Inkjet negatives and Van Dyke Brownprints

From: Joe Smigiel ^lt;>
Date: 11/18/04-07:31:56 PM Z
Message-id: <>

There apparently is a large group of people using digital inkjet
negatives to print Pt/Pd successfully from what I gather reading this
list and a few other discussion forums. However, I have not heard of
anyone doing Van Dyke Brownprints using the inkjet digital route.
Anyone tried it? I've been experimenting this past week.

I'm using an Epson 2200 with the Epson photo black inkset and the
printer set to lay down the maximum amount of ink according to Dan
Burkholder's info on media types in his Inkjet Supplement. (The name of
the Epson paper setting escapes me at the moment, but it is the last
choice in the list.) I've also set the printer to 2880 dpi and the
slowest speed. So far, I have not had any drying or smearing issues
with the ink. I'm using Pictorico OHP as the substrate.

After initially beginning with one of the Photoshop correction curves
recommended for Pt/Pd, I met with very contrasty and posterized results.
 As the week progressed I eventually arrived at the point where I'm
using a curve that looks very unlike anything I've seen or downloaded
for silver, albumen, and Pt/Pd. It is a very low contrast curve that
results in a negative dense in the shadows and midtones areas with
relatively thin values in what will print the highlight regions. I
apply the curve to the negative image before printing.

If anyone is interested, the curve values are:


(The above results in a curve running from 44% to 85% K ink values.)

I'm printing these negatives on Cranes' Kid Finish which has been
double-coated with the VDB solution. Exposure is ~325 units with a
NuArc 26-1K mercury plateburner. This exposure prints out 14-15 steps
on a Stouffer test wedge and I gain a couple steps with processing and
drydown. The exposure is sufficient at this level to just "bronze" the
first step on the print and give maximum density in the originally
bronzed areas when fully dried. The prints are gold-toned as well.

I need to further increase the value (lighten) and contrast of the low
shadows slightly, but I'm getting very close to a decent print.
However, the result doesn't approach the creaminess of a VDB from a
large-format silver negative. It is OK and significantly improved over
results I had a few years ago with earlier generation inkjet printers.
Still, it looks different..."digital" to me and leaves me wondering
about the accolades I read about the quality of Pt/Pd and silverprints
from digital negatives. It is a way to get alternative process prints
from small format and digital cameras, but IMO, it doesn't come close to
the larger in-camera silver negative print. Maybe I'm just doing
something wrong. I'd appreciate any comments about perceived print
quality or suggestions about methods if anyone cares to share their
observations and experiences.

Also, I've also run some tests using spectral negatives this week but
decided I had sufficient density with the normal printing mode so I
abandoned the spectral negative path at least temporarily. I did
confirm that Dan's color table method which produces an orange negative
was one of the better hues for spectral density printing with VDB.
After running several tests along the entire spectrum, I found a hue
around 60 (a middle green color) in the Hue/Saturation control also
attenuated the exposure better than the other colors (including orange)
for this process. Perhaps the spectral method might lead to a smoother
tonal range in the print. Has anyone onlist experimented with this and
compared the spectral method to using neutral inkjet negatives? Any

I'd like to compare notes onlist or off with anyone else using similar
materials and making Van Dyke Brownprints using digital negatives.


Received on Thu Nov 18 19:30:13 2004

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