Tag Archives: rockland colloid

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 , , , , , , , , |

emulsive

i thought i posted a link to this but i guess it got away from me.

i was interviewed by emulsive.org a little while ago about film and emulsion and what i am up to. in case you don’t know about emulsive org what i am up to here is the link what’s emulsive.org ?  feel free to go there, its a pretty interesting site

well worth the click !

I am John Nanian and this is why I shoot film

Posted in film development technique, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

new paper negatives from rockland AG+ emulsion

i’ve been coating thing with rockland emulsion off and on since i was told about it in 1986.  i had never made the investment in a tube of ag+.  i’ve always been on the poorer side of the street when it comes down to buying “stuff”  so i used the regular old non multigrade emulsion and then most recently someone gave me a tube of their extremely expired VC emulsion.  i am fond of making glass negatives and as you probably have read if you poked around this blog i like making ( or trying to make ! ) ferrotypes and glass positives, the ones made with silver gelatin emulsion, not collodion.  the emulsion that comes with the rockland tintype parlor is the ag+.  it was never enough for me in that tiny tube they provide, so i called bob, the guy at rockland and asked him if i could use the other emulsions ( regular, or vc or ? ) to make the tintypes and he said

“sure!  just coat it thicker because it doesn’t have as much silver as the ag+ ”

so that is what i did for a few years, coated things 2x.

now i am out of the other emulsions ( they sort of crapped out on me and turned useless seeing they were so old ) so i cracked open a bottle of the ag+ i bought on a whim IDK 4 or 5 years ago.  i chopped some out of the tube and double boilered it to melt it and i painted some on some butcher paper with a brush like i always do.  i have a puddle pusher but to be honest i never liked using it, so i never did.  the test negative i made came out terrible.  well, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it wasn’t as good as i had hoped.  i looked at the expiration date on the bottle and it wasn’t too out of date so i coated some more with the same bottle.  this time i used the puddle pusher. and boy am i glad i did !

most of the things i coat tend to have brush marks, sometimes it is good and i like that painterly feel, its something extra, a bonus but after i used the puddle pusher i think i might continue to use it and use it often !  the emulsion spread smooth and evenly, no marks, no problems.  i stuck a cut piece of 4×5  ( its actually 4 pieces of a little bigger than 35mm ) into my trusty old pentax K1000 and made an exposure out the window.  mundane scene, shadow, concrete steps, brick walk, plants.  it had contrast and texture and mid-day f16 iso 1 brightness, so i could figure out what the iso was of this now expired emulsion.

1 second hand held  then into the soup.

i have my caffneol in a big tupperware tub and i have a small one to scoop it out for trays, like a ladle …  seeing i don’t use much besides dektol and caffenol i sometimes have a bit of residual caked on coffee in the small tub.  usually it just dissolves with the caffenol i drain out of the big tub,  ..  i didn’t use the big tub this time.  i poured a little dektol into the container and added about 2x that amount of water.  the coffee dissolved nicely as i stired it a little bit.  the negative went in and i agitated it by flipping it, than by swirling the container and rocking it back and forth.  the image slowly appeared as expected in about 30-45 seconds ..  i developed to completion until i hit the 2 minute mark then into a water rinse then hardened fixer then i washed and hunt it to dry.  i didn’t make a contact print of the small paper negative but i scanned and inverted it.  no photoshop but sizing and inverting.  i have to say i was happy with what i saw.

 

stoop

stoop

i have a handful more papers all coated and ready to expose.

 

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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recent events

found some coated plates in a box!
5x7s ready to expose, can’t wait  🙂

my only problem is, should i make cameraless images, or glass negatives, or ambrotypes ?

i hate having to make such fun decisions 🙂

i’ll get things prepared, and maybe do all of these things.  my hand made old fashioned tintype developer seems to still be active
so who knows, maybe it’ll do the trick !

i’ll post the results if they happen.

Posted in photographs, technique and style Also tagged , , , , , , |

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

Posted in alternative process photography, images on glass and metal, 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.

 

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5×7 glass

rather than expose 6 5×7 emulsion coated glass plates as ambrotypes or glass in camera negatives
made contact prints and photograms with them.

2 bath developer.

1 bath fxer ( with hardener )

finished plates are drying now.

very little frilling, no sub coat ..

 

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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

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

recent LUMEN prints from glass plates ( The Dream )

sometimes i put a piece of glass or something out in the sun, on a sheet of photo paper

i did this yesterday with some glass plates i exposed and treated last week ….

====

The Dream

 

while i lay still at night
on my back with my eyes closed
i dreamed …
i rode through the air on my horse
through the trees and the darkness to the light
there were faces there to greet me
people talked
and pointed
there was a sailor in a cap
watching as the people turned to leaves and blew away
i eventually woke
and wondered where i was.

( click on image to see the whole thing, the thumb nail is clipped )

 

lumen contact print from glass negative

sometimes i look at clouds,
other times i look at prints

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

coating plates … how to

i haven’t’ coated plates with hand made emulsion yet, that will happen soon enough …

but i have been coating plates on and off since the mid 1980s …

there are a few different ways to do this, some are easier than others

the first steps are all the same.

you have to wash the plate to make it chemically clean.  you can see if your glass sheet if clean by running water on it
if the water doesn’t “hang”  you are probably OK …  i wash my plates with a scrub brush ( plastic ) and washing soda.  i have a wood drying rack that i put them on so they drip dry.  i also just have them lean against the wall of the darkroom sink.

once they are dry you can coat them with a sub / or binding agent.  glass doesn’t really have anything for the emulsion to anchor to so an intermediary layer of something works.  depending on what sort of emulsion you are using you use a different binding agent …
i only use silver gelatin emulsions now, so my subbing layer would be  …  clear unflavored gelatin.  you can get hard bloom photography grade gelatin, its the same stuff used in the emulsion  …  or you can use cheap store bought knox gelatin.  i have only used knox  …  and it really never let me down.

i add a packet to warm water and let it dissolve.  then i pour it on the plate and put it someplace flat to set-up.  some folks put hardener in their sub layer, i have never done that.

anther binding agent could be clear poly urethane.  i have never used it  ( min wax ) but some do and they have had successes …  others suggest that it might yellow over time.  i’ve never used that so i really can’t comment.

i do know what DOESN’T work …

albumen doesn’t work
collodion ( either photographer’s collodion or pharmacy “flexible” ) doesn’t work
rubber cement doesn’t work either

as i write this, i realize i only used the albumen and collodion when they were not fully dry.
i have never tried to use them when they were dry, and knowing that there are collodion+gelatin emulsions that exist
i haven’t heard of a albumen gelatin emulsion though …

so i guess the jury’s out still on albumen and collodion …

once there is a sub layer there are a few different ways to coat the plate.
FIRST  …  you have to warm your emulsion and turn it into liquid.  i used to heat up a whole bottle and pour it off
but since then i have learned to squeeze out some emulsion into a warming container and have a small amount liquify.  heating and jelling
emulsion ( from what i understand ) can lead to a fogged emulsion.  once you have it in liquid form  …

one way is by total submersion into a tray of emulsion.  i haven’t done this, but from what i understand you can put some sort of covering on the back of the plate ( tape or something similar )  and dunk the plate in the emulsion, pour off the excess from a corner and put the plate someplace flat to even-out and set up.

another way is using a paint brush.  i like using japanese brushes to coat paper but they tend to leave brush strokes.  brush strokes on glass plates can be nice if enlarged on or shot through a camera, depending on the look you want …  i also like using cheap foam brushes.

this next way i was never able to do until this year, i always had trouble down the line and it never worked, but i have been reformed.

folks who write on http://www.thelightfarm.com and http://www.apug.org and mark osterman at the george eastman house have opened my eyes to another, easy and practical way to coat plates.  you need to have a warmish plate so i use a heating pad if my darkroom ambient temperature is coldish  …  and you need a cold level surface.  i use a pizza stone that cold from the freezer.
i have a small glass bottle i pour from, and another container to pour off / drain into.  i hold the plate level, and pour a large puddle of warm liquid emulsion onto it … and i tilt the plate to get all 4 corners ( like one would do if coating a wet plate ) …  and i use my finger to make sure
the whole plate is covered before draining it off into the second container.  after the plate is drained, i put it on the cold pizza stone to set the gelatin.  if the plate needs a second coat i pour on a second coat.  i usually coat maybe 4-10 plates at once, so by the time i am done with the last one, the first one can get its second layer.

i leave the plates flat and level to dry and after a day or so they are ready to expose.

when i process plates i use a coffee based developer and a strong developer.  i pretty much only use ansco 130, and use a 1:2 dilution to kickstart the development, and i put it in the coffee developer to finish.  i don’t rush it, and i agitate the tray  or with a gloved hand agitate the plate by rock it in the developer.  i don’t  use a stop bath but a water bath ( cold ) …  and while i never use hardener for any other process because it tends to be difficult to wash the emulsion and paper free of chemistry, i have a hardener fixer bath.

cold temperatures, an alkaline developer and a hardener in the fixer keep or help keep the emulsion from lifting off the plate.  in years gone by i would get perfect images on the emulsion, but they would lift off the plate, and wash off.  since i started using a cold stone, cold chemistry, alkaline developers and hardener i haven’t had this happen yet…

maybe  …  just a little bit, but not anywhere as badly as it could be.

5×7 and 8×10 glass plates on the horizon !

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