat, but if you are having run off issues, it is probably a good bet that the liquid is not penetrating the fibers. Also try first rinse with the emulsion side down in a tray of water, which might help with the mottling.
I can't rave enough about Ruscombe Buxton paper. It is harder to coat, and curls during drying, but the image is fantastic. If you are looking for a different paper, check that one out.
OK, I will go and coat some paper now with a bit of photo-flo, and definitely try the initial rinse in distilled...that really may be my problem.
I miss living in a house with a distiller. It was sooooo easy.
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How are you drying the freshly coated paper? I know others have similar problems with other processes (cyanotypes, pt/pd) if they hit the paper with a hair drier too soon -- better to wait several minutes to allow the solution to sink in.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
I wish I was using a hair dryer so I'd have some other variable to eliminate, but I'm just air-drying them in a closet...
Waiting for some to dry now so I can try again.
Any advice on how long to wait before applying a second coat of sensitizer? I've been waiting 20 min or so, until the surface seems only slightly moist to the touch at most.
I'm also getting the hang of pushing lightly with the puddle pusher, which might help eliminate some of that mottling.
Looks like it was the tap water rinse that was doing most of the damage. Adding some wetting agent to the sensitizer seems to have helped with a more even coating, too. And I'll need to just start using bigger pieces of paper, I think. I'll just trim the excess on the edges before toning to save on chemistry. (Trying GP-1 gold prior to fixing, for permanence and a bit more purplish color.)
Definitely try gold-thiourea toner too. Very good shelf life (months, it's a single solution - no combining compounds/solutions before toning...) + very nice results (at least 2/3 - 1 stop Dmax increase...) + very good protection.
Edit: It's more cost-saving than GP-1; 1g gold-chloride makes 2000ml toner...
Last edited by Loris Medici; 08-31-2010 at 04:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Added a remark...
Thanks to everyone for all the help! A day of trying and I have one reasonable little 6x6 print of my daughter's toes that I really like. D-max really leaves something to be desired, however, as does the evenness of my coating technique.