Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
You're probably right about the neg. It's a Polaroid type 55 neg cleared in sodium sulfite. It prints well on grade 3 paper, but too flat for salt prints. I first used my newly made UV light box and my print was disappointingly flat. But the 11A sun in Northern California sure added more contrast, but not quite enough. I might want to experiment boosting the contrast by using the potassium dichromate that came with the kit. I have started taking notes. It's sure a different world than silver gelatin printing. Love the look of salt prints though.
I have been making successful salt prints for well over 15 years. If this negative prints well on Grade 3 paper, it definitely has far too low a density range to print well with salt. The closest you can get it to an appropriate range is to sepia tone the negative. It still will not quite be there, but it will be close. You would be better off to start over with an appropriate negative. FP4+ developed to totality is the best answer with modern materials. Too few people today have even heard of total development, and far less know how to achieve it. It is a simple process which needs to be learned. My first job in photography in the late 1930's was developing film, all of which was developed to totality. I still use the process today if iflm is to be printed with salt or albumen.

As for using concentrate NaCl as a fixer, Talbot never used this for prints from his calotypes. He did attempt it with photogenic drawings as well as his other early experiments. My conversations with Michael Gray, long time curator of Laycock Abbey, informed me that although unhappy with the difference in color, Talbot knew that he had to make concessions if his process was to endure. The use of rapid fixers will definitely change not only the density of the salt print, but also the color.

Jim