I just stumbled upon this thread today, but as I have recently taken up alt processes myself, I can offer a few observations from the perspective of the recently initiated.

I began with the Van Dyke Brown process and found it very pleasing, though I do feel in retrospect that my results would have been better had I used a different paper to print on. If you are contemplating platinum as a future endeavor (as I was at the time) it is a nice starting point to get you used to the printing out-concept as well as coating, etc.

I tried the kalllitype process next, and found it to be difficult. (Granted, I did not give it much time.) From images I have seen reproduced, it is obvious that this process is capapble to extraordinary results in the right hands.

So, slightly humbled by the kallitype process, I took the big step and ordered the chemicals necessary to try the Dreaded, Expensive, Magical, Nearly Impossible, Time-Consuming Palladium printing. I started with palladium mainly because using any platinum seemd a bit to costly at the outset. Here are my observations (these are personal observations only, so your results may vary):

1. It is NOT difficult. If anything, it is a bit easier than silver printing. I am far from a master, and the second print I processed was very nice (if I say so myself). Dick Arenz and Carl Weese both have great books on the process. Do get these if you are interested in the process.

2. It is NOT time-consuming (at least not in terms of the time required to make a print. It may be time cosuming when you become obsessed with it&#33. I can coat paper, expose, and process a print in under an hour, and most of that time is spent standing around waiting -- and it can be done with the lights on.

3. It is really not that expensive. It certainly is not cheap, but then no one would say that photography is a cheap hobby! I do not think it is very much more expensive than silver printing. When using conventional silver paper, I usually go through several sheets (at best) before I get an acceptable print, not to mention a good one. With palladium, I can often do this in one sheet!

Try it. If you use small negatives (2 1/4x 2 1/4 or 4/5) the chemistry will last you quite a while. I think I calculated that for roughtly $100 you can whip up 45 ml of palladium chloride, which should be enough to coat 36 or so 8x10s (or 124 4x5s&#33. That's not too bad if you do the division.