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The Barnet Book of Photography A Collection of Practical Articles

If the bichromate is used only in the pigmented gum


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paper, if it has been correctly coated will work satisfactorily, if on steeping a small piece of it downwards upon cold water, the pigmented gum dissolves and drops from the surface leaving the paper nearly clean. From ten to fifteen minutes should complete this test.

The method of working without previously chromatizing the paper is as follows:--Take half a fluid ounce of four-in-ten gum mucilage and add to it an equal quantity of saturated solution of bichromate of potass; to this, with all care as to grinding and mixing, add the pigment; coat the paper as before directed. This method will be considerably slower in printing than that in which the paper had been previously saturated with the bichromate; neither are the whites as a rule quite so clear; but it will possess a peculiar grain and softness not otherwise obtainable, which is much approved by some workers of the process.

Exposure is so much dependent on circumstances that it is difficult to give precise directions, being governed by the density of the negative, the thickness of the coating and the intensity of the light. Even and not too dense negatives are the more suitable, for if the intermediate and high-lights are over dense the shadows are considerably over printed before the lighter parts can be brought out. Skill in development can do much to overcome these defects, but they may be considerably modified by the judicious employment of matt varnish,

and by other methods of locally retarding printing.

The greatest assistance in obtaining uniformity in printing is the employment of a reliable actinometer, Wynne's print meter is probably the most useful for this purpose, with ordinary gelatino-chloride paper as a register; from twelve to sixteen numbers will be mostly sufficient for an ordinary negative, on not too thickly coated paper. Another method of judging exposure is by the appearance of the shadows; they may frequently be seen by transmitted light, and when well out printing may be judged to be correct, but this is a slovenly method and only approximately correct at the best.

If the bichromate is used only in the pigmented gum, without previous saturation of the paper, exposure must be much more prolonged.

By no other process is it possible to obtain such diversity of effect as by this; much will, however, depend on the skill which is exercised in development. Should the printing exposure have been fairly correct it is a simple procedure. The print is floated face downward upon cold water contained in a deep dish; see that all parts are equally acted upon by the water, and that no air bells exist; if any, they may be easily removed by gently raising the print and immersing it again once or twice. After it has been soaking some five or ten minutes it may be examined; if all is going well, and the exposure has been approximately correct, the pigmented gum on the unexposed margins will have left the paper, and possibly some of the high-lights and half-tones may be making an appearance, if so, the treatment must be of a gentle character, and the print may be safely left for some time longer in the same position face downward; never allow it to lie either in or out of the water face upwards for any long time, or unremovable stains will be developed. Many prints will develop almost entirely without assistance, or with only an occasional laving of water if allowed to lie in this position for a long time. On the other hand some may, even when only slightly over-printed, give no indication of development. When this is the case remove the print from the water and place it face upwards upon a thin, smooth board, fix it in position with one drawing pin on the extreme margin, then gently lave cold water over it; should some of the darker parts still resist this action, longer soaking will be found advantageous. If there are still parts on which the colour will not move, recourse must be had to the brush, and for this purpose nothing is better than a large camel's hair mop. Keeping the brush always full of water, touch where necessary very softly; do not sweep it up or down, but just dab here and there as may be required, constantly flowing over the surface a copious supply of water.


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