Archive ”altprocess”

Eric and Tzipora

Eric and Tziopra

November 7, 2013

Dry plate tintype

October 21, 2013
Eric and Tzipora

The Colors of Cyan…

September 8, 2013
Patio, early 2013

Carbon printing

May 2, 2013
2-part traditional cyanotype chemistry

2-part cyanotypes …

January 29, 2013
Multiple Brookes

5 ways to improve …

January 7, 2013
Widowmaker II, unfinished

5 ways to improve …

December 31, 2012
The Widow

The Making of a Wi…

December 25, 2012
Also taken this spring: gold-toned kallitype on arches HP 140#. Shot with a Mamiya 7, HP5+, developed in Xtol.

And this is gold toner #2 at the end of its life. Initially, toning happens very quickly - perhaps 3 minutes for the first shot I posted. This shot toned for 15 minutes and, as you can see, took on a more sepia characteristic. This is the same 250mL of toner as the previous two, and I believe this was the fourth reuse of that toner. All three of these are 11x14.

I have actually pushed this toner farther. Beyond this point, it can take a half an hour to tone a print, and I suspect it isn't as archival any longer.

Boy’s Room

July 17, 2012
Taken this spring; Philadelphia, looking north from the Chestnut St. bridge. Gold toned kallitype on Arches HP 140#. Shot with a Widelux FV and Delta 3200, developed with Perceptol.

This gold toning is about the third reuse of 250mL of gold toner #2, toned with the same batch of toner as yesterday's print. Development was identical between the two. The color has shifted slightly warmer and is still very effective at both preserving the print (replacing silver with gold) and changing its color.


July 16, 2012
From this year's Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby: Erik and Hedy of Frank's Kitchens. Gold-toned kallitype on Arches 140# HP.

Another aspect of my experimentation during PrintFest was control over the toning characteristics of reused gold toner. Straight gold toner (gold chloride and citric acid) form a good, but not great, toner that can tone prints purple if used in sufficient concentration. Lower concentrations tend toward a cold black. But the toner has a short shelf life once mixed, and really only functions as one-shot; I hate doing that with a $50 bottle of gold chloride that will only tone about 20 prints - $2.50 per print - palladium, which tones substantially nicer, is only $7.50 a print. Denser blacks with palladium. Very pleasant. Well worth the expense.

But gold toner #2 uses thiourea and tartaric acid instead of citric. Its blacks are almost as nice as platinum. And, best of all, this formulation has a long shelf life and reuses well. I've stretched up to 9 prints out of 500mL of toner. I'd like to continue doing this, but needed to better understand the color that comes out of this toner over its lifespan.

This print is toned using fresh gold toner #2. Some more coming up will show off a little bit of how that changes over its life.

Erik and Hedy

July 15, 2012
From the PA Burlesque Festival on June 30th: Francean Fanny. Selenium toned kallitype on Arches 140# HP.

I have no idea what the dot is; something got on the paper that didn't belong there. I actually like this print cropped as a square and expect that if I frame it I'll just crop that part out. But as a learning piece from my week-long PrintFest: no streaking from fumed silica; successful selenium toning without substantial staining. This is probably the pinnacle of what I've gotten selenium toning to accomplish. It's certainly more fickle than gold or palladium, which is a shame.

Francean Fanny

July 14, 2012
From the PA Burlesque Festival, June 30th: Donna Touch. Selenium-toned kallitype on Arches 140# HP.
Continuing down the selenium road: this is about 20 minutes of selenium toning, after having pre-fixed for 2 minutes. It's a touch more brown than I wanted, but it's in the ballpark.
There's also some slight streaking evident in the print once you get up close to it. Each of these sheets of paper were coated with fumed silica (Aerosil 380, to be precise) before printing. This fumed silica is hydrophillic, meaning it will soak up water like nobody's business. As a result the page will accept more sensitizer, and will yield a greater density of blacks.
With Stonehenge paper, or with Herschel (my favorite, hand-made in France), the fumed silica (whose particulate size is smaller than cigarette smoke particles) easily adheres to the face of the paper, soaking up sensitizer and turning in to beautiful, even prints. On this hot-pressed paper, the fumed silica sat on the page too thick with nothing to adhere to, apparently - while applying the sensitizer, the fumed silica had a tendency to pull off the page and streak.
This print was made earlier than the one I posted yesterday, before I decided how to approach the streaking (which I don't find unpleasant in this particular print). I eventually settled on using a wide brush to quickly brush off the excess before coating, leaving significantly less fumed silica on the page. There still appears to be some increase in dmax, without streaking.

Fan Dance

July 13, 2012
John, of Frank's Kitchens. Selenium toned kallitype on Arches HP 140#.

I'm understanding selenium toning a little better as a result of this week's PrintFest. Selenium and Kallitypes don't get along very well generally. And now I understand why.

The sensitizer for kallitypes is Ferric Oxalate and Silver Nitrate. Usually, conversations about failures with kallitypes center around the ferric iron being reduced to ferrous iron from exposure to UV light - but with selenium toning, it's actually about residual silver nitrate. With a typical kallitype print, the residual silver nitrate is along for the ride until the final bath of sodium thiosulfate ("fixer"), with toning happening before the fix. But if you do that with a selenium toner, the selenium and the silver nitrate will react quickly to stain the heck out of the print.

Which means that, prior to toning, the print has to be fixed in order to remove the excess silver nitrate.

There's a delicate balancing act to be done, though. Too much initial fix will slightly bleach the print, and will reduce the future reactivity of the selenium toner.

This print was fixed for a minute, and then stuck in a selenium bath to partially tone for 10 minutes. It came out pretty much the way I envisioned it. Longer toning should have resulted in a more black (well, gray) print.


July 12, 2012
It's only Wednesday, but I'm already exhausted! I've been printing all day every day this week: 8 hours on Monday, 7 Tuesday, and 10 today.
Monday was about experimentation: trying to improve the quality of my kallitypes on Stonehenge paper (trying to reduce my cost per print, since my preferred paper is handmade and imported from France); using fumed silica; working with different developers; experimenting with selenium toner for kallitypes. No good prints came of it. The prints got progressively worse through the day, and eventually I realized that the (sodium acetate, ammonium citrate, and tartaric acid) developer I mixed a year ago had finally become depleted (likely, too acidic). But in the process, I learned a bit.
Tuesday was about getting back on track: switching to things that I knew worked and applying what I learned on Monday. I fell back to Arches hot pressed 140# paper (which is an excellent paper for Kallitypes). I stuck with Henry Hall's 1903 developer (sodium acetate and tartaric acid), which works more consistently. And I printed one negative over and over, trying to understand exactly what I had learned on Monday. The shot here is from yesterday's printing run; it's the final culmination of all of the variables that I had in play on Monday.
Today was about generating prints using my newest learned methods. I have 9 more kallitypes drying: some toned with selenium, some toned with gold.
So, back to this shot: this is Madame Corsetiere of Dragontown Corsets, shot backstage at the recent Pennsylvania Burlesque Festival. Printed on Arches 140# hot pressed block; toned with gold.

Madame Corsetiere

July 11, 2012
Continuing in the "Frank's Kitchens" series: 9 layers of gum, featuring Joe hard at work. I think I may print another layer here; I'm not quite satisfied with the color balance at the moment (which is kinda funny, because I'm color blind). Aah, the trouble with gum prints; I never know when I'm done :)The paper is Stonehenge Warm White.


May 15, 2012

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