results from gum printing with the PDN system

From: Christina Z. Anderson ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 06/12/05-04:15:40 PM Z
Message-id: <002701c56f9c$479bc7a0$6101a8c0@your6bvpxyztoq>

Hi all,

I finally finished my first side by side test of the PDN system.

I saw PDN's value immensely with palladium and cyano and such, but went into
gum with the attitude of "if it ain't broke why does it need fixing?" as far
as my personal work flow. I was willing to be surprised. I also was
skeptical that the PDN system would work with gum as gum doesn't operate in
the same fashion as silver or palladium necessarily.

Caveats, etc: One 16x20 gum print side by side is only one example. I have
run out of sized paper and can't do any more until after my move out of
South Carolina this week and my period of mourning for such, but I just HAD
to test it before I packed up. Also, I am not Mark Nelson's shill, although
I have come to know him over the last half year through my constant whining
and questions because he did the mistake of giving me his home phone number
at a workshop.

First: my old way is black ink only negs with a curve I got from someone
used equally on all 3 RGB separations, on Photo Warehouse film (about 80
cents a sheet), on Epson 2200. I use spray development, too. A fairly
loosey goosey method.

The PDN system requires color negs, thus I had to switch to Pictorico film.
Photo Warehouse smudged with the ink load. Right off the bat my tricolor
negs tripled in price :( That meant the results had to be good enough to
warrant the extra cost or else I would continue with my old way which worked

The PDN system requires "paying your dues". For instance, yesterday since I
had made a glitch in my curve data entry system, I had to go back and
reenter data on every curve I ever did. 10 hours of work. That was not the
PDN system's fault, but mine, but Mark sure heard me bitch about that one as
I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Again, payoff has to be
worth it to warrant the time cost of developing your own custom curves for a
process that has flexibility built into its nature.

I did my side by side prints. When the PDN example came out of the water I
was not as impressed as I expected because it didn't look like what I
expected. I had printed that image quite a few times before and it didn't
look like my other prints. I went to my computer and that was when the
lightbulb turned on.

The original image on my computer looks just like the PDN image. My old gum
workflow does not quite look like the original image. What I realized from
this is that when Mark says what you see on your computer screen is what you
get, he ain't a kiddin', so you better have it right on screen.

For example, the image was a bit washed out. It was also a bit high
contrast. So was my original computer image. The trees were blue biased,
but when I looked at my computer screen they were blue biased there, too.
There was what I thought was a mistake in the PDN image which upon
magnifying the computer image, I found was an actual funnel spider web in
the image itself which now showed up because it was correctly balanced color
and contrast wise. There were little bits of green grass among the pine
needles that showed up in the PDN system, and on the computer screen, which
I didn't even know were there until I looked again at a blow up of the
image. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, I was actually shocked.

This is my assessment: if your gum process is working fine and creatively,
so be it, don't bother. But those of you struggling to get your tricolor
image to be tricolor or look like what is on your screen, it is the way to
go. Now that I've seen these results, I unfortunately can't justify
returning to my old way. My gum prints just went up $10 each to pay for the

That is not to say you can't make perfectly good gum prints any old method
you choose, paper negs, toilet paper, typing paper, McDonald's paper bags,
and make use of gum's infinitely variable nature. But my guess is that the
people having trouble achieving accurate tricolor have not used the correct
combination of curve, exposure, and pigment load for each individual layer,
all calibrated to their own personal computer/scanner/printer setup.
Speaking of which, I will not share curves because chances are they won't
work for anyone else, anyway unless they come to my house, use my system,
and print in my bathtub.

PS as of the end of this week my will no longer be. It
is, as always, for anyone who cares. See some of you at
Received on Sun Jun 12 16:16:01 2005

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