Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 39

Thread: adventures in calotypes

  1. #1
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    522

    adventures in calotypes

    I've been learning about calotypes. I think of them as a natural next step in paper negatives, taking many of the qualities that I love about paper negatives to a new level. A place to learn about them is The Calotype Society at Flickr, both by reading the discussions and especially by following the links to sources that are mentioned there.

    Lately I have started making small calotypes on a new kind of paper, in order to more easily learn without wasting too much silver. I'm excited because this new paper seems to work well. On a whim, I thought I'd write down all the steps from preparing a calotype to finished salt print. There are a lot of steps!

    In practice, these are not as onerous as it seems because you would normally prepare batches of iodized paper for calotypes and batches of salted paper for the prints ahead of time.

    Calotype ( this is Greenlaw's process calotype ):

    - obtain paper and cut to size
    - soak in iodizing solution for an hour
    - dry overnight
    - sensitize in silver nitrate solution for 5 minutes
    - wash twice, 5 minutes each
    - dry overnight between blotter paper
    - expose the calotype ( 5 or 10 or 20 minutes or more! ), must be done on day after sensitizing.
    - prepare gallic acid in warm water, let cool.
    - develop calotype in gallic acid w/ aceto-nitrate of silver, 10 or 20 minutes ( or more )
    - wash twice, 5 minutes each
    - fix in hypo twice, 10 minutes each
    - brief wash in water
    - sodium sulfite bath for 3 minutes
    - wash for a couple hours in many changes of water
    - dry between blotters for 2-3 days, changing blotters several times

    Salt print:

    - obtain paper and cut to size
    - float on salting solution 3 minutes
    - dry overnight
    - coat paper with silver nitrate solution
    - dry at least 3 hours
    - make contact print ( up to several hours )
    - wash in dilute salt water, 3 minutes
    - wash twice in water, 10 minutes each
    - tone in one or more toners ( up to 20 or 30 minutes in each )
    - brief wash
    - fix in hypo twice, 3 minutes each
    - brief wash in water
    - sodium sufite bath for 3 minutes
    - wash for a couple hours in many changes of water
    - dry flat on clean glass overnight
    - if needed, flatten under a stack of books for a week or more.

    Enjoy your print!

    A more practical account of the needed time assumes you've already iodized the calotype or salted the printing paper. This is the time you must plan for when making a calotype or print:

    To make the negative it takes about 15 minutes to sensitize the paper the night before, then it takes about an hour to develop it the next day after exposure. Obviously you can do other things ( sleep! ) when it is drying or washing.

    A salt print involves about 10 minutes to prepare the paper in the morning, then it takes me about an hour and 15 minutes to process it after it is exposed. Then washing and drying.

    I've only made two calotypes so far with my new paper ( canson vidalon vellum ), here is the very first try, and the salt print I made from it:


    Abandoned house calotype par Ned, on ipernity


    Abandoned house salt print par Ned, on ipernity

    Hopefully to improve over time and also make nice big calotypes for contact printing.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 02-09-2015 at 01:01 AM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  2. #2
    Very nice results, Ned. I do like the color.

    ~Joe
    "There was just that moment and now there's this moment and in between there is nothing. Photography, in a way, is the negation of chronology."-Geoff Dyer, "The Ongoing Moment"
    My Writing Blog: Joe Van Cleave's Blog
    My Pinhole Blog: Obscure Camera
    Visit my F295 Gallery

  3. #3
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Posts
    1,810
    very nice calotypes Ned! great results... maybe I missed it in the post, but can you share which paper you're using?

  4. #4
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    522
    This was Canson Vidalon Vellum 90gsm.

    After just two tries with it, it does not appear to need acidifying, and no fog or stains so far.
    It does curl like crazy, so it must be immersed rather than floated in all solutions.

    It is so translucent that the calotype reminds me more of a sheet of film than a paper negative.

    I am going to keep working with this paper.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  5. #5
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, United States
    Posts
    5,744
    Blog Entries
    7
    Very cool, Ned. I have thought about this, but I think if and when I decide to make negatives from scratch, I am going to make silver gelatin dry plates on glass. While the calotype process is fun, and creates the links with Talbot and Herschel, it seems like a lot of work for what you get. But then, to most people, everything that we do here seems like a lot of work. . . . . .

    These are very nice results. I like the idea of going big. How big are you planning?
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  6. #6
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    522
    Earl, yes I agree with what you wrote, and it depends very much on what you want. If you are after a result more like film and less like a paper negative, this process is a lot of work for what you get. It is also finicky and prone to a lot of little details that can go wrong. I like the texture and the process itself and working with paper negatives. And, as you say, there is a connection to history too. If you make dry plates, you still get the real satisfaction of having made a photograph from negative to positive entirely with homemade materials! There is definitely something special about holding a print that you have made entirely from scratch.

    By the way, there is an interesting "middle ground" between paper calotypes and dry plate. Just like albumen printers brought the image up out of the paper for crisper detail compared to a salt print, Baldus used gelatin in his calotype process and got the image up into the gelatin. His prints have amazing detail for a paper process. Some google searching will find examples of his work. He made glass negatives too, so he took that step from paper to glass!

    I have two foamcore cameras for larger calotypes. One is a fixed focus camera and the other is a sliding box camera like one that Joe made. Both can take paper up to 8.5 x 11 inches, my favorite being 7x11 inches. So I'm aiming at making 7x11 calotypes. I've made calotypes in both of these cameras, but had a lot of problems with fogging and staining, and I think this new paper is going to be the key to success! I'm going to keep playing with the small size a while longer: I need to learn how to develop these calotypes better, with a little more contrast. The change in materials means I need more experience to learn what a good one looks like under the safelight.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 02-09-2015 at 09:05 PM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  7. #7
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    522
    Here's my latest, made 2 days ago. ( They take two days to dry between blotters, under a stack of books. )
    I think I'm getting closer to a negative that will make a good salt print. Will print this soon, and maybe I'll post more of my attempts in this thread.


    Egret Pond par Ned, on ipernity

    This image was made by putting the calotype in a clear printfile sleeve, then on a sheet of glass with a light under it, and taking a digi-snap. So it is similar to what the paper negative looks like held up to a window.

    For comparison, you can see one of Greenlaw's actual calotypes in the following link, he was a real master.

    L'Oeil de la Photographie
    ( click on the gold-colored Vittala Temple thumbnail to see the calotype )
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 02-16-2015 at 02:53 AM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  8. #8
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    522
    Salt print of that last calotype was not as successful as it could have been. I should have given it more sun. But this gives an idea of what it looks like. I like the way the trees in the background look.

    EgretPondspsmall.jpg

    The pond was covered with bluegreen algae which is why the reflections are so muted. I'll go back again in a couple months when it has died off.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 02-23-2015 at 06:52 PM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  9. #9
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    522
    This is the Bennett Valley Grange, the oldest still-active Grange in the United States. The California State Grange convention later this year has an exhibition, and I'm hoping to make a calotype and salt print of this Grange hall to enter. I went Sunday to see what the angles look like and make practice run. I think the density and contrast in this calotype might make a good salt print... starting to get some better control!


    Bennett Valley Grange Calotype par Ned, on ipernity
    The building is painted white, and I might try for a day with softer light to make a big calotype.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 03-10-2015 at 02:02 AM. Reason: added link
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  10. #10
    Wow! Ned,
    I really like your images and at the same time am sort of upset that you've perked my interest(Can't go off in another direction! no matter how tempting you make it look)LOL! Seriously,beautiful job,keep up the good work.
    Don

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •