Little Bit of Dis Little Bit of Dat

Well I continue to dabble with Caffenol, although this time I am using it as a paper developer . . .  it’s fun, it’s time consuming, it’s a drag!!! bromide that is. . . .

titled: "Man with Hand", Kodak 2D 5x7 camera, Bausch & Lomb 12" lens, exposure 4 min @ f/32 using Ilford MGIV RC photo paper as the negative. Metered @ ISO = 6

titled: “Man with Hand”, Kodak 2D 5×7 camera, Bausch & Lomb 12″ lens, exposure 4 min @ f/32 using Ilford MGIV RC photo paper as the negative. Metered @ ISO = 6

The overall effect of the photo above I find pleasing . . . . but! There always seems to be a “BUT” . . . chuckle. This is my second intentional testing of the Caffenol/Ilford MGIV RC paper negatives as I try to hone my techniques with caffenol.  Although I do enjoy a challenge I sometimes thing the game is rigged.  Some photographers prefer the happy accident methods of caffenol (a pinch of this, 3 spoon fulls of that, squeeze the juices from this . . . ) and others (like me) want a bit of repeat ability in our madness.

I have been shooting some of the Harmon Direct Positive paper (Fiber Base, do make note of that) as well and using Caffenol as the developer with modest success in the processing and results being most pleasing.

Harmon Direct Positive Paper, note it has some Bromide drag visible

Harmon Direct Positive Paper, note it has some Bromide drag visible, developer Caffenol recipe No.1

 

Ilford MGIV RC, heavy bromide drag evident, developer Caffenol recipe No1

Ilford MGIV RC, heavy bromide drag evident, developer Caffenol recipe No.1

The bromide drag is most evident with the Caffenol recipe No.1/MGIV-RC paper combo.  Here are the recipes I am using so far.

Caffenol recipe No.1

  • water                   500ml
  • Instant coffee    23g
  • Washing Soda   12g
  • Vitamin C           10g

It is mixed in the same order as listed and allowed to set for 2 – 5  minutes in the tray before use.

Caffenol recipe No.2

  • water                   500ml
  • Instant coffee     15g
  • washing soda     12g
  • Vitamin C           10g

As you can see only the instant coffee has been reduced and the results are better with less bromide drag.  I believe there is another issue (actually two) going on with the paper itself and the developing agent (hydroquinone) which is incorporated into the emulsion, it is not present in the Fiber Based papers like the Harmon Direct Positive paper, the second issue my be the amount of silver salts in the paper which is higher then film. I am basing this one reading spec sheets and other internet sources.  My tray developing techniques may be part of the equation as well as the FAQ sheet states “use intermittent agitation when dish/tray processing prints” . . .

MGIV - RC paper negs, bromide drag clouds are clearly visible

MGIV – RC paper negs, Recipe No.1, bromide drag clouds are clearly visible in the 3 negatives shown

 

2nd test with recipe No.2

2nd test with recipe No.2, clearly better then the first recipe, but bromide clouds are still present (mottled appearance)

I am please yes but I want better control so now I will start to play with the base (washing soda) and start decreasing it to see which way the formula and bromide clouding (I will also watch my agitation and not be to aggressive).  I will be testing the develop to completion method as well.  Currently I am only doing one shot amounts for a total of one (8″ x 10″) sheet of paper to avoid developer exhaustion problems (it is a factor when using Caffenol, it exhausts quickly with paper).  Development Times are about the same as listed in the FAQ sheet when using suggested commercial developers so there are no surprises there, Noted exceptions are Recipe No.1 is very active and the image comes up very quickly, Recipe No.2 develops more in line to the FAQ times.

Now for the 2nd part of the equation (The included developing agent in the emulsion) which I had not accounted for . . . so with this I go back to my books and delve a bit deeper into the MGIV-RC paper and my Caffenol experiments . . . and yes I know I can use the commercial developers but what fun is that?

Digital Positive and analog Negative on Ilford MG IV RC paper

Digital Positive and analog Negative on Ilford MG IV RC paper

until then . . . get off yer butt and go take a picture . . . .

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