Ziatype - Help!
Tried to do some Ziatypes this weekend and kept running into the same problem. Either the print came out with only some detail, or it was 'muddy' for lack of a better term. Posted an example of each one, the one I suspect is because the exposure was not no enough (using the big UV source in the sky) and that could be due to the fact that the clouds only show up when you need a UV source, otherwise they are totally absent..one of those weekends. The other though could be over exposed, but it does not have the sharp detail that the other has. The chemicals are about a year old or so, could this be the problem. Process was step by step from B&S, paper is Cranes, Any thoughts (besides buy/build a UV light source)?
I'm new at this too but my guess is the old sensitizer.
Originally Posted by photomc
Judging from your the scans you provided and your description about your workflow I can make the following suggestions.
1) Get some fresh ammonium ferric oxalate. Yours may have gone stale.
2) Your over coated borders look as though they have good DMAX for your exposure time so I'm guessing that your negative may be somewhat dense but with low contrast (not counting the areas where the light is coming through the windows). To solve this you can add some ammonium dichromate to the emulsion mix. I have several bottles of varying strengths running from 20% to .1%. Don't use NA2 platinum as a contrast agent with Ziatypes, it doesn't work. Ammonium dichromate does and does very effectively. With the samples you provided use a longer exposure time. With palladium printing print for the shadows and adjust contrast for the highlights.
3) Yes get a UV light source or build your own. Exposure consistancy is vital for repeatable results, other wise IMO you are wasting your time and money.
4) Are you peaking at the print trying to judge exposure density of the print? If so don't. Instead print by time only. Each time you open the printing frame the humidity of the print changes. Zias depend on a a paper humidity of at least 50%. Use a sheet of Mylar underneath the paper to act as a damn to prevent loss of humidity during exposure. Of course don't print with an overly damp sheet of paper. The paper should not feel crisp but not damp either.
5) Don't scrimp on the chemistry. Be sure to use enough metal salts and AFO to have adequate paper coverage. Better to have a little too much than not enough. You'll toss a bad print anyway.
6) Keep detailed notes. Record your drop mixture, relative humidity, paper type, and exposure time on the back side of the paper along the edge written in pencil. You will quickly learn from your failures.
I think Don nailed the problem. Since the coated borders obviously have very good Dmax it is almost certain that the density range of the negative is too low for Ziatype. The good part is that your chemistry is most likely good.
Originally Posted by donbga
Mateo, Don and Sandy..Thanks for the input. You are probably right about the negative..hate to admit it, but not sure I would know what a dense negative looks like. This is also, the first negative I have tried to print using Pyrocat-HD, so probably to many variables. Had two negatives of this image, one developed in Rodinal which prints quit well when enlarged, this one in Pyrocat HD which does not print quit as well.
Don, did keep the humidity in mind while processing and did use mylar sandwich - one between the negative and paper and other behind the paper. Added 1 drop of ammonium dichromate (1 drop of 20% ad + 1 drop of water). Do not open print frame during exposure, as you said humidity loss. Exposure was based (guess) on the development of the borders. Will have to find another negative and see if that makes any difference.
Process was 15 drops of ammonium ferric oxalate
1 drop of sodium tungstate 40%
15 drops of lithium paladium
1 drop of amonium dicromate 5% (1drop + 1 drop of H20)
1 drop of tween 20 10%
exposure was for at least 10 minutes, relative humidity was over 60%.
So, at this point I suspect Sandy is right and the negative is too dense ..
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The use of dichromate play on contrast but also on printing time. It could expand the printing time. if you use a 20% drop you will need about 2-3 time the printing time without dichromate.
but which paper are you caoting this also play on the contrast and inal aspect of the print.
Hello Nze, the paper used was Cranes Kid finish - white and ecru. Thanks for the info on the dichromate.
Originally Posted by nze
come by the darkroom and I will show you a dense contrasty neg.
Thanks Lee, will help to see what one looks like..will bring a couple of negatives with me. Will set up time later this week.
I've used the 5% ammonium dichromate when trying to print negs developed for silver printing originally and my printing times were 1 hour - 3 hours (I started one too late in the day and it was like 3 hours before I decided that it was as good as it was going to get at sunset that day.
Originally Posted by nze
I did some Ziatype printing this weekend too.