Sunday, December 20, 2015

Making Palladium Prints, Notes and Snaps

It seemed as though some visitors here might be interested to see some of the steps in making Pt/Pd prints, so I took some snaps during this morning's printing session. First, write notes on the back of the sheet. Notes kept in notebooks don't track with the actual prints, even if you try to keep a number or key system.

A template is helpful to mark the area to be coated. I use a lot of different sizes and formats so this one is marked for print size and format of the original, along with square inches, which determines the amount of coating solution needed. That also varies with the paper in use. The table surface is a heavy sheet of plate glass: solid, and very flat.

The coated sheet needs to be dried accurately and consistently. Too damp and you get muddy prints, or maybe ruin a negative. Too dry and you get nasty brown edges and harsh tone. The easiest way to work is to establish a good temperature/humidity environment in the printing room. This morning I had a nearly ideal 65°F and 50% humidity. I had to run a humidifier for a while before printing. After the coated sheet "sets" for five minutes and changes from shiny-wet to a perfectly matte surface, I run the film dryer with no heat, just fan, for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on what paper I'm using. This stabilizes the sheet at the room temp/humidity without risk of over-drying.

After exposure there's a faint ghost of print-out image. Then the image develops almost instantly when the developer is poured on.

A print sloshing in the developer for a 90-second development time. The print is from a digital negative based on a 35mm film capture from 1992.

Coated and dried/prepared sheet, ready for printing.

Negative from another picture added.

Faint print-out image from another negative.

Two prints, processed, draining into the sink. Once they're a little dry they transfer to fiberglass drying screens.

I'll have more about this particular set of pictures tomorrow.

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