Sunday, May 26, 2013

Two kinds of CSS

In former posts I have been talking about this fantastic developer I called CSS. It is a stock solution containing, per liter, 5 g Sodium Sulfite, 100g coffee, 100g Vit. C and 6g of CD4, the developer agent for C-41 film process.
The mixture of coffee, vit. C and CD4 is superadditive and gives a powerfull developer, for film and for paper. Until now I only used it for B&W film and paper. But I am sure it will develop C-41 films and maybe with color.

Today I decided to prepare another developer inspired in the above one. But instead of CD4, I used Hair Dye. All attempts I have made until now to develop color with hair dye failed more or less.

I prepared the developer the same way as CSS and instead of 6g CD4 I putted 20ml/l of hair dye. Then I made the working solution for paper and exposed some sheets of paper and developed in it. It does develop paper very quickly but I couldn't reproduce the positivation like I was doing with CSS-CD4. Only the negatives were OK.

Then, with the same developer I putted a stripe of color film in it and nothing happened... so quickly. I left the stripe for more than half an hour and it did turned black. Then I tried to bleach this stripe and it was not 'bleachable', it stayed black.

OK, now let us expose a color film in the camera and develop it in this thing at room temperature. So I did, developed for one hour and used blix for finishing. As result I had a completely usable black and white negative, that can be scanned as normal.

One thing is clear to me, the image is black and white but is not a silver image it is a dye image where the colors were only black.

I repeated the experience but using temperature, about 38 ºC. The result was not that different. I still can't say I can develop color without CD4, but I can develop C-41 films as B&W, bleached and transparent looking like normal B&W developed film.

CSS-HD + Blix @ R.T.
CSS-HD + Blix @ 38ºC
CSS-HD + Blix @ 38ºC
The films were scanned as color negative, but they only have a 'smell' of color.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trying and trying

I am still gaining control over the paper direct positive process based on the recipe of Donald Qualls for film.
I spent the whole day taking pictures, one after the other, and developing in different conditions. I also used Parodinal again but I found out that my recipe of CSS works much better.
I reduced the amount of CSS in the developer to the half but increased the ammount of soda to the double. It works fine. I also tryed a weaker version with only 1/4 of CSS but it was a disaster. So, more or less, the optimal recipe for the developer is:

50 ml of CSS
200 ml of a sol. of Soda at 10%
250 ml water

Pulling the string linked to shutter
The Bleach is exactly the same of the recipe given by Donald Qualls, i.e., 10g Potassium Dichromate and 12g Sulfuric Acid for 1 liter solution. Also the clearing bath is the same, 10% Sodium Sulfite.

An interesting thing is that I don't need a clock to count the baths durations, all of them require counting from 1 to 100. Only the bath in just water after Sodium Sulfite should be 2-3 minutes.

I would like to use this process for portraits, but my lights are too weak for the paper sensitivity. Now I am thinking of buying panchromatic paper which is maybe more sensitive and I may use indoors with artificial light. Meanwhile, I made a self-portrait at my balcony but even there I needed 1/2 second exposure time at f/5.6.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Establishing the procedure of direct positive on normal photo paper

As I already said before, I was just trying this recipe of Donald Qualls but using paper instead of film.

With fresh prepared developer baths and bleaching bath, it was not too difficult to get the first results. But the devil is in the details. And so I started a long series of trial and error until I could come to a more confident procedure that gives results if the exposure was correct.

Below is the photo as it comes after the whole procedure until washing and drying, scanned reflexive with my Epson V500. No adjustments in scanner and no adjustments in software.

The picture as it comes
After balance in software
Aplying a daguerrreotype mask
Because the image is inverted like in the daguerreotypes, I played a little in the last picture, making a sort of daguerreotype look with the program Photoscape.

Now, in what consisted the whole procedure, still not the last word, I think, but where we can go with a certain confidence.

The first results I got were developed with a Parodinal I made one year ago. But I spent the last drops of it inthe experience and then, after one day the developer became weak and I had a lot of disasters. At one point I was almost giving up. I changed the dichromate bath with Betadine and also with ferric EDTA but none worked. I decided to start from the beginning but now using as developer my CSS (Caffenol Super Strong) and as bleach bath again potassium dichromate in a higher concentration because I noticed that the zones bleached did develop again. So, resuming we have following recipe:

100 ml of CSS
100 ml of a 10% sol. Sodium Carbonate
300 ml water
50 ml of a solution containing 10% Potassium Dichromate and 13% Sulphuric Acid
450ml water
Clearing bath:
500ml of a 10% sol. Sodium Sulfite
100 ml of a 60% sol. Ammonium Thiosulfate
500 ml water

After exposing the paper in the camera,
Step1: Develop in the developer for about 1 minute, until you see that nothing more happens. You should have a nice negative, rich in contrast.
Rinse in water
Step 3:
Bleach for 1 minute. Although the image vanishes in seconds, prolong the bath until one minute (I just count from 1 to 100 shaking up and down the tray)
Rinse in water
Step 5:
Give a one minute bath in the clearing bath.
Step 6:
Rinse and leave in just water for one minute
Step 7:
Put the paper with the emulsion side up in a tray with just water and expose it to light, I used a 50W lamp at some 50 cm, during 2 minutes. A fancy blueish positive image will appear slowly.
Step 8:
When the image in water is clear to see, change the paper to the developer again and develop for one minute again.
Step 9:
Rinse in water
Step 10:
Fix like usual for 1-3 minutes
Step 11:
Wash well and let dry.


Equipment used: Zeiss-Ikon folding 9x12 camera with a Wollensack 135mm f/4.7; Ilford Multigrade IV paper, brillant.

Last changes, 22-05-2013,

I found out that Parodinal, in the paper concentration, is not a good developer to use because pictures come foggy. The CSS (Caffenol Super Strong) gives excellent results, even less concentrated. I am using now:

50 ml CSS
200 ml of a 10% sol. of Soda
250 ml water

What the bleach bath is concerned, the concentration is the same of Donald Qualls when used in 1+10 dilution.

One year ago I prepared this developer, an alternative to the famous Rodinal. I wrote then:

Starting from this formula of Donald Qualls.

250 ml Water30 tablets @ 500 mg Acetaminophen50 g Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous)20 g Sodium Hydroxide (anhydrous)
Mix in order indicated, let stand in sealed container 72 hours before using. Keep crystals from bottom of container with liquid when decanting, stir before drawing off concentrate for dilution. Use dilutions and times as for Agfa Rodinal. Use within 30 minutes of dilution.

Sodium Sulfite is not available for me, and may be for others too. So, I propose following recipe:

2x100 ml Water
20 g Sodium Hydroxide
30 tablets @ 500 mg Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)
40 g Sodium Carbonate (Potash)
500 ml Sulfurous Acid at 6% or equivalent to 30 g of pure acid

Solution A:

First of all, with a mortar, transform the Acetaminophen in powder.
Put 100 ml water in a beaker and 20 g Sodium Hydroxide inside and stir. While hot pour the acetaminophen and stir, one tsp each time until all powder is inside. This solution will be brownish. Let the beaker by side, let us call it beaker A.

Solution B:
Put another 100 ml water in another beaker and add 40g Sodium Carbonate and stir. It will not dissolve all but it doesn't matter. Now go on pouring the sulfurous acid slowly because you will get a lot of bubbles. In this reaction CO2 is produce in large quantity. You will end with less than 500 ml of a solution of Sodium sulfite. Put the solution in a pirex jar and heat it to get the CO2 out, stirring with a spoon. Let the solution cool down.

In a 500 ml bottle pour the content of beaker A. Then wash the beaker with solution B and pour in the 500 ml bottle until this is full. You may have more sulfite left but not much. You have now 500 ml of Parodinal. Let it rest for the same 72 hours before use.

When preparing the work solution, take in account that you end with 500 ml instead of the 250 ml of Donald's recipe. So, you need to double the concentration of the solution, instead of 1:100, use 1:50 and so on.

End of citation

I used the last portion of the developer yesterday, the 17-05-2013. The developer was in a room, not climatized, in a light plastic bottle that had RO9 before. The developer worked well until the end, I didn't notice any weakness. When used as paper developer, 1:10 dilution, it stands for more than 24 hoours active.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Direct positive on normal photographic paper

Based on the recipe described by Donald Qualls here, I tried to make direct positive on paper. I had not the recipe present and did the test just by remembering the principle. The essential is to make a first development which gives negative, wash the silver (bleach), exposure of the reminding silver halides that form the positive image and develope again. So I did and I have got some pictures. I need to make some more work, Adjusting exposure and times of the baths. Also I skiped the clearing bath because I didn't remember of it.


Less underexoposed
I used as developer the homemade Parodinal and the bleach as described by Donald Qualls. I can't say why the well exposed pictures remained negatives and only the underexposed suffered inversion. I was just playing a little by feeling with the times and so on. Next time I will follow the original recipe and I might get better results.

The last one looks like a daguerreotype, I like it!

Monday, May 13, 2013

I have a feeling...

When I decided to restart making traditional photography, the first think I did was to buy a 5 liter jerrycan of ammonium thiosulfate, the so called rapid fixer. I intended to use selfmade developers, but at the time I thought there was no way to overcome the use of the fixer of ammonium thiosulfate, other than the unfashionable hypo (sodium thiosulfate). When I was young, I have used hypo and I knew that the time to fix was about 10 minutes. Then the brands start offering rapid fixer (ammonium thiosulfate) and hypo was forgotten.

Now, for a while, when I was still using commercial developers like R09 and Ilfosol 3, I had no problems with the fixer. But since I am using coffee (and vit.C) based developers, I am getting some annoying white spots in the positives which corresponds to opaque deposits on negatives. I discovered that washing very well the negative after the development with caffenol, there were less spots but still some.

To be sure that the combination coffee&ammonium thiosulfate was to blame about the spots I decided to not rinse in between and I had pictures like this:

Coffee+Vit.C developer + Ammonium Thiosulfate fixer
At last, I decided to use the old hypo (sodium thiosulfate) instead of ammonium thiosulfate. The time makes no difference to me. First I had to prepare the sodium thiosulfate boiling a solution of sodium sulfite with sulfur and filtering the product.

The results were very nice, no spots at all, very clean negatives, like this one

Coffee+Vit.C + Sodium Thiosulfate fixer

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Going a little more professional

Yesterday I have been replacing the bellows of a Horseman 980 I bought at ebay not so expensive. The bellows were announced at ebay as fitting the horseman but they were a little too large, I hade to use some tricks but finally it is working and no light leaks were found.

The lens I am using is a Wollensack 135 mm f/4,7, in a selfmade lensboard. This lens are very good but I didn'y succeed yet to get the image totally sharp. The lens for horseman need a foccusing cam to let you use the range finder, but this one hasn't and at ebay they sell these small pieces of iron for a lot of money. Someday I build one myself.

So, before going outside, I lost a certain time to find the right position for the focus at infinity. I failed a little, the images could be better.

The horseman takes 10 pics with a 120 film loaded in the back, it may also use film sheets with the right holders.

I used this time my last developer, Caffenol Super Strong (CSS), with splendid results. No fog and no spots and very little grain too. Definitly the spots were a problem with the fixer of ammonium thiosulfate. This time I used sodium thiosulfate and the negatives are completely nice.

A hill of houses

Small expensive bridge
Along the river Lis

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Adox, CSS, Shangai and Hypo

As I already told in this blog, I discovered by chance a superaditivity between Caffenol Strong and the color developer CD-4. To the new soup I called Caffenol Super Strong, or simply CSS. I prepared 500 ml of the stock solution and this is enough for 50 films, each using 10ml for a 500ml batch working solution. I am going to add this recipe to the page of recipes of this blog later on.

Looking for cheap films, I ordered some 120 films of the brand Shangai to be exposed in one of the new acquired ADOX Golf 63. I did expose the film in the camera, it was a clear day, I used the f/16 rule. With the shutter speed at 1/200s I used apertures between f/6.3 and f/11. The camera needs an adjustment in the focusing system, the photos are not very sharp.

Using the CSS, I developed the film for 15 minutes in semi-stand, then stop bath of 20% vinagre and finally a fixer made from sodium sulfite and sulfur boiling for half an hour in a glass jar. This is the Sodium Thiosulfate, it is much softer tha Ammonium Thiosulfate and it does not produce the well known white spots that I already reported before.

I think the film was a little underdeveloped (the amount of KBr is critical), instead of 15 minutes, maybe extending to 20, 25 or even 30 minutes. Next time.

Due to bad focus, some spots caused by accident handling the film and so on, I used the software to create some pieces of photoArt. Here are some:

Abandoned house
Milagres, Leiria


Shooting against the sun
West Line II
West Line I