Not having satisfied as for the Vandyke prints, I again went back to my root notes. Is the ferric ammonium citrate too brown or something wrong with the tap water, wait! it could be the paper also. Not having a single clue of all the attributes combined, started off with at-least the basic to-do’s.
make sure you label your containers right.
A 2.4gm of ferric ammonium citrate to be mixed with 11.cc of distilled water.
B .5gm of tartaric acid with the same amount of distilled water.
C 1.3gm of silver nitrate which is the most toxic and corrosive.
Mix solution A and B after everything is dissolved, pour the mixture in the silver nitrate solution. Store in a cool dry place and away from UV light.
I am not sure if weather conditions react in different places, the test conducted here in Goa Cap had a reading of 28.3 centigrade and humidity was 77%.
While the magic portion was stored in a dark place, the next thing you might want to do is prepare the fixer and water, seriously, it saves you a lot of time when you come back running holding the negative that you exposed and then having to prepare.
Since sodium thiosulfate is mostly used for Vandyke brown, prepare yourself a 5% solution with 500 ml of water, and mix it well till you see it is dissolved. Have another tray ready with tap water and a pinch of citric acid and finally one last tray with just plain water.
Coat, and better coat it properly. Clear out any unused objects from the table. Make sure the table is flat. Since this process should be done in dim or red light, you don’t want your things flying everywhere. On a flat surface, lay down the paper. Now remember, that magic portion, yes the silver nitrate solution take it out, make sure you have gloves on, this solution is very unsafe and hope you don’t like stains by silver nitrate on your hand. With the help of a syringe, pull in a small amount, enough to complete a line in the paper.
Coating now begins. With a glass rod slowly start to roll over the paper, do not grip it too tightly, hold the tapered ends of the rod and just glide. Some prefer brush over this, but most of the brushes have a metal tape which in turn could react with your chemicals. If using a brush, go for Hake brush with broad wooden handle and extremely soft fine hair.
Apply two coats at least, and let it dry. Again, better to let it dry horizontally than clipping it on. Fifteen to twenty minutes should be ideal for drying, depending which part of the world you live in. During the end, a light blow dry to the uncoated area (back side) is recommended.
Next step, prepare the glass sheet. Always remember to give it a soft padding at the bottom surface, where the negatives would be placed. In my case i am using a soft blanket. Shine it as much as you like. Carefully place the sensitized paper and then your negative. Cover it up with another glass sheet and clip it at the edges which should act like a lock.
Well, till here this is what I have been following. I started off with a test strip to correctly determine my rendering of both the shadows and the highlights. Check the video below.
Point to remember: Please be aware of the paper you will be using, in my case I was using the Italian fabriano type paper.
The test strip showed between twenty four to twenty eight minutes for a decent render.
For the first exposure, I set it to twenty minutes. Here is the image.
But since I had not acidified the paper, right after I fixed it in the sodium thiosulfate, it somehow started to break away.
So next step was to acidify the paper, of which I did and the result is pretty strange.
Check below. This was exposed for twenty six minutes.
It’s almost black and white, except for the edges which has a slight gradation of the brown.
Exposure in its process. Also, the time was about four thirty p.m. and sun rays were pretty light. But yeah, it could be anything.
That’s it for today. For now I have acidified the paper, tomorrow I expose it in the mid-day sun.
Feel free to ask or contact if it interests you.