Photographs by Frank

25 January 2022

More Pt/Pd Prints

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Pt/Pd Prints — Frank @ 9:00 PM

I have been ‘mining’ my archive for photos that I think will look good as platinum/palladium prints.

The first photo below, an industrial building on the shore of Lake Michigan was made in 2007 while I was on sabbatical in Milwaukee.

The botanical photo was made in 2010 according to the data the camera recorded. I have no recollection of where it was made.

The reflection photo was made on Star Island in 2017.

The photo of the Goodell Mill building is the newest of the bunch. The exposure was made in 2019 using my camera obscura.

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01_industrial
01_industrial
02_botanical
02_botanical
03_reflection
03_reflection
04_goodell-mill
04_goodell-mill

11 January 2022

More Pt/Pd Prints

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Pt/Pd Prints — Frank @ 8:45 PM

I have spent two more days in my dim room (i.e. the basement) making platinum/palladium (Pt/Pd) prints.

I have the wood stove cranked up so the basement is a good place to spend a couple of very cold days. It was 6 deg F below zero when I got up this morning. The high today was 6 above zero. It is -2 deg F as I write this about 8:30 in the evening. Brrrr!

All of these are small “draft” prints (4×5 inch images on 5x7ish Lenox 100 paper). I will eventually make larger prints (6×7.5 inch images on 8×10 inch paper) of all or most of these.

As with all alternative process prints, the scans are barely adequate facsimiles. One really needs to hold the actual object in ones hand to get the full effect.

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Skull
Skull
Ruin (Hovenweep National Monument, AZ)
Ruin (Hovenweep National Monument, AZ)
Bison (Yellowstone NP)
Bison (Yellowstone NP)
Beaver Lodge
Beaver Lodge
Headland, Cape Breton Island, NS
Headland, Cape Breton Island, NS

2 January 2022

First Finished Pt/Pd Prints

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Pt/Pd Prints — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Since my last post about platinum/palladium prints (one week ago), I have spent two full days and one partial day in the basement ‘perfecting’ (are things ever perfect?) my Pt/Pd process. I have learned a lot but I won’t bore you with the technical details.

Here are four finished prints. All either 4×5 inches or 4.5 inches square on 5×7 inch Lenox 100 paper. I have made larger (6×7.5 inch images on 8×10 inch paper) versions of the first two as well.

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Coquina Lake (Idaho)
Coquina Lake (Idaho)
Church Window/Stairs
Church Window/Stairs
Flag/Shovel/Window
Flag/Shovel/Window
Barn (Chichester, NH) (with the camera obscura)
Barn (Chichester, NH) (with the camera obscura)

26 December 2021

Pt/Pd Prints — Five Papers

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Pt/Pd Prints — Frank @ 12:30 PM

Having discovered that Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag (HPR) paper gave a much warmer platinum/palladium (Pt/Pd) print than Legion Lenox 100, I decided to try a few other papers just to see what happens.

All of the prints show below were made under identical conditions (e.g. negative, exposure, processing) except for the paper used.

The papers I used were:

  1. Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag (300 gsm)
  2. Legion Lenox 100 (250 gsm)
  3. Rives BFK (280 gsm)
  4. Fabriano Artistico (Hot Press) (300 gsm)
  5. Arches Johannot (240 gsm)

All of these papers are high quality “art” papers and all, except for the Johannot, are 100% cotton. The HPR is designed specifically for alternative process printing such as I am doing here.

In addition to these papers, I tried to coat a sheet of Arches Platine (310 gsm), another paper designed specifically for alternative process printing. In this case the paper soaked up the sensitizer so rapidly that I could not spread out the puddle to cover the image area.

The results are quite striking. All of the papers except for the HPR resulted in a neutral print while the HPR gave a very warm print. All of the papers except for the HPR could use a bit more exposure (and maybe a tweak to the curve used to print the negative), especially the Johannot, but I wanted to change only one variable so the conditions were optimized for the HPR.

I have a few more papers that I want to try and then I’ll need to decide which one will be my “go to” paper for Pt/Pd printing. After that, it will be time to stop testing and make some larger finished prints.

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Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag
Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag
Legion Lenox 100
Legion Lenox 100
Rives BFK
Rives BFK
Fabriano Artistico (Hot Press)
Fabriano Artistico (Hot Press)
Arches Johannot
Arches Johannot

Pt/Pd Printing – “Dialing It In”

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Pt/Pd Prints — Frank @ 12:00 AM

Learning a new process such as platinum/palladium (Pt/Pd) printing involves two distinct things. First, one needs to learn the physical process of making a print… what solutions to make, how to coat paper, what exposure to use, etc., etc.

Additionally (at least with digital negatives), one needs to “dial in” the processing of your digital photo in order to match the negative to the process. Without going into any real details, this involves two things. One needs to get the maximum density (Dmax) of the negative correctly adjusted. Then one needs to get the contrast correctly adjusted using the appropriate curve.

Getting things “dialed in” is an iterative process. One makes changes based on prior experience, prints a negative and then uses the negative to make (in this case) a Pt/Pd print. The resulting print is used to make further adjustments and the process is repeated.

Yesterday, I made three versions of the “Salmon River” negative in order to get the first print shown below. The “Church Window” negative took only two versions and the “Courthouse” negative was pretty good on my first attempt.

Hopefully, as one gains experience a negative get “dialed “in” more quickly and easily. With cyanotypes and salted-paper prints, I rarely have to make more than one negative… maybe ten-percent of photographs get a second negative. For those familiar processes the changes are usually to the dodging and burning in order to “fix” nature’s light. With experience, I’ll get to the same point with negative for Pt/Pd printing.

For my first set of Pt/Pd prints I used Legion Lenox 100 paper. This paper has been working well for my salted-paper prints and so I tried it. For the current prints, I used Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag (HPR).

HPR is (as its name implies) designed for Pt/Pd printing… it is sort of the “gold standard” <grin> of alt process papers. It is a heavy (300 gsm), 100% cotton paper. Lenox 100, on the other hand, is a bit lighter (250 gsm) 100% cotton paper designed for traditional ink on paper printmaking. The Lenox 100 is about one-third the cost of the HPR so it has that advantage.

I was surprised on how warm the prints on HPR came out. Pt/Pd printing is know for being quite neutral in tone and certainly the prints I made on the Lenox 100 were quite neutral. Hmmm… to check and see if I had done something different with the new batch of prints, I made a second print (the last image shown below) of the “Salmon River” photograph on Lenox 100. The only difference between the first and the last print is the paper.

Very interesting! And… I haven’t a clue why they are different.

This result, of course, suggest a further experiment… what about other papers? I did that experiment today. The prints are drying as I write and I’ll scan them tomorrow. Patience!!!

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Salmon River (on Hahn. Pt Rag)
Salmon River (on Hahn. Pt Rag)
Church Window with Stairs
Church Window with Stairs
Courthouse (Newfane, VT)
Courthouse (Newfane, VT)
Salmon River (on Legion Lenox 100)
Salmon River (on Legion Lenox 100)

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