[alt-photo] Re: salt printing

Darryl Baird darryl at darrylbaird.com
Fri Aug 24 00:17:07 GMT 2012



Quote away, it's all from different outside sources anyway,
just a little repackaged to suit my Michigan darkroom needs. :) 

salt is very long tonal range, it took me some tinkering to get digital
negs. to my taste, not entirely happy with the "blacks" (I'm printing to
a warm chocolate color) Now I'm working with 8x10 film... haven't
printed any of these yet. Since I have limited experience with platinum,
I can't say with certainty it is longer, but it requires a lot of
density and contrast and I've seen platinum negs and mine look much more

I'm running 2 one-minute hypo baths, with sodium carbonate
and sodium sulfite added (pretty sure I got this from Anchell) 

the amount of silver nitrate influences color...you would have to be,
therefore, exact with your drop-to-sq.-inch count to get similar color,

Not quite. The affect on color is relative to how light or
dark the image is... how much silver is held in the paper to form the
image... that's the killer for me. No matter how exact I measure the
chemistry, the amount of silver that forms each image will affect the
final color. I'm conjuring up a plan to use a histogram to guide my
tweaking... haven't gotten down to designing the information transfer to
a volume or time variable yet and it might be a bogus idea... too soon
to tell. 

I'm measuring with a 10ml syringe.... exactly 4ml per 12x15
sheet. I might be off a drop or so, but not much. I could try measuring
drops as a means to reduce another variable I suppose. 

I know the
table you're referring too with the speedier salts listed against their
contrast. In my experience the isn't much difference in contrast, only
speed and final color. 

One last note, the final color can't be judged
before the print is totally dry. That tends to slow down these tests.
Humidity is pretty constant since I have AC in my darkroom, but since
it's MI... it's always high.. 55-65% 


On 2012-08-23 12:28,
Christina Anderson wrote: 

> Darryl,
> Can I quote you :)? I am
thrilled to find someone really doing salt on this list, separate from
albumen anyway...
> Do you find salt a longer tonal range than
> What is your choice of fixing bath and time?
> So the
amount of silver nitrate influences color...you would have to be,
therefore, exact with your drop-to-sq.-inch count to get similar color,
> One thing I am puzzling with is Young's use of the word
"contrast." If a certain solution is faster in exposure, she then
equates it with lower contrast. Now, I could be the one confused but I
have always understood contrast to be separate from exposure. Once
maximum black and maximum white are achieved, the number of steps
between the two is either fewer (more contrasty) or greater (less
contrasty) but if comparing faster and slower solutions this gives a
false read. 
> That would be like, in the B&W darkroom, exposing a
grade 0 paper and a grade 5 paper the same time and comparing the
papers' contrast. 
> I would first get the standard printing time
(SPT) and then compare the number of steps. But I could totally have it
wrong all these years. PLEASE correct me??
> I have the PDF, and just
ordered the book, but thanks for the offer. I wanted to see the step
wedges in print.
> I do like her clear method of writing and
> An off-lister suggested Ware's article on salt, too.
OH, one other thing. I was able to see Panera and Hajicek's giant salt
print photograms done in the sunlight at F295 a few years back. Now THEY
were stunning. And of course Dan Estabrook's work is a favorite of mine.
Jesseca Ferguson as well.
> Chris
> Christina Z. Anderson
> On Aug 23, 2012, at 12:09 PM, Darryl Baird
>> Chris, I spent a good portion of this year working on
getting salt printing "down" and I've discovered there isn't a single
formula published that works completely as "advertised" in any of the
sources you've just cited. Young's work is, by far, the most complete,
yet there are gaps or things a little glossed over. I revised Young's
formula (using Potassium Chloride) with a couple of additives in the
sizing, and a minor modification in the hypo stage. I was happy...
notice the past tense. Young published her research as a dissertation
first, then revised it into the pdf "manual." I have both if you'd like
a copy of the former. One of the latest finds (for me) is a statement by
Reilly about the color also being determined by the amount of silver
used (retained in the paper) in making any image. It made perfect sense
that the final amount of silver within the image being toned would have
an affect on the final color. This one little "detail" sent me over the
top considering I want EVERY print I produce in a portfolio to match in
color. So, my next challenge is to manage a method to estimate the
amount of total silver present and adjust either my toning time or
volume for each image. PITA I'd already resorted to a single-shot
solution for each step, never reusing chemistry in order to narrow or
eliminate the color variables from each. 
>>> From Reilly, Chapter
>> Toning "Among the factors which influence the outcome of the
toning operation are the pH of the binder (gelatin, arrowroot, albumen,
etc.) materials used, the pH of the silver solution, **the amount of
silver deposited to form the image,** the thoroughness of the initial
wash in processing, the pH of the toning solution, the presence of other
substances in the toning solution, the strength of the gold solution,
its temperature, its age, and the time of immersion of the print." Steve
Achell has some helpful advice in this document... it was helpful in
some of my formula changes.
[1] and
[2]I'm also going to start a new printing test using fumed silica.
Darryl On 2012-08-23 09:50, Christina Anderson wrote: 
>>> Dear
All, I noticed last night when googling it that it is available on
Amazon here and also on the alternativephotography.com website

>>> lt-Print-Manual-Ellie-Young/dp/144528328XFor some reason,
>> ow
how long I have had it, I have a PDF of it from the web, so at one point
it was free. In any case, I want to give credit to her for her research
and did buy the book (I can't stand reading PDFs). It seems between
Reilly, James' chapter on salt in his book, and Young's book there isn't
too much other current literature on the process, unless it is just
lumped under albumen which is quite popular. OH and Ed Buffaloe's
article on unblinkingeye.com which BTW includes a CASEIN sizing for the
salt print I am dying to experiment with, because it would be matte like
casein is, and like Reilly talks about 
nativephotography.com/wp/processes/saltprints/a-dash-of-salt Happy fall
to everyone! Chris Christina Z. Anderson
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