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Newbie Bromoil Help!

  1. Dan Dozer
    So I've been playing around a little with bromoil and want very much to do more of it. However, I've been having great difficulty getting my prints started in the right direction and I'm not sure what to change. I've had very limited success so far.

    My general problem seems to be that there appears to be too much ink getting on the print in the first inking passes and the darks in the print get to muddied up. I can take the saran wrap to them and start to clean them up but from everything I've read, it shouldn't be happening like this. I also seem to get ink in the highlights that I can clear up with the brushes - only by washing in a tray with a sponge.

    Two issues that I see may be contributing to this and this is where I need some advice. Note that I have both Gene Laughter's and Derek Watkins's books and have the supplies, inks, and photo paper that they recommend.

    I live in the desert southwest where right now the temperature during the day is about 112 degrees. Even with my little air conditioner going in my darkroom, the temperature in it while working is usually about 85 degrees. I'm thinking that the ink I'm using is too thick due to the heat and doesn't have a chance to go on the matrix correctly. I haven't tried thinning my ink yet, but I'm about to try to see what that does.

    Note that in Watkins's book on page 89 he shows a print after initial inking. There is a lot of detail showing on that print while I'm not getting any detail at all with the initial inking.

    Help please - any advice is welcome.
  2. pcyco
    pcyco
    hallo dan

    i´m also a beginner (too less time)
    my first tryings with brushes were not so good.
    then i used rolls (the small ones 12 cm long white foam from the diy-shop) and it worked well.
    it is easy to remove some ink and put it on again.
    if you want to use rolls buy the sort with the round edges, in the other way you might get stripes all across the picture.

    thisa is one of mine:


    in autumn i will try it again with brushes (lets see)

    greetings from austria

    thomas
  3. kirkslog
    kirkslog
    Hi dan this artical from amateur photographer 1923 might help "Bromoil in India, Bombay" Bromoil in a hot climate...1923. ...in fact we have heard from others in India that many photographic processes which can be worked with complete certainty in England are altogether differant at high temperatures which are unavoidable there.-May I suggest the following solution to your difficulty.....the use of a neutral fixing bath may be avoided, and hence the thousands of blisters, by bleaching the bromide print immediately after development-leaving the operation of fixing-out at this stage. After bleaching and washing the print may be fixed in an acid bath. It would be well, however to omit the alum, using only potassium metabisulphite. The strength of the hypo bath need not exceed 1.oz, in 10.oz, of water, and after five minutes immersion of the print the bath may be gradually weakend until no trace of hypo remains....kirk again..I only ink up bromoil and oil prints in the winter from October until April once the temerature reaches 20.c I stop because I get flat-muddy soft prints......In france and europe bromoil workers use very soft ink..which can be poured from a milk jar its that soft and they get nice contrasty images the reason for this is they soak the matrix at a high temprature i.e. 35.c as a starter, but work at much higher levels than this..The other possible cause of the ink taking all other is you might be printing to dark, try to keep the highlights bright and clear if you can, are you using digital negatives again this can result in the matrix being over=printed..try a more dilute developer....................hope some of these ideas might point you in the right direction...kirk
  4. Dan Dozer
    Dan Dozer
    Thanks Thomas and Kirk - I'll try your suggestions.

    Kirk - I'm not working with digital negs - they are straight prints from normal negs. One thing that seems a little strange is that the matrix seems a little too "green" to me so maybe there is a problem with my exposures. My ink is definitely stiffer than "pourable" so I think I'll try to thin it down a little. I'm suspecting that the combination of the heat and low humidity this time of year is causing problems both with the matrix and the inking process.
  5. kirkslog
    kirkslog
    ok dan...looks like your not over exposing the paper with traditional negs what paper are you using ? some times when I used kentmere doc art if the paper was overexposed the bleach-tan stage would often take much longer than normal to clear and this would sometimes leave a green tint and sometimes a brown tint even after fixing another possible cause is washing the paper for too short a time I washed for two hours, though in a warm climate the hypo fix usually clears much quicker than when its cold...another possible reason for your problems could be your made-up bleach-tan solution ,did you use distlled water and a drop 1.cc of sulphuric acid...here in the UK some past members of the Bromoil Circle of GB did add sulphuric acid and some members did not depending on there local water supply and if it is hardened or not hardened ? One past member actually brought his Welsh water with him to soak his matrix if giving a demonstraton of inking-up. It also helps if you can print and bleach and tan at around the same temperature 20.c. Keep the inks in the fridge before use, and inkup early in the morning before it gets too warm.
    ......eventually you will find a route and great things will happen it will....kirk
  6. Dan Dozer
    Dan Dozer
    Thanks Kirk,

    Everything I'm doing is per Gene Laughter's directions in his book with Kentmere VC Fineprint paper and his bleaching kit of chemicals.

    When I over expose at 1 filter grade less, I am having some difficulty completely clearing in the bleach bath. Normally, if I keep flipping the paper during the clearing (as opposed to just agitating the tray), it will clear, but some of the very darkest blacks are pretty stubborn unless I bleach for over 10 minutes (not recommended by Gene). I'll have to start looking at different temperatures and stuff.
  7. kirkslog
    kirkslog
    Hi there dan...do you use a two-bath formula..bath A Bleach and bath B tan....or do you use a single bleach-tan solution ? what developer do you use. I developed my bromoil prints in ilford multigrade 1:9 for 3.minutes a plain water bath and then 5. minutes in a plain hypo fix then a 30.minute wash. Later I used a single bleach-tan solution for 8-12 minutes with constant gentle aggitation the bromide image would normally be bleached out in around 4.minutes. If those dark blacks are not going after 8-12 minutes I would sometimes make up a fresh bleach-tan bath and put the print through again it's often due to an over exposed print that causes this or not washing the paper for too long and the temperature of all water and solutions is about 21.c....I only worked with Kentmere doc art...members of the bromoil circle of GB use kentmere VC Fineprint and ADOX Forma fine art paper and ilford fibre matt papers......keep trying you'll get there ....kirk
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