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  1. #1
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Bromoil: problems with matrices not accepting ink

    I'm in year two now of Bromoil as a process. I have a stack of prints that I want to work up in Bromoil and started with the top 5 or 6. After bleaching and tanning and fixing the matrices I began to ink up the first one. It was piling on in the dark areas only when I applied too much ink, but it would not take a lot of ink until I used an excessive amount. Messing up the first two matrices, I am now with two more that are kind of fouled up because I increased pressure too much, but I only did that because they would not take up the ink.

    So.. I'm here scratching my head. Perhaps these prints were okay looking as silver gelatins but made poor candidates for Bromoil matrices (i.e. not dark enough before bleaching/tanning). Perhaps it's an issue with chemistry. I'm not experienced enough to tell.

    By any other means, these matrices look fine though. I am using Gene Laughters Bromoil 101 directions on the mechanics portion (bleaching/tanning/fixing).

    I sure wish I could figure out what is awry without spending a lot of time investigating in trial/error. I spent months putting these prints together and I do not have notes on a lot of them as to how to duplicate. I only recently began writing down my enlarger/optics and chemistry settings. Wouldn't you know, the ones I want to Bromoil the most have no information.

    Anyway, here I am moaning about when I could be answering my question... Maybe I'm just lonely, is all...
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

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    I'm a beginner with Bromoil just like you so you can take my comments for what they are worth (probably less than two cents). I've been having problems as well and think that I've may be figured out some things.

    It is pretty frustrating when you watch the U-Tube videos of people like Jill Goldkind and how easy and fast she makes it look. My latest attempt worked better than previous ones. My problems have been that the matrix seems to show no image building up. You just put more and more on and evenutally it looks like a big blackish mess.

    Not sure where you are located, but I'm in the Desert South West (near Palm Springs). I think my main problem is the heat and humidity - or too much of it and to little of it. It is so hot and dry here, I think that both the ink and paper dry out to rapidly. I tried thinning down the ink a little when preparing it and also had to re-dunk the matrix in the tray of water every three or four minutes while brushing otherwise nothing was happening. Eventually, I got what I consider a somewhat acceptable print but it took close to 3 hours for me to do it.

    You might also try joining the Bromoil forum and posting this there.

    Hope this helps,

    Dan
    Dan's website: www.dandozer.com

  3. #3
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Hello Dan, welcome to my thread. hehe. If you were closer I'd welcome you to come inside and sit down. I'm glad to know another bromoilist. I think in my case Dan, I think they are too light of prints. And to compound the issue, the more problematic prints were those with the Ilford paper with the matte finish. The Kentmere paper with the pebbly finish will allow more control the way I do my hopping. In a moment I'm going to give another go at one of the damaged matrices which was the Kentmere. Maybe I can rescue this print. I did a superdrying trick today by leaving the print in my locked truck under the hot sun on one of the hottest days of our season. Came out and found it all curled up. Good sign of it drying extra good. So I'll give another go here and see how this goes. But I'm thinking that my problem is the prints were not dark enough to begin with. So the bleach removed more image and the tanning didn't tan the very light areas. That's how I'm intuiting things now. Trial/error, eh?

    By the way it's Joy Goldkind and she's got a showing right now, a big preview, in Santa Fe at one of the big galleries that features her works. In case you feel like a visit to New Mexico. I'm on the Central Coast. We don't have desert weather here but it's not moist either. But I am wondering if your ink is too thin. I don't advise thinning ink because I could never figure out how to make it work at all. Thin ink does not lay down well. It takes many coats and you have to dry the print between coats. The ink I have the best reaction with is very dense and tacky and stiff. The biggest factor I think is stiff. It has to be stiff in order for the hopping stage to produce the refined image and I think its because the stiffness combined with tack will lift up highlights and only marginally lift off the darks.
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

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    Hi Perry,

    Thanks for the info. Not sure we are having the same issues or not. I've found that using the ink straight out of can when it's warm and dry in my darkroom only creates a mess on the matrix. The ink goes on and won't transfer from light areas to dark areas very easily at all.

    I think I need to find a bromoilist here in So Cal or take a work shop somewhere to learn direct from the experts. I'm not sure if my exposures are right on the prints or not. I think my inking techniques are fine. I'm just getting the results I want so far. I have both Gene Laughter's book as well as Derek Watkins, but my failures significantly outweigh my successes.

    Dan
    Dan's website: www.dandozer.com

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    I have a problem using Ilford paper - takes ink too fast and hard to get off. Now using Slavich Russian paper - grade 2 - (Available at Freestyle). Normally use crayon black ink out of the can - Sometimes the print inks up fast with no problem - other times I have to put a very light coat of ink on - let dry overnight and the next day the print will ink up OK. The Russian paper is made on old equipment and I think the way we used to do it without hardener. The paper people make the coating for silver gelatin printing and if you look at the print after bleaching sometimes you see white spots (we call them worm holes) when holding the paper up to the light - that is where the gelatin was not coated evenly - almost impossible to make a bromoil print when that occurs. If you get too much ink on the print and if won't hop off - just wash the ink off with thinner and let dry overnight and start again. One time when I couldn't make a print to save me - I found I had mixed the bleaching and tanning chemical out of proportion. Just got tired in the darkroom and wasn't paying attention. When printing I normally print the shadows normal and burn the highlights prox 1 to 2 stops over. Good luck - john

  6. #6
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Dozer View Post
    Not sure we are having the same issues or not......I'm not sure if my exposures are right on the prints or not....I have both Gene Laughter's book as well as Derek Watkins, but my failures significantly outweigh my successes.
    In Bromoil 101, Gene mentions taking the normal silver gelatin print and doing two things with it to make it a good matrix. Overexpose by a half to one stop, it has to be darker than normal. Give it a full three minutes development (the range is usually 1.5 to 3 minutes on FB paper, move your time/exposure around to meet a full 3 minutes development). The reason why is you want to get the most image possible because the deeper it goes to activate the silver, the more depth the cavity later on in the matrix when it is fully swollen with water. I think this may add details to the shadows during inking.

    I have both Bromoil 101 and Derek's book. I read Derek's first, then Gene's workbook manual and felt I had everything I needed to have a go. I was mildly successful to a point, with book smarts alone. Then I bought Gene's video, Bromoil Workshop. Ahh, that was enlightening. I go back and watch it from time to time. There are a lot of kernels of experience in there. I suggest getting your hands on a copy of Bromoil Workshop.

    Since you mentioned instruction, also you might consider Joy Goldkind. I understand she teaches workshops from time to time, and considering your subject matter is right in line with hers I think you'd gleen a lot through that
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

  7. #7
    Perry Way's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coobush View Post
    If you get too much ink on the print and if won't hop off - just wash the ink off with thinner and let dry overnight and start again.
    I'm using Naptha for cleanup. Does using Naptha have any impact on altering the gelatin or paper? It seems to me the smell of Naptha persists on porous materials and I'm afraid it gets embedded in the paper to try that (but the thought did occur to me [to try wiping ink with Naptha] on the one print that got literally caked on)
    Last edited by Perry Way; 09-26-2010 at 12:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    I love the wilderness and I love my trail cameras, all Fuji's! :) GA645, GW690 III, and the X100 which I think is the best trail camera ever invented (to date).

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    Bromoil is HARD! I have been playing with it for about 12 months, but intermittently. I find that Foma Variant IV paper is sort-of friendly, and the Slavich Unibrom G4 single weight matte can work at times. But the whole process is temperamental, and I have not yet been disciplined enough to nail a successful process. I too have Derek Watkins and Gene Laughter, and lots of downloaded snippets of information. I have watched the Joy Goldkind video several times and can't believe how easy she makes it appear!

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    Joy struggled with the process at first - next thing you know she was doing 16x20's with great technique. She is not only great with the process but she has a great eye for an image. Doing bromoil is always an adventure - but practice does pay off. I suggest taking a class if available - Joy teaches and if at all possible go to her class (highly recommended). Worth scheduling part of your vacation around and paying the cost of the air fare and motel room.



 

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