[Alt-photo] Re: Alt-pro chems through Airport Checked bags

J. Jason Lazarus jason at lucidperceptions.com
Thu Nov 14 17:54:05 UTC 2013

All -

I've tried two different brands of Distilled Water - both purchased from a
grocery store and not a hardware store.  I've changed brushes as well,
just to insure there's no contamination there.

My FAC, Tartaric Acid and Silver Nitrate is all from B&S.  I'm using
Bright Green FAC.

The bullet grain scale has a brass measurement pan; I hadn't thought that
there'd be any reaction with the chemicals if the chemicals were dry - I'm
only adding the water after the chemicals are in plastic graduated
cylinders.  Both the bullet grain scale and the graduated cylinders are
things I've added on the third attempt to mix this correctly.

During the first and second attempt, I was using plastic measuring spoons,
plastic measuring cups and tsp measurements (rather than gram
measurements). The results are fairly similar between all three times.

I checked my latest solution this morning, about 12 hours since it was
mixed and it has over an inch of loosely defined whitish "stuff" at the
bottom of the bottle - kinda looks like dark dark white meringue in
consistency.  As soon as the bottle is shaken, it seems to go into
solution but, eventually, settles out again.


> Dear Jason and list,
> How completely frustrating Jason...
> I remember this being a major problem a while back on this list, and I
> want to say it was with someone who does VDB all the time, like maybe
> Francis Schanberger. Hopefully that person (who solved the problem if I
> remember correctly) will chime in with their solution. So you are in good
> company.
> Sandy King is also VDB practitioner extraordinaire (see
> unblinkingeye.com).
> There was some discussion of the variability of FAC at that time, that it
> was not a strictly controlled substance as some others. But the
> interesting thing is this has cropped up off and on here as a VDB problem
> child.
> I still remember years ago Judy S. saying that distilled water from the
> hardware store was different than that from the grocery store :)
> Last year I was in a rush and mixed up a liter of VDB for the class lab
> with hot (distilled) water and used it right away while still warm. I was
> shocked at how great the VDBs looked when the adage is to age the
> solution. The VDB is still good aged (and I have also used old argyrotype
> solution). But I have seen sludgy stuff happen as well in the past. I
> can't help thinking it is not your procedure which seems you have had, and
> have, under control but as Loris says, some sort of contaminate or
> alkalinity.
> Stupid question: is the bullet measurer thing glass?
> Then of course you have to make sure the paper is not a factor, but if all
> of a sudden on the same paper things go south, then that eliminates that.
> I've seen your exquisite VDB prints which makes this problem all the more
> intriguing. Better get B&S to send you more premixed until the culprit is
> determined :) And check out unblinkingeye.com and mikeware.co.uk for more
> insight.
> Chris
> Christina Z. Anderson
> http://christinaZanderson.com/
> On Nov 14, 2013, at 3:46 AM, Loris Medici wrote:
>> I guess you have some kind of contamination / impurity in your raw
>> materials. I had a similar problem with my last batch of Argyrotype. The
>> first thing to check is your distilled / deionized water, then the
>> vessels
>> / tools you handle your raw materials.
>> Regards,
>> Loris.
> _______________________________________________
> Alt-photo-process-list | altphotolist.org

J. Jason Lazarus
Alaskan Photographer
Adjunct Instructor of Photography - UAF

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