Potassium Dichromate and Other Influencers
so, i’ve been itching to get down into the darkroom again and try contact printing some of my 4×5 negatives with some of the traditional processes that i love. friday’s experiments with salt print didn’t produce much worth noting. and saturday’s experiments with van dyke brown just started out rather dreadful. the prints were coming out too dark and seriously lacking contrast like in the photo on the left. the images weren’t even close to how i’d envisioned this image printing.
i tried several basic things like adjusting the exposure time, different papers, everything was giving pretty much the same result. i decided to take a break and i got a text message from a friend who models for me. “How’s the printing going?”
“Meh,” i tell her.
a few minutes go by and i get a picture message of her breasts with the message, “here maybe this will help.” well, in my experience, lovely female boobs always help make any bad situation better. and maybe it freed my mind up a bit, but i said to myself, “you know potassium dichromate is supposed to be a contrast booster!” so i double coated some of the sheets i’d already coated, adding a couple drops of K2CrO7 this time.
and BAM! just like that, i get something like the final print shown above on the right!
and now the right side of the print is clear, there’s sufficient depth of dark tones in her hair and lips, and the nice subtle shadow on the left side.
so, the moral of the story is, anytime you’re feeling like things aren’t working call up a friend and say, “you know i haven’t seen your boobs in a while, would you mind helping me out here?” and if she doesn’t delete your phone number from her address book, you might make a discovery that you didn’t think you would find.