Album prints not working... And also saltprints... WHY???
I was trying some pop processes lately. I was impressed by the Centennial POP papers and I wanted to experiment with some home made printing out process different than cyanotype. Cyanotypes are great and easy but so far is the only process that didn't ever cause me problems like anything else.
With albumen papers I prepared 500 ml of albumen following carefully instructions in my books and crossing those informations with other sources (internet). The albumen solution was stored in the fridge aged 7 days. Today I tried coating the first papers. The problem is that when I put silver nitrate on top of it the brushing lifts the albumen away, no matter how hard and long I dried the albumen coat with an hair drier. I made an experiment also without silver nitrate using plain water: the water and the brush stroke dissolve again the albumen creating annoying streaks in the final exposed paper. The final exposed paper, by the way, looks terribly ugly. There's a lot of white spots, streaks, damps, everything but a pleasant image. So maybe the coating is not the only problem here. Could be the albumen solution? Could be the silver nitrate gone bad? I know maybe I could use a casserole and dip the entire paper in the silver nitrate instead of using brushes. But I don't have a casserole to dedicate to such things and I don't have preservatives for the silver nitrate. Silver nitrate is quite expensive in Italy and to make 250-500 ml of 12% solution that could go bad because of pouring out and in again... it's not easy thing to accept. But I've read of people that coat both the albumen and the silver nitrate by brushing and those have no problem at all. My books contain no troubleshooting and don't even mention the problems I had. I tried also coating with a rod, but I got the same problems.
I've tried also salted paper, but I had problems also there: inconstant results. Each print is slightly different than the other (slight different tone or contrast with the same negative/exposure/washing). Also I had also stains in some prints (e.g. reddish/orangish stains which are noticeable in daylight only or graysh stains). I tried also here to coat the silver nitrate both with a rod and with a brush... I though those stains could be puddles of silver nitrate, but I was really careful to brush the sensitizer in the most evenly way. I thought that the salting solution was gone bad and made a new one using a different gelatin, but nothing changed. I don't know what to do...
I'm really frustrated. I have tons of books and have read everything available on the web. Everything seems executed exactly as the texts describe, but then I got problems that is like nobody else has...
Last year I had to give up with Van Dyke for the same reasons... Couldn't make a single decent print... always problems