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Thread: adventures in calotypes

  1. #11
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    Hi Don,

    I know exactly what you mean! Earl was talking about dry plate, and over at APUG there is all that discussion about emulsion making. I have all the ingredients here already... but I don't need yet another direction to go in right now!

    I'm really pleased that I'm finally getting results... making calotypes and salt prints is something I've been wanting to do for a while, and this year I got at it again with this new paper. The new paper makes all the difference. The paper I was using before had lots of problems with fogging and staining.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  2. #12
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    Here's the salt print from that last calotype. Bigger ones coming soon... I'm stuck because I don't have the right size bottle to make more sensitizer. More bottles and more chemicals are on their way from B&S.


    Bennett Valley Grange Salted Print par Ned, on ipernity
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  3. #13
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    It took me a long time to finally get to a task that ended up taking 15 minutes, but yesterday I mixed up some more sensitizer for calotypes ( DH2O, acetic acid and silver nitrate ). I filtered my old batch then added the new, so now I have enough to be able to immerse a larger calotype. Now I've got all the ingredients and supplies to try a 7x11 inch calotype using Canson Vidalon Vellum.... hopefully in the next couple weeks!
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 06-08-2015 at 10:35 PM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  4. #14
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    The adventure continues! Here is my first try at a "full size" calotype and salt print using this kind of paper. This calotype is 8 x 11 inches. I ran into one unexpected problem, but all in all it went better than I could have hoped for.

    The canson vidalon vellum paper works wonderfully for this calotype process, but it is tricky to handle and needs to be immersed at each step instead of floated, and must be dried carefully between blotters at each stage to avoid wrinkles. I used larger volumes of each solution to make it easier to immerse the paper quickly, and that worked very well.

    Here is the calotype and the salt print I made from it:


    Burbank Oak Calotype par Ned, on ipernity


    Burbank Oak Salt Print par Ned, on ipernity

    The problem I ran into is that the paper got wavy and buckled in my paper holder. That is the main reason the photograph is soft. The lens was also wide open, which also causes a little softness but not this much. It's also why the edges are not straight and there is a little bleed-through of light around the edges. I think all this means is that I need to change the blotter again between sensitizing and exposing the calotype, not a serious problem.

    All in all a success!

    It's also taking some practice to learn how to salt print these. They print very much faster than I'm used to with normal commercial paper negatives. A member of the calotype society at flicker suggested using a paper diffusor and that works great and brings the printing process under control, and makes it very much like the paper negative printing I'm used to. I find making salt prints very fun. This print was toned with gold borax.

    Calotypes are really slow. To give you an idea, this exposure was 14 minutes at f/11. A pre-flashed commercial paper negative ( Adorama house brand VCRC ) would have taken 2/3 of a second at f/11.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 06-28-2015 at 07:49 PM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  5. #15
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    And here is my effort from the holiday weekend here in the U.S. I made the calotype Friday morning and printed it Sunday afternoon.

    For the calotype, a change of blotters while it was drying solved the problem with the paper buckling in the holder.


    Oak calotype par Ned, on ipernity


    Oak Salt Print par Ned, on ipernity

    Camera is a simple homemade foamcore box with one element of a 1914 B&L RR lens from an otherwise hopeless old Kodak 3A.

    Calotype exposure was 25 minutes at f/22 on a sunny morning.

    The salt print was first toned in gold borax toner for 35 minutes, then I added 2ml of 2% NH4SCN solution for an additional 30 minutes. This shifts the tone toward burgundy, but it is subtle compared to using a second bath of gold thiocyanate toner ( which would also take it far more neutral ). I discovered this last year when I was trying out many toning combinations for the print exchange here at f295, and it has become one of my favorites.

    I retouched the pinhole on the calotype with a soft pencil before printing. An advantage of paper negatives! If you look very very closely, you can just barely see where it was, but it is not noticeable.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 07-06-2015 at 09:11 PM.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  6. #16
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    Nice work, Ned. Thanks for sharing your processes and experiences. I'd love to get in to alt processes some day myself, and info like this would be very handy.

  7. #17
    Really impressive Ned.
    Nice image and following your work through/problem solving is enlightening and well done,thanks for sharing.
    I'm trying to resist dabbling in Calotype techniques but you aren't making it very easy,hope I can hold out till you get going with your next process techniques in carbon and gum.
    Thanks again for sharing(I think,LOL!).
    Don

  8. #18
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    Nice work, Ned. I like the look of the negatives a lot. They are very beautiful on their own!
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  9. #19
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    Many of the early calotypists displayed the calotypes themselves at exhibitions. These would be lovely in a backlit frame of some kind.

    I've had a few "challenges" since I made these, ( one of them involved my darkslide pushing the calotype out of the holder and having it nearly fly away at the beach when I pulled the holder out of the camera... I got to see an undeveloped calotype in the sunshine for the first time ) I'm in the midst of playing with oil prints these days, but I hope to make a lot more calotypes this year.

    As this continues, I think I'll take the thread over to Jon's Gogebic Photography Forum
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  10. #20
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    Glad to hear this, Ned. I joined Jon's forum recently and I'd love more f295 members to do so, too. I think the more of us that stick together, the better. For anyone interested, I think Jon said he'd allow open application from f295 members until the end of January.

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