Video of reversal processing of photo paper using Kodak R-9 bleach formula

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by DonF, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. DonF

    DonF Member

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    I decided to break this out of the discussion on using hydrogen peroxide and citric acid for bleaching reversal prints, as it is specific to using the Kodak R-9 bleach formula.

    I am using graded #2 Arista Edu RC glossy 5x7 paper, cut to fit a 4x5 film holder. Using graded paper allows working under safelight conditions.

    I put together this video that show the exposure and complete darkroom process.



    Final image scan from video:
    img385_web.jpg

    Here are a few sample prints from the shoot:
    img380_web.jpg img381_web.jpg img382_web.jpg img383_web.jpg

    ...and a high key portrait of my daughter and co-conspirator in these explorations, Jenni. Same process.
    img352_web.jpg

    Another high key shot of an oldie...
    img343_web.jpg

    Best regards,

    Don
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  2. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber

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    That's pretty damn cool. Man if you don't have money for 8 x10, 11x14 you could sure take advantage of this. And as you have demonstrated with your images that you posted, it makes a very nice finished print. This would be a great studio proofing setup.

    So many people scan and print or post online. Obviously these original images scan nicely, and to get rid of the upside down and backwards thing you can do that in photoshop. Why spend 8 bucks a sheet on 8x10 Tri-X if all you do is scan. Seriously this isn't a direct replacement for film, but it's a great technique. Like all reversal processes, I suspect correct exposure and development is critical?

    Great Post!
    Mike
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Exposure is very critical, as the first development MUST be done to completion, or weird artifacts can appear from the undeveloped and unbleached silver halide. The negative image should be very dense, but clear regardless of how long it is developed. If it goes completely black, the paper was generally overexposed. This process seems to work well with exposure meters at ISO 3.

    I generally leave the image mirrored in the scans, as it approximates a wet plate tintype in emulsion speed and appearance.

    Don
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  4. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    Fun to watch!

    I've got several images in my apug portfolio made with 8x10 paper reverse processed (some years ago) if you care to look. I used long exposures rather than strobe.

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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Afraid these are in a "subscriber-only" area, so I cannot view them.
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Here is the bleach formula I used, based upon the Kodak R-9 published formula, adjusted for 35% sulfuric acid from the auto parts store:

    Potassium Dichromate Bleach
    ===========================
    700ml of distilled water
    34ml 0f 35% sulfuric acid (1.265 SG battery acid concentration) - ADD ACID TO WATER!!
    9.5g potassium dichromate
    Add water to make 1000ml.
     
  7. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    I've had my darkroom shutdown for a few years, and may be putting it back together soon. I've enjoyed reversal processing of both paper and film, but now will need to start gathering chemicals! So thanks for the formula, and I might get back with you in the future for same additional shop talk. Here are some of my past 8x10 direct to paper reversals:
    broom1.jpg screws.jpg scraper.jpg
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Wow, I love these! They are similar to the look with which we were experimenting.

    The processing is pretty fast, once you get all the trays set up. I use Pyrex dishes with snap-on covers, so can preserve the less perishable chems in the tray for a while.

    Best,

    Don
     
  9. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Don what's in the the first tray? Is it the bleach formula? and the second tray dev to positive image is also the bleach?? How strong is the stop bath?
    Thanks!
    Peter
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    The first (lower left) tray is Dektol 1+1 (with distilled water). The second tray (top left) is a weak solution of Kodak indicator stop bath (a few eyedroppers full in 250ml of tap water), The third tray (bottom right) is the Kodal R-9 potassium dichromate bleach, undiluted from the formula (distilled water used). The fourth tray (top right) is the sodium sulfite 5% clearing solution (tap water). I have two large plastic rinse trays filled with cool tap water for rinsing on either side of the central set of four trays.

    The second development is in the Dektol 1+1, not the bleach. It's the same stuff as the first development.

    Here are the mixing formulas used.

    Best,

    Don

    Dektol Powder Stock Solution (14.6% by weight)
    ==============================================
    551 grams to water, 3785.41 ml total volume (1 Gallon)
    or
    145 grams to water, 1000 ml total volume
    or
    68.87 grams to water, 473.18 ml total volume (16 ounces)

    Dektol Working Solution - 1+1 (7.3% by weight)
    (I know, mixing partial batches of Dektol is not optimal, but it has been working fine for me)
    ================================================
    72.5 grams of well-mixed dry Dektol powder to water, 1000 ml total volume
    or
    34.44 grams of well-mixed dry Dektol powder to water, 473.18 ml total volume (16 ounces)

    Kodak Stop Bath - 1+63
    ======================
    7.5ml + water, 473.18 ml total volume (16 ounces)

    Kodak Professional Fixer Working Solution (18.49% by weight)
    ============================================================
    700 grams to water, 3785.41 ml total volume (1 Gallon)
    or
    185 grams to water, 1000ml total volume
    or
    87.5 grams to water, 473.18 ml total volume (16 ounces)


    Potassium Dichromate Bleach
    ===========================
    700ml of distilled water
    34ml 0f 35% sulfuric acid (1.265 SG battery acid concentration) - ADD ACID TO WATER!!
    9.5g potassium dichromate
    Add water to make 1000ml.
    or
    300ml of distilled water
    16ml 0f 35% sulfuric acid (1.265 SG battery acid concentration) - ADD ACID TO WATER!!
    4.5g potassium dichromate
    Add water to make 473.18 ml (16 ounces)


    Clearing Bath (After Bleaching in Dichromate Bleach)
    ====================================================
    Water
    Sodium Sulfite, Desiccated 50 grams
    Mix to 1000 cc total volume
    Agitate for 1 minute.
    or
    Water
    Sodium Sulfite, Desiccated 23.7 grams
    Mix to 473.18 ml total volume (16 ounces)
    Agitate for 1 minute.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Nice video showing just how simple reversal processing is. Thanks for posting.

    Ian
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    I tried a test print today with the graded #2 Arista Edu RC glossy 5x7 paper (P400 speed), cut to fit a 4x5 film holder. The lighting conditions were heavily overcast. This was taken with my Graflex Graphic View II with a Schneider 210mm modern lens (Symmar-S Multicoated).

    I wanted to verify that the ISO 3 light meter setting I've been using for Speedotron flash metering also was a good setting for ambient light metering. I used the 10 degree reflective spot meter attachment for my Minolta IVF flash meter. aimed at the street. The meter indicated I should use an F/11 exposure at 1 second, which worked really well.

    The only other change to the process and chemistry mentioned above was that I used Ilford Multigrade developer at 1+9 instead of Dektol at 1+1. Development was 90 seconds (to completion) for both the first and second development. The second exposure was 30 seconds a foot or so beneath a 60 watt equivalent daylight balanced LED flood bulb, with constant motion beneath the bulb.

    I cleared a full 90 seconds in the sodium sulfite. All traces of the orange-brown dichromate stain were removed with the longer clearing time. The stain really shows up on the scanner if not sufficiently cleared.

    I like the Ilford developer liquid concentrate better than the Dektol. It is very easy to mix a small amount with no worries about the dry ingredients of the Dektol being mixed enough for a partial batch. The developer lasts a day or two in a covered tray and seems to process many prints without exhaustion.

    A big difference between using the potassium dichromate versus the hydrogen peroxide-based bleach is the purity of the whites in the finished dichromate-processed prints. Even when everything works well with the peroxide, the quality of the dichromate-bleached print side-by-side with the peroxide processed print is striking.

    Regards,

    Don

    img419_web.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  13. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    Hi Don- you are saying you feel the potassium dichromate gives obviously better whites than the hydrogen peroxide-based bleach?

    And, would that also depend on which acid you use?
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    I’ve run many tests with the peroxide bleach. The best results using citric acid yields somewhat leaden whites compared to the potassium dichromate/sulfuric acid bleach.
     
  16. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    crossover from the other thread :smile: In dozens of tests I haven't gotten pure bright whites using H2O2 bleach without resorting to pot ferri reducer at the end. ( Which is simple enough, and I don't mind ). So FWIW my experience so far matches Don's.
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Here is a representative example of the difference between the highlights obtained with a hydrogen peroxide/citric acid bleach {left} and potassium dichromate/sulfuric acid bleach (right).

    img420_web.jpg

    The lighting and exposure of the two shots are identical, 2400ws of Speedotron studio flash exposed at ISO 3. The backgrounds are identical as well,

    The left image represents the best bleaching results I have gotten with hydrogen peroxide/citric acid. More often the peroxide highlights are darker or exhibit emulsion defects or dark coppery colored stains. The dichromate bleach results are completely consistent if processing times are consistent.

    The scan was made of both prints simultaneously with no gamma adjustment or other changes.

    Best regards,

    Don
     
  18. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    Very useful info! Thanks so much for posting!
     
  19. OP
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Here are a few prints taken during and just after a snow storm and cold snap in the Chicago area. I'm now bleaching in the R9 longer (about a minute past when the image fades to white) and second-exposing a bit shorter, about 15 seconds under a 60 watt equivalent daylight balanced LED flood bulb with constant motion at 18 inches. This (along with development to completion during the first development) eliminates faint dark patches in the highlight area, slightly visible on a few of these. The whites look very good.

    I switched to Ilford Multigrade liquid developer from Dektol, mostly for mixing convenience. I'm going to try Caffenol C soon.

    I have been using a Minolta IVf light meter at ISO 3 for exposure in both flash and ambient light, with excellent results under all lighting conditions.

    Regards,

    Don

    img470_web.jpg img471B_web.jpg img472_web.jpg img473_web.jpg img474_web.jpg img476_web.jpg img477A_web.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  20. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Nice.
     
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    Thanks, Joe!

    I had fun experimenting with the peroxide, but find the R-9 bleach so repeatable and fast I've opted for that process for field shooting. I find the RC #2 Arista paper is cheap and gives excellent results when metered at ISO 3, whether reflected or incident, flash or ambient. Great for field shooting.

    Here's one reversal print I took in the studio as an afterthought to a wet plate collodion tintype shoot of the same subject with 4800ws of flash. I cut the intensity of flash way down for the paper exposure.

    img486_reversal_web.jpg

    ...and the tintype for comparison. The restricted dynamic range of the collodion is obvious, but gives an entirely different look:

    img482_web.jpg

    I've been enjoying your videos on pinhole photography, BTW. Going to get a laser pinhole for my 4x5 Graphic View II and try it with the reversal processing and paper.

    Best regards,

    Don
     
  22. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Those are great Don!
     
  23. keithostertag

    keithostertag Subscriber

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    It's been several years since I've had a darkroom setup, and at that time I gave away all my chemistry. Where do you recommend as a source(s) for the chemistry for reversal process now-a-days? I suppose I can get the sulfuric acid at the auto store, but potassium dichromate? Sodium sulfite (form?)?
     
  24. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    You can try:
    http://stores.photoformulary.com/
    and
    http://www.artcraftchemicals.com/products/
     
  25. OP
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    DonF

    DonF Member

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    I have purchased from both the sources mentioned by Truzi. They are both reputable and ship quickly. However, Ebay can be a good, inexpensive source of the more common chemicals.

    I purchased a zip lock bag containing 3 lbs of sodium sulfite (the potassium dichromate clearing agent) for 12.50 USD, plus 6.50 shipping. I also purchased 8 ounces of potassium dichromate for 13.95 USD plus 3.60 shipping. The 35% sulfuric acid I purchased at Autozone for 6.00 USD. It is very expensive to ship, but easily sourced at any auto parts store.

    The R9 bleach and clearing solution is not expensive at all to make, is difficult to exhaust, and stores well for a long time. When it's time for disposal, just add your clearing bath to the bleach. It will turn a deep green as it is converted to a less toxic form (although not harmless). Gloves, eye protection, and a respirator are a must when handling the powdered/crystalline potassium dichromate, as it is carcinogenic. The bleach can cause slow healing ulcers if it gets into any open wounds or cuts, so gloves are a must.

    The bleach will remove silver nitrate stains quickly from most surfaces that can take the low ph. It was sold as Kodak Tray Cleaner long ago. I gave a small bottle to my physician to remove counter stains from his silver nitrate cauterizing sticks. Works well on vinyl flooring and composite counter tops (NOT marble!!!!).

    Best regards,

    Don
     
  26. stiganas

    stiganas Member

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    This is one of my experiments: R9 bleach, regular Foma paper developer, regular Foma paper (13x18 in a large format camera). Paper was preflashed and metered around ISO3, everything done in my minuscule bathroom, scanned on an ancient Canon LIDE 30. The process is so easy and fast I don't understand why is not more widespread.
     

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