From: Bob Kiss ^lt;bobkiss@caribsurf.com>
Date: 11/16/04-08:30:08 AM Z
Message-id: <NIBBJBPKILANKFOAGNHEMENODBAA.bobkiss@caribsurf.com>

        I remember a string around 1999, not long after I joined this list,
referring to "feeders at the trough" who eat but don't contribute. I have
endeavored to contribute when possible but, sadly, as a relative newcomer to
alt processes, I often left it to the more experienced members to answer.
        Sooooooooooo, now I propose to bring a bucket of...stuff...to the trough,
i.e., to relate the story of my print order for the large hotel chain.
        They ordered three 11X14 and three 16X20 (image size on 15X18 and 20X24
paper respectively) platinum/palladium prints of the 8X10 negatives of my
Chattel House images. (I am documenting these little architectural gems
which stemmed from emancipation in the British Empire in 1838).
        As a result of advice from the list I priced the 11X14s at $500 U.S. and
the 16X20s at $700 U.S. which, given that they ordered 6 prints, was
reasonable and accepted.
        At present I only do DOP Pt/Pd prints on Cranes Platinotype "Natural" in
Sodium Citrate dev at 40 C with an Oxalic acid first clear, two EDTA/sulfite
clears, a quick dip into some hypoclear to buffer it (love that metaborate),
1/2 hour wash and 2 min rinse in distilled water followed by screen drying.
        I don't have my 8X10 enlarger set up yet as I just moved homes so I decided
to go to a service bureau, have my 8X10s scanned on a drum scanner and
digitally enlarged negs output on an Image Setter. It was lovely to be able
to "Frotoshop" the images to fine tune them for printing.
        I checked with the digital gurus and couldn't get curves to get me started
so, instead, I asked myself, "What does Pt/Pd to best and what does it do
worst?" Pt/Pd prints have wonderful highlight separation and scale but
rather flat, compressed shadow rendition. So I said to myself, "Self! Kick
up the shadow contrast and midtone densities and slightly reduce the
highlight contrast".
***NOTA BENE: I will always be referring to the negative unless otherwise
        This is very easily achieved in Frotoshop by going to the "curves" function
when viewing the negative and "pulling" the middle of the curve
substantially upward. This increases the slope (contrast) of the curve in
the shadow areas, increases the midtone density, and decreases the slope of
the curve (contrast) in the highlight region. The resulting negative looks
good but when you invert it to a positive on the monitor it looks too light
and washed out. I then went back to curves and pulled up the shadow
contrast and density even further, leaving the midtone to highlight portion
as a straight line into the corner of the box. I was working with a service
bureau here in Barbados that had never even heard of Pt/Pd prints before,
let alone seen a good Pt/Pd neg so it was a fight all the way. They kept
trying to sneak negs by me which would have printed well in ink-on-paper but
looked flat and muddy in Pt/Pd. Making them redo them cured them of THAT
habit. We did have some problems with vertical banding in the flat sky
areas (seemed to be rf interference) and processor streaking but they were
        What I also did was set the whitest highlight at 98% dot (remember,
negative) and the thinnest shadow at 2% dot. I got GREAT prints...I am
ashamed to say, some better than my contact Pt/Pd prints from the original
        The reason for all of this curve pulling was that I need at least 100
exposure units (Nu-Arc metal halide plate burner) with clear film to get a
1.5 density on my Pt/Pd paper. I tried more contrast agent (OA "B" of the
chlorate variety) to no avail. Seems best to have a good negative to start
        I found that Pt/Pd prints made from continuous tone negs tend to dry down
"normally"; highlights get a little darker, shadows lighter, with a small
loss of contrast. It appears that prints from digital negatives dry
differently. The shadows do get lighter but the highlight density and
contrast both seem to increase. I observed some of the prints over the
drying time and realized that the paper itself looked "grayer" when wet and
whiter when dry. I suggest that, as prints from digital negatives are
actually composed of a whole array of dots of D-Max and D-min, the D-min of
the paper base actually gets lighter resulting in lighter, more contrasty
highlights. Go figure!
        A few other observations (also not scientifically confirmed):
1) Keep the dev pH below 7 (slightly acid). If it goes above 7 (some
suggest from the paper sizing dissolving in it) the D-max falls off rapidly.
2) Good even re-moistening 5 min. prior to exposure necessary to good D-max.
3) Seems better to get from exposure to dev ASAP. I found that delays
affected the D-max.
        Well, that should fill the trough with something. I will leave it to y'all
to judge.
        Again, a great thanks to Eric Neilsen, Dick Arentz, and all the people on
the list who answered my numerous questions and made great suggestions.
Thanks to the authors of the great books I have read; James, Nadeau, Webb &
Reed, and Sullivan & Weese. Thanks to the person who suggested using large
sheets of plastic mosquito screen under the large prints while processing to
give them added "wet strength". Without this I would have had trays full of
pulp on a few occasions. Thanks to Melody Bostic who shipped me some BIG
paper on short notice. And, without fail, thanks to Judy, WJPFP, and all
the contributors who made me believe, "I think I can, I think I can..." I
                                CHEERS FROM BARBADOS!

Please check my website: www.bobkiss.com
Received on Tue Nov 16 08:30:50 2004

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