I made the first prints of my trusty old “standard test negative” with Dick Sullivan’s Ziatype printing-out palladium process. The first one is printed with perhaps the widest used ziatype method, the chemistry consists of ammonium ferric oxalate and lithium palladium. Palladium prints are usually considered as warm tone prints, which is normally true with the developing-out palladium. Ziatype is a “new historical method” and capable of producing beautiful, platinum-like neutral tones.

The weather type had changed, and my dimroom was dryer than yesterday, only 42% relative humidity. I made the mistake of drying the paper too dry. It seems that too dry paper cannot produce a proper printing-out image. I have noticed that if I only keep my exposure time constant, I can often save images exposed on too dry paper by “steam developing” them; I gently moisten the paper from back over a humidifier, for several minutes sometimes. This works fairly well, but if I overdo steam development (although it sometimes may seem a good way to lower contrast) the print will be flat and gray…

A basic, neutral ziatype print. There are very delicate split tones from warm shadows to cooler highlights, very nice when viewing the print in person. This one was exposed on too dry paper, but was steam developed 4 minutes.

I also wanted to see how my “Gold Extra” mixture would look on this image (see the previous post). A good deal of gold chloride was added to the sensitizer to produce these lavender and bluish tones.

The colors looked more intense when wet, but the dry-down effect mutes them. This print was also steam developed for about two minutes.

My inkjet negatives for zia look wild on the light table; they are very dark, seemingly lacking contrast in highlights, with very contrasty shadows. But we should remember we are working with the UV light, and the negative’s UV density may not have much to do with its visual density…

The negative for the “Gold Extra” print, and the shape of the correction curve that was applied to the positive image.