• Grant Handgis

"Stairway to the Past II" ~ Testing Comparisons

As I have with the past 11x17 prints, I am taking my sweet time making a final print. Each image I work with brings its own characteristics to be dealt with, in the process of ending up with an final print image that is the strongest way of showing off the print. I spend this much time, and material expense simply because all my prints now are unique, and there is but one time, one printing that will represent the image, for all time. It has to be perfect, archivally, as well as ending up with an image that is strong enough to allow the viewer to feel the mood set, connect with the image emotionally. Well, that's the theory. How well I hue to that will of course be decided by the viewer. For me, once I get the image printed the way I want it to be represented, then I'm good with it.

Palladium toned Kallitypes

"Stairway to the Past II" Test Images

Test Strip: Neg 1

This is the final test strip I printed of the more important areas of the image; the highlights, with background.The print time was 8-minutes; developed in sodium citrate, toned in palladium for 9-minutes. This is very close to how I wanted the tonal values to play out. Slightly light with the shadows, and just slightly bright on the highlights of the cement wall and stone floor. So, I added one minute to the full print to come, thinking it would slightly darken the shadows and print down the highlights a little more. That isn't what happened. The print image was considerably darker in the shadows, with the highlights printed down more than would be expected of a one minute difference. All of which is something I am unable to account for. Same process all across the test strips and prints.

Print from Neg 1; 11 min

The only difference being I freshened up the sodium citrate developer. I use the replenisher method, adding to the developer the amount of solution used during printing. When I've used one liter of replenisher with the original 2 liter developing solution, I toss it all out and start fresh. I would be hard pressed to believed that much difference showing up with basically the same developer. I also mixed fresh EDTA clearing back and print fixer. At any rate, what I got was quite a bit darker, richer, yet with the middle tones more suppressed than I would like.

Print from Neg 2; 8 min

This print is the same setup, same developer, same chemistry. The difference between the two is simply one minutes print time. Hence my confusion .Both of these prints are made from the same negative. This negative was made with my Kallitype <curve> plus an added +20 contrast ~ -10 shadows. This was to separate the shadows and highlights from the middle tones, brighten up the image. It worked, but I didn't go far enough at the time. I opted to retry the negative, adding the densities, dropping out others. The print to the left was made from the first negative I made, with just the K <curve> added. The final image is the second negative made, with the added densities in the highlights and reduced densities in the shadows & blacks. All three images are straight out of my Canon 20D, using the same outside light upon the print during copying. There are many things predictable about making Kallitype prints, when the process has been controlled, for predictability. Having made hundreds of Kallitypes, one gets the feel of things over time, hence better predictability.

What becomes immediately evident is the back wall of the setting, in this print the tones are more open to view. The highlights of direct sunlight on the concrete doorway and stone floor are brighter. In this print they need to be printed down a couple more minutes to reach a more appreciable zone 7, showing the brightness, but with full texture. All of which goes to demonstrate that an image can be represented in many different ways. So, where I'm at right now, is the first print is the original negative, and needs to be printed with less time to be more appreciative, and the second print, with the added manipulation of densities [more contrasty], needs to have print time added. Both are very close, The winner will turn out to be somewhere between the two prints as they are now.

There will be more printing to come for this image. This post was to show the process as it unfolded. I have blogged on process for years now. What I want to focus on now is technique; the manipulating of the image to create a desired end result that utilizes Pictorial Effect. Altering an image to create a mood in the setting to arrive at the strongest way of showing the image. Once I get full dry down with the latest print, the task will be to sit them side by side under good light and ponder just exactly which way I want to go, then find the perfect print time. That's the task.


g. Michael Handgis Photography


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