Anybody doing tintypes?

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Calamity Jane

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Just getting my fingers wet in tintype, with the Rocklands AG-Plus and "tintype developer" and hoping someone here can asnwer some questions.

#1 - The developer mixed up the colour of strong tea. It was purchased directly from Rockland only recently but I had read that the brown colour indicates it is "oxidized". The process isn't working well for me, so could this be part of the problem?

#2 - Coating thickness. When I spread the AG-Plus with my finger into a nice thin sheet, it all seems to just "wash off" in the developer and leave no image. When I paint it on thick with a brush, I get a better image but it is still REALLY dark (even when exposed up to f5.6 @ 3 seconds - books says f16@.5S in sunlight) Could this also be the developer? How thick should the emulsion coating be? As thick as a sheet of paper? As thick as a sheet of photo paper?

I have the opportunity to market "olde tyme photos" to 10,000 to 15,000 people over 4 days in July but I am rapidly loosing faith in the reliability of the tintype process!
 

colrehogan

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I see you've come from the LF forum to here! Glad to see you. Can you show us some of your results? As for #1, is your developer a stock solution or is it a dilution that is being made up each time you use it?
 

Aggie

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how thick is the stuff you are trying to spread? Is it thick like a paste, or thin like cream? You need to let the stuff be thin, not thick, and if it is a pre packaged liquid light stuff, it needs to sit in a container of hot water bath. it is best at cream 9thin0 consistency. It should also have to dry prior to usage.
 
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Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

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Hi Diane, nice to see you here (to) :smile:

My developer is Rockland tintype developer. Their instructions only cover making a working solution, no one-shots or anything else. It mixed up with the colour of strong tea, which I understand indicates it may be "oxidized". In their FAQ on the Web page, they indicate bad devloper is one of the possible causes of a dark plate. Rockland is sending me another batch of developer.

Unfortunately even the best images I have so far are so dark they probably won't scan.

Aggie: Yes, it is quite thick and I stand the bottle in HOT water to thin it, then pour some into a smaller jar, also standing in hot water.

I have tried everything from VERY thin coatings to quite thick and a broad range of exposures.
 

Aggie

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PM a member here, quinn, he is one who is a major player in the tin type area. He starts from scratch mixing chemicals for it, but i'm sure he has done your version too.
 

Kerik

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Calamity Jane said:
My developer is Rockland tintype developer. Their instructions only cover making a working solution...

Hi Jane,

I've never used the Rockland product, but I do traditional tintypes and ambrotypes using the wet plate collodion method (I currently have one posted on the opening page of my website). Have you considered going this route? I'm relatively new to wetplate, but I've found it pretty easy to learn and have not experienced the problems you are having. Plus, you're then more autonomous and don't have to depend on a commercial product that may disappear when you least expect it.

Kerik
www.kerik.com
 
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Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

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Hi Kirk!

looking at the tintype on your cover page, my images aren't a WHOLE lot darker than that. Maybe I am closer to the limitations of the process than I realized.

I briefly considered plate process but didn't find any plate holders readily available (at a reasonable price). I also did want to make one right now. With tintype, my plates are thin enough to fit in a standard sheet film holder.

I may venture into "rolling my own" when I get a little more experienced with the process. I was hoping a commercial set of chemicals would give me good repeatable results to go after one particular commercial opportunity this summer. If I don't get the tintype working reliably, I'll switch to POP for this event and come back to play with tintype later.
 

Andy K

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The following link will take you to a page on the National Geographic site, where photographer Robb Kendrick did a Zip USA article using tintype photography. On the right of the page is a box titled 'Multimedia', in that box there is a three part video of Robb at work, part one covers his tintype process.

http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature6/
 

Kerik

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Calamity Jane said:
Hi Kirk!

looking at the tintype on your cover page, my images aren't a WHOLE lot darker than that. Maybe I am closer to the limitations of the process than I realized.

I briefly considered plate process but didn't find any plate holders readily available (at a reasonable price). I also did want to make one right now. With tintype, my plates are thin enough to fit in a standard sheet film holder.
Jane,

If the image looks very dark on your computer, that may just be a difference between your monitor and mine. Tintypes tend to have a bit of a "muted" look to them, however. And as far as your holder, if it holds the tin you're using for the Rockland process, it should also hold a plate for a collodion tintype.

Kerik
www.kerik.com
 

photomc

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Kerik, glad you posted on this..have not been by your site to see the latest work. Very nice, love the range of tones you got with this and find the image sharpness very nice. Did you use a vintage lens on this?
 
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Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

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Say kerik, where can I find information on mixing my own chemicals for tintype?

I've been all over the Web and not found anything.

Thanks!
 

JG Motamedi

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Here is a standard developer for collodion tin-types, perhaps it will work with the Rockland kit.

15 g Ferrous Sulfate
355 ml Distilled Water
14 ml Acetic Acid
18 ml 190 proof Grain Alcohol (you can also use denatured alcohol)

There aren't too many formulae on the web. The Ostermans (www.collodion.org) sell a manual.
 

Kerik

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photomc said:
Kerik, glad you posted on this..have not been by your site to see the latest work. Very nice, love the range of tones you got with this and find the image sharpness very nice. Did you use a vintage lens on this?
Mike,

Thank you. I don't remember which lens I used for this one. It was probably my 240mm WA Dagor. Amazing lens. Covers 14x17.

Jane - Your best bet for written instructions would be to get the Osterman's book, as Jason suggested. But, this is one of those processes that is best learned in person from an experienced practioner.

Kerik
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Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

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Thanks for the suggestions.

Being up here in Manitoba, Canada, there's not much chance of learning tintype from a practitioner of the art. Large Format even by conventional means is pretty rare here. If there's any alternative photography going on, I have never heard about it.

Books and forums like this one are my only option.
 

Digidurst

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Hi Jane! Ellen here from the LF forum... I'll be interested to hear about your progress with the new batch of developer. Based on some of the other stuff you've talked about (making yourself and so on) I would bet that you'll get the hang of tintypes very soon.

Andy, thanks for posting the link to the tintype video - it sure was fun to watch!

Kerik, I really enjoyed perusing your website - beautiful imagery there! Noticed a few prints that were done on vellum. I had no idea such a material would work but it has inspired me to try the medium.
 
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Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

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Gee Ellen, if we keep turning up on all the same forums, people will start to think we're the Bobsy Twins :D

It will be a couple of weeks before the new batch of developer meanders its way thru Canada Customs but I will keep you posted.

I took a "snow day" today (winter storm) and have used the time to coat about 30 more plates and to log all my tintype attempts and the results.

I am getting some nice images, but they are VERY dark eventhough I have had to go WAY WAY above the Rockland suggested exposure of f16@1/2 in bright sun. My best images have been 5.6@3 Seconds and on thick emulsion coatings (which may be because the developer is trying to "eat" my emulsion). What's supposed to be white is medium grey.

If I get some good sun to finish off my snow day, I'm going to try some more long exposures and SHORT development.

Despite the difficulties, I am really gettin hooked on this tintype stuff! It is SOOO different than working with commercial films, papers, and chemistry and doing the same thing thousands of others are doing :cool:
 

Ole

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Just a quick note: The Ferrous sulfate developer given above is a special case in terms of storage: For maximum life, it should be stored in clear glass bottles in bright light!

According to my ancient literature it gives a bluish tone...
 

Ole

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No, not at all. The developer works by oxidation of Fe(II) to Fe(III) by reduction of Ag(I) to Ag(0). Just the same as what happens in Kallitype; except there you start with Fe(III) and Ag(I), and some of the iron is reduced to Fe(II) by the light. Here you have a solution of Fe(II), some of which will slowly be oxidised to Fe(III) over time. So keeping it in bright light will reduce it to Fe(II) again!
 

Kerik

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Digidurst said:
Kerik, I really enjoyed perusing your website - beautiful imagery there! Noticed a few prints that were done on vellum. I had no idea such a material would work but it has inspired me to try the medium.
Ellen,

Thank you. If you want to try vellum for pt/pd, I'd suggest Clearprint 100% Rag drafting vellum. Be aware though, that the vellum papers I've tried have been prone to producing black spots - probably from ferric contaminants in the paper.

Jane - Again, I've not used the Rockland product, but I doubt you will get a true white from it. If you look at period tintypes in antique stores, they tend to have a muted, grayish look to them. Which is the character of the process.

Ole - regarding the ferrous sulfate developer. I hadn't read about storing it in clear bottles as you suggest. I only make up enough at a time that I will use for a session, so I haven't really stored it for any length of time. And as for bluish tones, was that in reference to collodion images or is this developer also used for other purposes?

Kerik
www.kerik.com
 

Ole

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I have never tried this developer myself, but it is mentioned in all my old German books as a good plate developer - mostly "normal" silver gelatine plates and "lantern plates", where it is said to give "very good images with a beautiful blue tone". I'm currently at work in the North Sea, so I can't check my library for quite a while. But I found the information interesting, and that means I can usually remember it correctly :smile:

Just for reference - the relevant books are Eder's tables, and Dr. E. Vogel's 1910 book I've quoted here before.
 

Digidurst

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Ole said:
No, not at all. The developer works by oxidation of Fe(II) to Fe(III) by reduction of Ag(I) to Ag(0). Just the same as what happens in Kallitype; except there you start with Fe(III) and Ag(I), and some of the iron is reduced to Fe(II) by the light. Here you have a solution of Fe(II), some of which will slowly be oxidised to Fe(III) over time. So keeping it in bright light will reduce it to Fe(II) again!

Well, who da thunk it?!?
 

CraigK

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Being up here in Manitoba, Canada, there's not much chance of learning tintype from a practitioner of the art. Large Format even by conventional means is pretty rare here. If there's any alternative photography going on, I have never heard about it.

While it may not be a hotbed of alt photography there are a few of us doing some interesting things in Manitoba. My specialty is Platinum/Palladium, Cyantoypes and Kallitypes. I give workshops a couple times a year on alt and large format photography at the PrairieView school of photography. In fact I will be helping a young lady try to figure out the tintype process this weekend.

There are others that do some fine alt work including a terrific photographer named Bruce Monk who does some very nice dance photography in Pt/Pd.

Calamity, why don't you drop me a line sometime at the school ( I own it) I would be more than happy to offer you what ever advice I can.

Cheers!

CraigK
 
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