Tag Archives: liquid light

chloro bromide emulsion #2

its been a while since i made the emulsion i wrote about here
but that isn’t to say it hasnt been on my mind since a year ago january.  i’ve  been distracted with life and trying to finish off all my film, and making more sun and retina
and cyanotype prints.  but this morning i decided to make some more go-juice.

i dont’ really have a recipe that  belongs to someone else i follow but i mix and match hoping it will work,  this time around here is what i am doing:

 

120cc water
4g iodized salt
12g potassium bromide
1cc of watered down D72 !
20g hard bloom gelatin

( my last batch was knox gelatin, it worked OK for a little while but eventually the gelatin broke down and made a mess )

i heated up the water and added and stirred all the ingredients so they are mixed and dissolved well.  the water i put in a cheap metal pot
and i heated it up on the single burner i use to roast my coffee.  when everything got dissolved and well mixed i took the salted gelatin out of the pot
it’s now sitting on the enlarger table.  i’ll go back down in a little bit and re-heat it to liquid again as i mix the silver nitrate and water together.

next is the silver nitrate i put on an apron, gloves and EYE GOGGLES and measured 32g silver nitrate and 120cc warm water.
and mixed this until it was completely dissolved.

with the safelight on and the salted gelatin warm i stirred like mad and slowly mixed the silver nitrate into the gelatin.
eyesight is nothing to play with, and silver nitrate will blind you without a second thought.  always use eye protection !

anyways i dribbled and mixed the silver nitrate in there and the whole mixture turned white.
i’ll use this as a paper emulsion, so i won’t bother to wash it.  i put the ball jar into a locking air tight container
and then in a black paper bag and stuck it in the refrigerator to set.

i have no clue if it will work or not, i’m looking forward to finding out soon !

in a few days i will coat some paper and expose it and post my results

 

OK it is the next day and i really couldn’t help myself …

the emulsion was put in one of those hinged jars that have a rubber seal, like the stuff you might
have on your counter with coffee beans or sugar or whatever ..  the bell jar was inside that ..  the whole thing in
a black bag photo paper usually comes in when it is in the box ..  i didn’t really trust that the jar i put it in was light proof
so i bagged it when i put it in the little fridge.

the moment of truth ..

i brought the jar to the red room and opened it, and it set ( WHEW ! ) i always worry i didn’t put enough gelatin in there
and it would be a watery mess.  it was emulsion alright

i scooped a little out and warmed / melted it and painted it onto some card stock.

its drying now …  but when its dry i will rip it in half and hide half of it.  i’ll put something on the card and turn the lights on
and make a photogram in some dektol and see if this stuff works.  after that i will put s cut piece in my K1000 and make a test strip to determine
exposure times and iso’s.  and easy way i usually do is f 11, block the lens off and make a series of 1 second exposures. and develop the strip to see what happens.

 

OK …

well i realized the watered down 1cc ( if that ) of liquid i added at the end was dektol, not hypo
i hate amber bottles !

i did my first 2 tests and coated some more paper.

the photogram i made i counted to 6 with the room light on and it made a killer photogram.
i handheld a slip inside a camera f2 $ 15 seconds and it looks to be about right.

they are still washing and more paper is drying so i can’t really say for sure what everything is.
i know if in the camera ends up being too tedious i make enough photograms and sun prints it won’t be an issue using this home brew emulsion

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

new caffenol, new liquid emulsion

over the last 10 years i have grabbed the caffenol c bull by the horns and wrestled it to the ground.  soon after i was given the “teaspoon” recipe i added a tiny bit of print developer and modified the developer so i could use it as my main go-to film developer.  eventually i changed how i processed film again, by splitting my development like a divided developer / alkaline bath  and began using the print developer i had always been using for film ( first ansco 130, now dektol ) and the caffenol c ( with a splash of print developer in it ) one after the other.  i began doing this first for prints, to jump start the developer so it wouldn’t take as long for the caffenol c to work.  from my experiments i learned it took 2 or 3x the normal developing time ( 1 min rc, 2 mins fiber ) for prints in caffneol, and i really am impatient and don’t want to wait 3 mins ( or 6mins ) for prints.  i shuffled the prints between print developer and coffee, until it was done .. and i figured, why not try this with film, so i began doing that.

i tend to not make developer often.  the sumatran caffenol lasts for hundreds of films and hundreds of prints.  i have a tub with 6L of developer in it, and usually take 1L out and put a new L in.  last night i got rid of my 6L and made 5 fresh with old instant coffee i had lying around.  we drank some of this instant on camping trips and when we had a power outage this summer, it didnt’ taste very good, so it makes more sense to me to make developer out of it 🙂   i free-poured the coffee, and carbonate and vit c as i always did, and i made 12 cups (around 1L) of sumatran coffee and added it in.

i’ve decided to use the developer 1-shot for now on.

i’m also almost done with all my film, only a few boxes left, and a few bottles left of liquid emulsion.  1’ve purchased denise ross’s book ( she runs the light farm ) on emulsoin making, and price some silver nitrate for when the magic day comes.  while i made emulsion as a wet behind the ear college student, i figure a good instruction book  from someone who knows what she is doing isn’t a bad place to start.  as i plug through these last boxes of film, and bottles of emulsion i’ll be thinking of my new adventure, making my own emulsion for use in-camera and under-enlarger.  i’ve mised some tintype reversal developer ( i hope this home brew recipe works ! ) so i am running on all cylinders again after a year or 2 of back-peddling.

 

i’ll post more often as i finish all these things, and start making my own.

Posted in liquid emulsion Also tagged , |

recent email: hey, why don’t YOU do wet plate?!

just got an email today and someone asked:  why don’t you do wet plate photography?

i had to think for a little while, not long and my answer was: because i really don’t need to.

==

i was as a broke college student in the 1980s.  i took photography classes through the end of their numbered courses ( i think “photo 5” was the last one ) so i did 2 directed studies my last 2 semester ( last year ) of college.  in these self-designed classes i made an emulsion from scratch buying ingredients from chemical suppliers and i taught myself how to make, coat and develop dry plates.

there were photography books, mostly art history ones, some “how to identify a process” books, things like “keepers of the light” but no internet, no close knit community to ask questions and learn from, and no  one i knew had any idea or ideas of what i was supposed to do … i had a 1904 photography annual picked up at a book store that i used to thumb through from time to time.  it had recipes in it for developers fixers, old ads for cameras and supplies as well as recipes for emulsions … i bought small quantities of the materials i needed and pots from a 2nd hand store  and  mixed the few items together.  i had taken chemistry classes in high school so i was careful and didn’t blind myself … i cooked up an emulsion and it worked OK i guess, but it was expensive and time consuming (and something i had to do in the middle of the night when my room mates were asleep ).  that was when i learned about liquid light ( made by rockland colloid ).  it is emulsion in a bottle, and it ended up being what i used instead of my home brewed emulsion … and the man who answered the phone there was extremely helpful person  (he STILL answers the phone and he STILL is extremely helpful!)

i read about historical processes and binding agents used to stick things to glass  … and i bought a variety of things to experiment with.  i used collodion, varnish, albumen, cement and glues ..  none of them worked, or worked the way i wanted them to work.  i eventually realized the emulsion was gelatin based so i bought some unflavored knox gelatin and it worked great.  i coated plates not by free pouring but with a paint brush (foam) and got a thin coat which sometimes worked best.  i coated large and small pieces of glass, mostly window glass i found on the street on “trash day”  sometimes an image on each side and eventually made contact prints of the images  eventually i got bored with the whole making prints on glass thing, and drifted away from it but over the years i have  kept doing it in one way or another.  now it is 26 years later and i am still making dry plates and probably by the end of the year i will give up store bought ready-made emulsions and photo paper+film.  i suppose i could switch over to wet plate making.  there is less hassle ..  just plates collodion, a silver bath, developer and fixer.  its a simple process compared to dry plates.

but i don’t mind making dry plates, they are fun, and i don’t  have to process the plate immediately and feel rushed.

so, i don’t do wet plate, because  …  i’m having enough fun as it is ..

===

these days it is not like 1987, you don’t have to do everything in isolation because now,

there is a website dedicated to making emulsions from scratch.  its called “the light farm”

http://www.thelightfarm.com/

there are great people there who are helpful, and know their “stuff”

i don’t really remember what emulsion i made in the middle of the night, september 1987, but i know which one i am going to make next ..its a sea water emulsion and it should be a lot of fun ..

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long term goal

i have a hard time running out of film.

every time i get close someone i see on apug.org has some outdated film and i am a sucker for that stuff …  so i buy it.  i do my best to shoot it a lot .. i am getting low in my materials, thank goodness .. only a few 100′ rolls and maybe 50-100 rolls of 35mm film
maybe 50 rolls of 120 film a few hundred sheets (each) of 5×7, 8×10 and 4×5 film … it’s been my new year resolution for the better part of 6 years to run completely out of film and i might do it this year, and i can’t wait !

i have a dream that i can’t wait to act on … its a long term goal of not shooting film anymore, but only hand coated materials.  i’ve been using hand coated materials off and on, with limited success and off/on enthusiasm for almost 30 years … and i hope to run out of EVERYTHING so i can start making my own emulsions and  oating glass, metal, plastics and paper.

why would i want to do this?

i have a few reasons …

its not that i don’t enjoy using premade paper and film, its that they are too good .. as you might see from the photographs in this blog, and on my website and on imagekind i don’t really like “perfect” … unless its for a job, and that is what my client expects … otherwise i would rather have a few imperfections here or there and enjoy making it all by hand …

 

Posted in alternative process photography, images on glass and metal, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, technique and style Also tagged , , |

limited success with home brew tintype developer

for a few weeks now i have been experimenting with various reversal developers to make

silver gelatin tintypes.  i abandoned my old stock of liquid emulsion for an unopened bottle

of liquid light i had bought maybe six years ago and never used.  i did a test coat on white paper exposed it in a camera as a paper negative and it looked great, so i figured i wouldn’t have much trouble coating metal and paper as tests as tintypes.  i followed the instructions on the rockland colloid site and coated thin, but my imges were barely visible.  im thining i’ll coat thick again.  i seemed to have the best of luck with thick coated plates since the emulsion wasn’t ag+ ,,,

i don’t have plates to post becausr, they are’t post worthy. …

i don’t plan on giving up my quest to make thest tintypes with less than wet plate danger

i have had my fun wi collodion over the years.  first as a college student, then afterwards, and while i don’t mind using it, i would rather use a less sensitive, material, and not have to cart my darkroom around with me,

i do know of collodion dry plates and could probably make them but id rather keep things simple and not deal with collodion …

 

more to follow  …..

 

 

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More tintypes

i loaded up a graflex series d plate holder yesterday
and filled it with 6 coated plates.  i exposed them heavily
hoping my dead emulsion would like extra light
and it did.  f3.8 @ an average of 3-4 minutes each exposure
noon-time-light ( heavy blue ) snow reflecting the light as well …

they were developed in my home brew reversal .. part coffee, part ansco130, part sodium carbonate, part magic
and i processed them this morning.  unfortunately i forgot the hardener in my old fashioned hypo, so some of the emulsion frilled and lifted
but i’ll re-use the plates.  the images were light, and some were coppery, and they are drying as i type this   …

i’ll warm up and pour some fresh emulsion in the next few days and see what happens next.  my developer works well ( tested it with regular paper )
it might just be my emulsion is old and not worth the bottle it is solidified in.

more to follow  …

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new dry plate tintypes

for a little under a year i have been playing with dry plate tintypes+ambrotypes.

my glass plate history began back when i was in a directed study photography class at tufts university.

the photography department ran out of numbered courses ( photo 1, photo2 &c  ) so after photo “5” i designed my own classes ( 2 directed studies  )  where i made and used old school silver emulsions.  i had bought a photography annual at a bookstore and thumbed through the pages and came up with what seemed like a simple recipe.  i bought silver nitrate from the photographers formulary ( i think it was them, it was a long time ago in 1987- )
and some gelatin and mixed up a batch in the middle of the night in our kitchen using pots + tools purchased at goodwill, so i wouldn’t contaminate any of our actual cooking tools …  it worked OK, i guess, it turned black in room light at least, but it wasn’t the best of emulsions.  rather than spend all my money on emulsion making stuff that sort of worked, i opted to buy rockland colloid’s liquid light.  it was already made and was a emulsion that worked …  so i started teaching myself the art of making dry plates  //  there was no internet or workshops or peer to peer groups back then that could help me learn.  it was all by trial and error and i eventually made
some great plates.  the next semester ( spring 1988 ) i continued with making giant glass images and printing them on photo paper.  it was a lot of fun, and some of my best images were made that year.  unfortunately, i have lost some of the giant plates ( i moved around a lot between 1988 and 2014 ) or they were damaged ( fell and broke into a thousand pieces ) but i never stopped making glass images.  between 1988+93 i made maybe 20  small images, and eventually i slowed down and stopped. until last year … now i have started to make bigger ones again using the rockland emulsion and their tintype/ambrotype kits.

thanks to the internet i have found a handful of people making their own dry plates ( glass negatives ) but there aren’t many who use this old process to make positive images.  most people who make tintypes or ambrotypes do the WET plate method.  they use collodion that has been treated with salts and then a silver nitrate bath, to sensitize the plate, and then a developer and cyanide based fixer ( or speed fixer if they want a colder toned image )  there are some great photographers who do this process seemingly effortlessly.  while i have played with collodion back in the day ..  not to make wet plates but as a potential material that the silver gelatin emulsion could stick to when i was teaching myself the whole dry plate process, not knowing then that if i waited for the collodion to DRY it probably would have worked, but i was using it WET still ..  hindsight is 20/20 it seems !  …  anyways …  instead of collodion and cyanide fixer, i opt to use the more finicky less popular dry plate tintype process. and enjoy it a lot …

after the 1870s when silver gelatin emulsion and dry plates became the new mode of photography, people devised a way to turn the images into a direct positive, much like photographers were doing with wet plate images …  singular images, no negative, and what appeared to be a positive.  street photographers started to use pre coated metal, glass and paper plates in cameras and process them in a special developer that both developed the image as a negative slowly and bleached it and fixed it and as a result, the processed plate ( glass, metal or paper ) was a direct positive.  sometimes these cameras  ( like the mandellette post card camera ) appear on ebay.  they have chemistry tanks under the camera.  the photographer stuck his arm in a long sleeve and took the exposed plate and dipped it into the chemistry and at the end into a bucket of water …
ive found recipes online in old journals ( much like the annual i got my emulsion recipe out of ), but i haven’t gotten great results from them.  the rockland kits come with a special tintype developer so i have used that until recently.  my developer went bad after the summer ( it doesn’t last as long as other paper or film developers ) so i had to try to concoct my own recipe.

first my developer was too strong and the reversal part was too weak and i got a NEGATIVE image on my metal plate.  at least i knew my emulsion was good, it was coated onto the plate in april !

then i did a very long exposure ( 4 mins ) on an dull overcast day and changed my developer a little bit and it worked pretty well.

i’ve got to tweak it a little bit more and hopefully it will work great.  it is pretty simple, based on a vintage formula but i add in my own little bit coffee developer
because, if metol or hydroquinone can do it, caffenol can do it just as well  …

strong developer no reversal

test image metal plate

 

 

successful reversed ferrotype

emulsion too dense, didn’t clear

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using a cyclone

from time to time i get asked what kind of camera i have or use or like or like to use or …

my current favorite is a cyclone #3.  it is what is called a magazine camera, or a falling plate camera.
if you google “cyclone camera” you will probably find an advertisement for it over on flickr.  i don’ t know the guy
so i’d rather not hot link to his site.  it was a box camera that had 2 speeds, as they all seemed to have, I ( instantaneous) and T ( time )
the I speed was maybe 1/50th S  F maybe 13?   i don’t know they were pretty simple and are still a lot of fun!
basically the way they work is there are sleeves that sheets of glass with emulsion used to go in, they are called septums.
my #3 has 8 septums, i think it is missing 4 of them but they don’t appear without a camera, and i really don’t need ANOTHER camera.
you can put a piece of black cardboard in the septum and then either film or paper if you coat your own glass plates like me, you can load them without the cardboard
and WITH glass plates.  the slide in vertically one after another, then the blank and then the back which has a big bedspring to apply pressure to the septums.
you make your exposures and jiggle the knob and each exposed septum FALLS to the floor.  thats where the name comes from.
i used to buy smaller formats  of this style of camera.  they came in all sorts of different sizes, landscape shapes portrait shapes, ( long and skinny ) and
sometimes had elaborate shutter controls and apertures.  the #3 is pretty simple … i aperture and 1 shutter speed and T …i also have a #5 that i recently started to use
it has 3 apertures, and the exposed plates can be retrieved from the bottom of the camera  …  it is smaller too, sort of dainty if you can call a wooden box camera dainty.

anyways i started using the #3 a year or 2 ago and really enjoy how it works.  the lens has a sweet spot, i think, at around infinity ( joke )
its big and clunky and seems to work fine, except once in a while the septums get jammed and i have to wack the camera …  and people sometimes stare.
funny thing is, no one asks me anything when im using the camera.

i tend to coat paper myself using bottled emulsion.  i use liquid light a lot, and coat paper 2 coats.  the last batch i did was in the spring, and i just started to use it.
they turned out OK, sort of.  i also am using 10year old polymax fb paper.  its probably way older than 10 years old seeing it was all given to me about 13 years ago by a friend in portsmouth nh.  it was thelast single weight paper made by kodak, and it seems to hold up well.  even if it didn’t i would use it seeing it is kind of foggy, and less contrast is always good when shooting paper negatives.

 

burning bush behind

 

i also went into providence …

tower

i went again today, but the paper is still drying on the line ..

Posted in Misc., photographs, technique and style, using vintage equipment Also tagged , , , , , , |

pine branches and needles

today i was cleaning up the darkroom a little bit

actually, i was looking for an unprocessed paper negative ( eventually found it )
and while i was putting things away, i came across a pine branch.  got it in the spring
never got a chance to use it until toda …

lumen print with hand coated paepr

this is a series of crops from the scanned original

 

pine branch lumen print, 7hours

 

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, Misc., photographs, technique and style Also tagged , , |

stack of dry plates

i have a stack of dry plates…

some were scanned, some were left out in the sun to make cyanotypes or lumen prints and some are being printed in the darkroom.
a few days ago at 9-30 i went into the darkroom and began making contact prints.  i stopped at about 1-30 to get to a pre-ordained appointment.

some of the prints i painted with watercolors, some i left as is ..

 

printed dry plate

 

 

printed dry plate

 

Posted in alternative process photography, images on glass and metal, liquid emulsion, Misc., photographs, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , |

safari

a month ago we went on a safari

downtown, in the heat, and the midday sun.
we loaded the demlar box ( 4×5 plate camera )
some hand coated 4×5 dry plates
and some film

we had some laughs, took some snapshots
photographed some strangers even

and headed home

the plates were processed in coffee and ansco 130
this one was contact printed on old kodak polycontrast rc paper
i added some water color, and texture with paper towel
and then some extra contrast and extra colors with PS

 

saturday at india point

weeds danced in the lakes of summer sunlight

 

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, images on glass and metal, photographs, technique and style, using vintage equipment Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

4 glass plates … then 4 paper prints

the other day i processed a handful of glass plates.

i scanned them &c

 

photograms/ cameraless

5×7

 

yesterday i decided to make contact prints of the glass images.
they were thin so it took a little coaxing but they came out OK …

 

ilford paper

glass negatives contact prints

 

im getting more glass today …  i will probably coat them sooner rather than later.

 

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, images on glass and metal, Misc., photographs Also tagged , , , , , |

more glass and metal coated

last night with the radio keeping me company
i heated emulsion and scrubbed glass and
coated 6- 5×7, 4- 4×5 glass plates  1 – 4×5 metal sheet, and 2 trimmed small ones for 35mm and MF.
they chilled and now are drying out in the dark ..

i hate waiting and wish SGE would dry out quicker, but it doesn’t …

 

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dream

they say you dream in black and white

and when you awake your brain puts color to it all.

see previous upload for information

 

i awoke and saw it all in color …

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, images on hand coated paper, liquid emulsion, Misc., photographs, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

hand color, sun print .. half the dream

sometimes i run on inertia,
i just am on autopilot and don’t really stop and think
if i am doing something right or wrong &c.

the colors were added by me using a mouse.

 

glass plate sun print hand colored

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