Photographs by Frank

21 December 2021

First Platinum/Palladium Prints

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 11:00 PM

I have spent the last two days experimenting with making platinum/palladium (Pt/Pd) prints. I made two very preliminary prints on Sunday afternoon and five more prints yesterday.

Pt/Pd prints represent (at least to some folks) the pinnacle of alternative process printing. The prints are a very beautiful neutral black/grey. The process is considered to result in some of the most stable (archival) prints possible.

Traditional Pt/Pd printing is a very finicky process because it is critically dependent on controlling the humidity of the paper within a narrow range. I have chosen to begin my exploration of Pt/Pd printing using a “renegade” method described by a Texan Richard Eugene Puckett. His method is purported to work without close control of the humidity.

Over the course of two days, I made seven small (4×5 inch) Pt/Pd prints following Puckett’s method. I used a mixture of 25% Pt and 75% Pd. The paper is Legion Lenox 100.

I still have a way to go to perfect this process*. However, here I present two fairly successful prints.

As with most of these alt process prints, the scans don’t do justice to the prints. In this case the contrast of the scans is somewhat lower than the actual print.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Church Window with Stairs
Church Window with Stairs
Salmon River, Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho)
Salmon River, Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho)

* The curve I use to tailor the density and contrast of my digital negative to the printing process, still needs some tweaking, especially in the highlights.

I also need to work on getting a consistent result. The last two prints I made had significantly lower contrast that those shown here. I suspect that this has something to do with the temperature and humidity in my basement dim room.

Yesterday, the first prints were made when the wood stove was going. The temperature was about 57 deg. F and the humidity about 36% (which I suspect is pushing the limits of acceptability). I stopped feeding the stove about the time I began work. Thus, the temperature was down around 50 deg. F when I finished.

I am guessing that a warmer, slightly more humid environment will yield more consistent results. I think that I will have to wait until spring to find out if this is indeed true! Meanwhile, I’ll go back to salted-paper prints and experiment with toning procedures. Stay tuned!

2 Comments

  1. I applaud your tenacity in finding the “perfect” print. Experimentation seems to be the key and even that will be dependent on the humidity which I’m guessing will be a lot more difficult to control.

    Continue to push the process for that final print.

    Keep us posted. . .

    Comment by Joe Kennedy — 22 December 2021 @ 8:23 AM

  2. I could get lost in the print of the stairs with its bannister through the church window.
    I look each day at the print of the stone house in the southwest and the lighthouse in Maine.
    Thank you and Merry Christmas.
    Mary Jo

    Comment by Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm — 22 December 2021 @ 9:36 AM

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