First VDB steps opinion and results

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vcolas

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Just wanted to share my first VDB experience with you all.

I assist to a workshop in Madrid to initiate myself into Vandyke Brown process. We didn't focus on curve callibration or other digital side of the process as I've already worked with this (Which doesn't mean that I've mastered it, but well... I had to make the most of the time)
We use basically same adjusts in negatives to work with different papers, emulsion variations, toners etc... and check the results understanding what was going on there.

I was very surprised at how flexible the process is and how many micro-variations and possibilities it provides, unlike most of the analyses I have seen issued on it. It's a relatively inexpensive process that I think covers most of my needs and can give me a lot of creative play. I think that, all in all, I've discovered something that I can feel comfortable with and investigate.


Here you've some examples (Please don't judge coating borders or photo quality :D It was more about internalising and mechanising the process in order to learn than about getting good copies.)

Same photo, diferent papers/toner (All with gelatine base) Analog 35mm escaned, digital negative:

Comparacion_globos_web_33.jpg




This photo of a friend was picked because I wanted to see how VDB showed up with foggy/cloudy scenes in this "coarser" papers (Both with Acid, also 35mm film, scaned, digital neg):
Comparacion_Berlin_web.jpg




An experiment with an extremely contrasted image with a hand in glow, this time in a very fine Washi Kozo paper (No gelatine, digital photo)

ManoDavid_web.jpg



This one is my favourite, not only because it's one of my favourite places in the world (Tozal del Mallo in the Pyrenees, Ordesa National Park) but because was the first successfull one :D
Fabriano Artistico + gelatine + Acid emulsion + Gold Toner (Digital photo, GR1):




Tozal_web.jpg



I'm starting to configure my tiny darkroom to be able to print VDB properly and making some test prints to callibrate my process (I've yet to test it against my 5x7 film...)
Any advice is wellcome!


Bests!
 

Rolleiflexible

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I was very surprised at how flexible the process is and how many micro-variations and possibilities it provides, unlike most of the analyses I have seen issued on it.

After taking a deep dive into kallitypes, and seeing how some others have teased amazing prints from toned cyanotypes, I suspect your observation is true for most processes. Most people who have tried alt processes barely skim the surface. If you put in the time to really master the process, you begin to see its possibilities.
 

Dan Pavel

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Nice examples of VDB. No doubt of that, VDB is a very nice and flexible process. I suggest you to try Selenium toner wit VDB, as well. However, the gold-toned Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag is intriguing. It should be more reddish-dark but it's almost indistinguishable of the untoned Hahnemuhle print. What toner have you used?
When I tested Fabriano Artistico with VDB my results showed less contrast than yours. Have you used a special treatment of the paper?
 
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vcolas

vcolas

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Good work, I enjoy seeing the brush marks.
Thanks @rcphoto , These are just tests not focused in the final result, I'm expecting an improvement in the brush marks accuracy, anyway as you said, it's beautiful to me :D
After taking a deep dive into kallitypes, and seeing how some others have teased amazing prints from toned cyanotypes, I suspect your observation is true for most processes. Most people who have tried alt processes barely skim the surface. If you put in the time to really master the process, you begin to see its possibilities.

Your words came out my teacher/master in this workshop in the same way, so if 2 masters told me the same, it's a truth :D Now let's put this time into the process.

Nice examples of VDB. No doubt of that, VDB is a very nice and flexible process. I suggest you to try Selenium toner wit VDB, as well. However, the gold-toned Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag is intriguing. It should be more reddish-dark but it's almost indistinguishable of the untoned Hahnemuhle print. What toner have you used?
When I tested Fabriano Artistico with VDB my results showed less contrast than yours. Have you used a special treatment of the paper?

I tried Selenium in a couple of discarded copies because we didn't manage to get a "proper" colour, it gets brownish but....cold? a wird colour I don't know how to explain this one. Probably I was doing something wrong and it's in my list to test this. I gold toned with gold chloride 5% in emulsion, every time I tested it it gave me an improvement in "resolution" micro-contrast, not so much of colour/toning.
Regarding the treatment of the paper, It's "worked" sorry but don't finde the english word for this... basically put into hot water until fibers are ready to not stretch-expand any more once it's dried. Then just adding a gelatine coat with roller and the emulsion in dry.
 

Dan Pavel

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koraks

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Nice; looking good! I've always found VdB a nice and straightforward process, and gold toning makes (IMO) very nice prints indeed.

The Gold-Thioureea toning formula will give you an almost b&w image, with slightly reddish blacks.

Depends on how deeply one tones. Strong toning will produce a nearly neutral, somewhat blue/cool black tone. Tone a little more briefly or with more dilute toner, and you get pretty bright reds that dry down to some duller red-browns. That's my experience at least.

I never had much luck toning VdB's in normal selenium toner, but never tried compounding my own Se-toner without ammonia. That's the route I'd try. I got lots of bleaching, reduced dmax and a yellowish color that I personally didn't care for. Very similar to the middle example in your excellent comparison.
 
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