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  1. #1
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    albumen printing with an enlarger

    hi all,

    as i am preparing to build my wet plate camera and start wet plate photography, i got to think why don't do albumen printing as well to completely free myself from manufactured process.

    after much discussion here and other places i decided to build my camera for half plate or 5x7 the largest and then printing it larger. (of course that means building the enlarger as well)

    all the details on albumen that i found always involved it being contact print straight from the plate, that means if i do albumen i can't really print larger than my plates. so i'm curious about the possibility of using albumen with an enlarger? is it possible?

    thanks all,

    Dave

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveandiputra View Post
    all the details on albumen that i found always involved it being contact print straight from the plate, that means if i do albumen i can't really print larger than my plates. so i'm curious about the possibility of using albumen with an enlarger? is it possible?

    thanks all,

    Dave
    Not directly. No enlarger puts out enough UV to expose albumen paper adequately. In theory you could cook up something with a UV light source and quartz lenses and calculate the focus shift, etc., but it isn't likely to be practical.

    What you could do with an enlarger, though, is enlarge your negatives using an interneg and ortho film, for instance, and print those enlarged negatives to albumen using a UV exposure unit or the sun, which is the normal way to expose an albumen print.
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  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    David-

    Not to be a total contrarian, but back in the day, studios in the wet plate era had "Solar enlargers" which enabled them to project glass plate negatives onto albumen paper and make enlargements. Granted, the exposure times for these enlargements ran into the multiple hours using direct sunlight, but it can be done. Solar enlargers had special reflectors that rotated to keep the sunlight being passed through the condensors even, which is something that would have to be dealt with in building your own. If you built one, I would think that in Indonesia you'd have a limited printing time given how cloudy it gets during the rainy season. You might not have enough strong daylight every day for several months out of the year.

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    The solar enlarger did exist during the albumen era, but was rarely used. One doesn't see many historic albumen prints that appear to be enlargements. Aside from the long exposure times, there was a danger of the thing setting itself on fire if the mirror was not adjusted with the travel of the sun. There was a mechanical device for this purpose, but it was a fairly expensive accessory.
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    Well, that's were an artificial light source would come in. At the same time, you would need a really firm structure and solid easel (as well as a location without buses) to prevent vibrations from making a hash out of your final image. Contact printing (with artificial UV source) can be a 2-10 minute operation. I would expect that to increase for enlarging based on distance from the source and such.

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I like a dense neg for albumen, which usually means an exposure of about 1 hr in indirect sunlight (which is about the same as with UV tubes around 4" from the frame), 20 min in direct sunlight. So figure 2 stops for a 2x enlargement, then you might be stopping down the lens for reasonable results, and the lens might absorb a stop or two of UV, and by the time the exposure is done, you could have made an enlarged neg and a few prints, and subsequent prints will print normally.
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    Quadrichome Fresson process utilizes an enlarger with a ferocious carbon-arc light source. Exposures can take an hour, and the negative does get rather cooked in the process. It works, but it's not practical for "home" use.
    - Ian

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    I never claimed the solar enlarger was a GOOD alternative to enlarging the negatives - just that it CAN be done.

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  10. #10
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    Not directly. No enlarger puts out enough UV to expose albumen paper adequately. In theory you could cook up something with a UV light source and quartz lenses and calculate the focus shift, etc., but it isn't likely to be practical.

    What you could do with an enlarger, though, is enlarge your negatives using an interneg and ortho film, for instance, and print those enlarged negatives to albumen using a UV exposure unit or the sun, which is the normal way to expose an albumen print.
    thanks david
    wow i forgot about the UV factor, never thought will be that complicated. never heard about the interneg or ortho film, will have to research them first.

    Not to be a total contrarian, but back in the day, studios in the wet plate era had "Solar enlargers" which enabled them to project glass plate negatives onto albumen paper and make enlargements. Granted, the exposure times for these enlargements ran into the multiple hours using direct sunlight, but it can be done. Solar enlargers had special reflectors that rotated to keep the sunlight being passed through the condensors even, which is something that would have to be dealt with in building your own. If you built one, I would think that in Indonesia you'd have a limited printing time given how cloudy it gets during the rainy season. You might not have enough strong daylight every day for several months out of the year.
    thanks flyingcamera
    yeah that even sounds more complicated, but if there is a problem, the sun wouldn't be it, even in the rainy seasons we've got plenty of sunshine.

    Well, that's were an artificial light source would come in. At the same time, you would need a really firm structure and solid easel (as well as a location without buses) to prevent vibrations from making a hash out of your final image. Contact printing (with artificial UV source) can be a 2-10 minute operation. I would expect that to increase for enlarging based on distance from the source and such.
    thanks degruyl,
    what i get from your answer is that i can build some kind of enlarger which only consist of the artificial light source and the plate?is it right?

    Quadrichome Fresson process utilizes an enlarger with a ferocious carbon-arc light source. Exposures can take an hour, and the negative does get rather cooked in the process. It works, but it's not practical for "home" use.
    thanks Ian,
    okay the sentence "not practical" definitely strikes this option out

    thanks ic-racer,
    i'm not familiar with those x-ray film, can i use them with normal paper development method?

    thanks all for the response, the majority of answers seems to point in the direction of negative enlargement first, will have to research it more, as i know nothing about them, if any of you have more knowledge about them i will be very grateful.

    many thanks, cheers.

    Dave

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