Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography

Lesson 40/49 - Ink Jet Negative Coating and Exposure

 

Introduction to Alternative Processing in Photography

 

Lesson Info

Ink Jet Negative Coating and Exposure

We're going to coat another piece of paper and we're going to try a little... a little experiment here, and once that's done then I'm going to jump into some other options you can do with platinum palladium. But we're going to do some coating here. And I'll do the coating over here on this side. Let me show you, what we're going to attempt to do though is something that Dan Burkholder, who I said was kind of the original kind of person who got started documenting and transcribing this. And then Ron Reeder who does develop the quad tone. The biggest documentation on the quad tone RIP work, kind of came up with this process and it's kind of a fun little process. I haven't done this particular negative before, but it's an inkjet print. So what I've done is basically gone in and I've stripped out the deep black values of the image, and I've left some of the color there. And then I've also created... a negative, which will be difficult to see but, let's see if we can get it out without my f...

ingers monkeying it up here. Come on. Gloves make that really hard. Okay, then I have the negative of that same image. So, I printed this and basically what I, the process was normally you're going to print. It's going to do an RGB piece. I went in and converted this to CMYK. I deleted the black channel, and then converted it back into RGB and it made these really weird colors. And then I just printed it. I then took the black channel, converted that to a grayscale image, applied the platinum curve, and so that's what created my digital negative. What I'm gonna do is coat this over this with the platinum material. We're then going to take this negative and we're going to register it back to this one. So what registration means is we're going to get it lined up so that it perfectly matches the image underneath. If it's perfectly registered, what will happen is I will end up with... there not being any weird lines or what feels like a double exposure's happened in the image. Everything should be successfully lined up. So, sometimes it takes more than one revolution through this with the registration part, the registration process. But the reason I wanted to show this is, just like with some of the other processes, it's your, sort of your imagination and your willingness to take the risk to figure out what you can and can't do. So at some point somebody said, 'I wonder if I can coat over the top of an inkjet print.' They tried something, saw what happened, a little refinement with the process, and then you end up kind of going down a rabbit hole, but you end up with something kind of interesting and cool. So what I'm going to do is go on ahead and we're basically just going to use the same chemistry, the same process, everything we had before. So I'm gonna go on ahead and dry out my brush. And this, you know, I'm not necessarily sure this is something that somebody would necessarily always want to do for a... a project, but it might be a way for you, if you have an envisionment of a project where you like the tonal richness of the blacks of a platinum palladium print, but you kind of want it color or you imagine something kind of more of a surreal look to your photograph, this would be an opportunity to do that. So because it's the same process, can we turn the red lights on? I'm going to go on ahead and measure out basically the same number of drops, I'll do 12, 12 and five. So we measure out one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10... Okay, then I'm gonna grab that palladium solution, the palladium number three. I'm always going to double check and make sure I've got solution number three. And then my drops, one two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. Okay and then I'm going to do my drops of the NA two 5% solution. Okay, then I've got my brush, so it's... damp but not wet. And when I do this part, which is always like huh. Is this where everything goes bad? No it's going to be fine. So we're going to coat over the top, and you can see it just kind of floats over the image. So we coat just like we did before. In this case I'm just going to coat a little wider than the image. Pick a little chemistry... and okay. So we've gone over that. I've got some little brush, I can see little brushmarks in there. My paranoia for screwing up this never-before-done one. But as you look down, I don't see any of those little black particulates, floating in there. And then you will see particularly with the synthetic brush, when you first coat you'll see very small little ridgelines, potentially from the brush. Those will level out, so don't get completely paranoid or freaked out. And then over here on the edge I've got a little extra chemistry built up. But I'm just going to let that sit, it will absorb, it's not going to run at all. And I don't have a lot of pooling of any of the chemistry, so I'm okay there. Brush goes back into the water, so that it doesn't actually get any contamination there. This will sit for its minute or two, and then Gina is going to go over and do magic dry. Blow dry, same process, so low cool air, dry from the back side and pull it in. The first time I ever tried this, I wasn't even sure like what was going to happen when I poured the chemistry over. And then I wasn't sure what was going to happen to go in the water, I was worried all the ink was going to come up. But that's that pigment ink holds in and actually kind of creates a pigment stain into the paper, that it actually is able to hold that process. So I've never tried it with a dye printer, so if you have a dye printer, I have no idea. The dyes might come right up off and float into the water. Before I coated and spent the money on the platinum palladium to go in there, I would just do an inkjet print on the paper and stick it into the printer, and stick it into a water bath and just see if the ink, the dye, dissolves off and if it does, then you know it wouldn't work with a dye printer. In terms of what papers to use and how to set the printer up so this is Arches Platine paper, that was used for this. So I took the heaviest fine art option I had on my printer. There was a fine art watercolor option, I set the platen gap to be as wide as possible. And then I told it it was matte ink, so matte black ink just for the printer. But I wanted it to think it was as heavy of paper as possible, so that the ink would come up as high and that it was a matte paper so that it would lay down the appropriate level of ink, because a matte paper is going to soak up more ink than the glossy paper will. So I wanted to make sure I had that part queued up. So why don't you go ahead and start the dry process on that. So she's going to disappear around the corner on that. What I'll do is slide these forward because I'm going to have to do a little bit of registration work. So I'm going to make sure the coating area here is dry and we'll get the... contact frame ready to go. The biggest challenge I think when you're experimenting like this is it's an adult issue. I don't see this when I work with kids, because their ability to accept failure is inherent in their understanding of how to work. Adults seem to have this fear that you're going to be making a mistake. With all alt processing, and I've said this like through the whole course, it is not going to work every time as you expect. You are going to have mistakes. Things are going to go wrong, things are going to happen. The more you embrace that, the more fun you're going to have so if you can as an adult get in the mindset of: things are not going to go well today, let's see what kinds of exciting stuff happens, you will have a better time and become a better alternative processing printer than somebody who says I'm going to make the perfect alternative print. Because the experimentation part, the discovery part is inherent in the experience. The other thing is you find people who are working on alternative processes, once they get a handle on it, they are starting to tweak and monkey and play like nobody's business. So they'll be like 'yeah, yeah you know, I've been printing platinum for a long time,' and you're like 'oh really, what are you doing?' 'Yeah, now I've got this dog and my dog runs across the floor and was leaving these footprints I thought were kind of cool, so now I put down paper and the dog runs across and then that turns into something, and I put platinum over the top of that.' And they come up with something crazy because they're always looking to kind of push the edge and see what else is possible through the process. So that's what I encourage you to do, is one, forgive yourself because you haven't made a mistake. It's just turned out differently than you expected. And because you're probably new to this, you shouldn't really know what to expect anyways because you haven't done it enough to have the expectations. So just embrace that piece of the failure, because that is a big, huge, fun part of the process. The other piece that I watch with adults who are first getting started, is they tend to worry about the wrong thing first. So when something goes wrong, they're like 'huh. I wonder if it's the chemistry from you know, Bostick and Sullivan. I wonder if Arches gave me the wrong size in my paper.' The odds of that happening are so far down the list from you counted your drops wrong, you didn't coat the right paper, you coated the wrong side of the paper. So always assume that it's the simplest problem first, not the most complex difficult process first. Because that's what a lot of us do, and it just ends up being really really difficult to figure that part out. Can you hit this section a little more? That paper sometimes it just doesn't want to dry. The other piece around platinum that I want to talk about whchi is kind of interesting timing, it of most of the processes is extremely sensitive to humidity. So in a dry climate, you're gonna actually need to humidify your paper. Somewhere between 50 and 70% humidity is a great level of humidification for the paper. If it gets too dry, the chemistry doesn't react the paper in the same way and you don't end up with as rich a black, you don't end up with as even a coating. So you want that paper to be a little humidified. So people used to think oh my gosh, you must smoke a lot of cigars because I had a big humidor. I'm like, no, that's just platinum paper. [Laughs] So the other trick I used is I would I actually had a humidifier and I would go out and just run that over the paper for a little bit just to try to humidify the paper a little bit to help it absorb some of the chemistry and to keep it consistent. So I would just time like 15 seconds, 30 seconds over the humidifier. So in my darkroom I actually have a temperature gauge and it has a humidity range on it. And as long as that humidity range is between 50 and 70% I don't worry about it too much. But other than that, you would definitely want to watch and humidify the paper for more consistent, even results. Some of the other things to consider with the paper as well, is like I said, there's two sides. And the Hahnemühle paper we're coating on, you can coat either side, but like Arches you can't. Rives BFK you can't. If you coat the wrong side, you will still get an image. So it's not that the image won't show up, it's not that the chemistry won't stick to it. But what will happen usually is that side has usually a more fiber, uh, it's got a more rough side to the texture. And when you look at the image where you're expecting this really smooth tonal gradation, you'll see these white little fibers that look like they're pulling up out of the print. And that's because the fibers have lifted above the chemistry level as you were brushing and they didn't get the full chemistry in them. And so that rough side of the paper has caused that. So some of those papers it's really really hard to tell the difference and the way you basically do it is you're gonna grab the paper and this is another thing, I think it's easier with your eyes closed. Because you're not looking at it. You're basically just going to run your fingers across the paper with your eyes closed, and you'll start to feel, one side will feel a little bit rougher than the other. And you're usually, in nearly all cases, going to coat the smooth side. But you're going to feel, it's going to be really subtle sometimes. But it's just a little bit of a drag. If you've dragged the same spot three or four times and can't feel it, rotate the paper 90 degrees. Because sometimes the fibers have laid down in one direction and you might be able to feel it on the cross side in the other direction. Okay. So we have this image is now dry. And I've got the negative, and now before I had, I just wanted to try to get it straight. But now I've got to get it registered really well. So sometimes you'll see on a print, particularly if you're doing like gum printing or something out off in the distance you'll see a registration mark, which is a little circle with a plus sign through it. And that's to make sure everything is getting registered nice and neat. But with this, I've got really straight edges and corners so I'm going to go on ahead and just use my corners instead of the registration marks. And I'm going to lay that negative down. And get it so that it's as perfectly registered as I can make it. And then I'm going to hold both sides of the negative, double check my registration. A little bend of the paper will sometimes make sure that you've got it centered in the middle. Flip upside down and then I'm going to push with my index fingers down, so I've got the negative and the paper pinned. And then I put one finger in the middle, and then I let go of the other hand. Cause I'm trying to keep that from moving. Now, when I grab the edge of the contact frame, if I just rush and push this in there, that will also cause the paper to shift. So I'm going to lift up from the middle, and put it right down in the middle (mumbles). And then easily drop it down. And then compress both sides. And this one, then I'm going to flip back over and make sure that I'm still registered, and you check your four corners for your registration. If the four corners look good, then you know you're going to be registered in the middle. If this looked like it was up, I would see a line down here of that ink underneath. So I'm looking pretty good for registration here. My base time should be about the same, so I'm going to go ahead and set my six and a half minutes. And now we have the excitement of hoping that this comes out.

Class Description

In a world where most photos are captured digitally it’s good to remember the beauty of print and all of the creative options alternative processes have to offer. The history of printing photos introduces techniques and tools that can improve your eye in the field and open up doors to new perspectives. Fine artist and educator Daniel Gregory gives the steps needed to get you started in exploring the many formats out there. You’ll learn:

  • An overview of what alternative processing is and the many formats out there
  • How to create a digital negative
  • How to setup and test your curve
  • How to print a Cyanotype
  • How to create a Van Dyke Print
  • Chemistry, Safety and Developing techniques
  • Platinum and Palladium Printing processes

In this introductory course, you’ll be given the key elements to get you started in expanding your creativity and exploring alternative photographic processes.

Lessons

1Class Introduction 2Overview of the Alternative Process 3Overview of the Digital Negative Process 4Working with Black and White Digital: What You Need 5Working With Black and White Digital Images: Color Settings 6Working with Black and White Digital Images Lightroom 7Working With Black and White Digital Images Photoshop 8Working With Black and White Digital Images 3rd Party Plug-ins 9Avoiding Key Artifacts 10Creating the Step Wedge for Curve Corrections 11Organizing Your Adobe® Photoshop® Files and Curves 12Setting Up the Printer 13Lab Safety and Workspace Set-Up 14Setting the Maximum Black Time 15Getting the Initial Curve Test Numbers 16Correcting the Curve 17Printing the Curve 18Sharing Curves 19Caring for the Digital Negative 20Intro to Cyanotypes and Safety 21Paper and Brush Types 22Coating Process and Cyanotype Chemistry 23Making the Cyanotype Print 24Washing the Cyanotype Print 25Creating Cyanotypes Photograms 26Toning Cyanotypes and Cleaning Up the Darkroom 27Introduction to Van Dyke Printing 28Setting Up the Van Dyke Workstation 29Van Dyke Paper and Coating 30Van Dyke Exposure and Developing 31Van Dyke Troubleshooting and Resources 32Van Dyke: Split Toning 33Van Dyke: Wash Cycle and Drying 34Van Dyke: Clean Up Process 35Introduction to Platinum / Palladium Printing 36Platinum/Palladium Coating Chemistry and Safety 37Platinum/Palladium Paper and Coating Options 38Platinum/Palladium Exposure and Development 39Platinum/Palladium: Equipment and Supplies 40Ink Jet Negative Coating and Exposure 41Platinum/Palladium Chemistry Options 42Ink Jet Negative Development 43Platinum/Palladium Waxing Images 44Platinum/Palladium Troubleshooting and Resources 45Sharing Your Work Digitally 46Archivability 47Matting and Framing Options 48Editions and Signing Options 49Alternative Processes: Further Exploration

Reviews

Diordna
 

For a long time, I have read, studied and tried alternative processing, mainly Platinum/Palladium printing. I want to create longest lasting prints and may be share the info at Creative Live. But this presentation saved me many a hours. A few minutes into the lecture, I purchased the class and as the class progressed, I was extremely glad. Thank you Creative Live, thank you Daniel Gregory.

SFX
 

Excellent class on Alt Process and fantastic bonus materials included with purchase!!! I have extensive digital printing and darkroom experience but haven't done much alt-process to date. This is perfect timing for me as I have several personal projects that I would like to re-visit using some of these techniques. Thank you Daniel!!!

John Hendricks
 

So good to hear the info. I am glad to have more input into this, my favorite process! Bought this one and will gain a LOT from this!