PT/PD Print Exposure & Developing : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am working hard at getting set to sell the house and travel, but do not want to give up doing my own printing while traveling. Since the PD/PT process is a contact print which can be carried out in sunlight supposedly, I am looking at the viability of doing so on the road. I would like to ask anyone how difficult it would be to gauge exposure when using sunlight, and if you would you have any rec's to start with? Second, would it be possible to develop the print in the sun in open trays or outside without alot of detrimental effects to the print. (I'm sure precautions can be taken to some degree.) I will be traveling in my Ford Van camping out at various parks and need to maxamize space.

BTW, after researching PD/PT enlargements, I figure my time would be better spent in the gym getting prepared to carry an 8x10. I hope to find a reasonably priced Field camera before I go. After research tho I believe enlargements can be done, but to what degree of satisfaction I do not know. If anyone would like to discuss this topic, I am more than willing to express my ideas, so please contact me directly.

-- Wayne Crider (, February 12, 2002



It sounds like you need to read up on the Ziatype process. It sounds like the perfect way to do printing on the road.

Ziatype is a printing out process that was developed by Dick Sullivan (of Bostick-Sullivan, the best source for pt/pd supplies in the US, IMHO). Go to his website,, and look for a book titled The New Platinum Print, by Sullivan and Carl Weese.

Also, email Dick, he'll help you get started, and get you on your way to having a mobile lab.

I don't use this method, because I use a vacuum frame to print, and you really need to use a split-back frame to see how the print progress comes along. This is all detailed in the book, and other areas on the web.

In fact, if you do a search for "Ziatype" you'll probably find out more than enough info to get you started.

My recommendation for a good lightweight 8x10 is the Phillips cameras, although they are about as common as hen's teeth used and you'll probably have to wait for 1-2 years for a new one.

Happy trails.


-- Michael Mutmansky (, February 12, 2002.

Bostick and Sullivan maintain a forum for alternative types here:

-- Chad Jarvis (, February 12, 2002.


I tried sunlight exposure a few times and gave it up, primarily because I was living in Vancouver Canada at the time and a bright sunny day is a rarity. Also, even tho the sun might look equally bright, the UV tranmission of the air and moisture affects the exposure time.

Tests on the same day are the only real way to find out. Also, developemnt can be done by weak artificial light, such as provided by a small Bug Light, as the UV content of that is just about Zero. Any sunlight at all will fog the paper to some degree or other.

Another thing to worry about: the moisture content of the paper is a factor, so that needs to be controlled as well. When I used Palladio paper, I had to "condition" it using vapour from a tea kettle for a minute to get the right moisture content or the print would be lacking in cintrast and highlights.

It ws tough enough in a controlled environement in a house, so good luck in a van. I guess if the guys in 1850 could make Dageurrotypes in a horse drawn van, you may ba able to, as well.

Cheers, good luck and keep us posted.

-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, February 12, 2002.

A minor point but for the contact printing processes with which I'm familiar (which doesn't include platinum) you don't actually expose in sun light, you use open shade. Assuming you have electricity available in your RV or ever how else you're travelling, it wouldn't be difficult to build a small UV light source and bring it with you. That way you wouldn't have to worry about the natural light sources. Also helps a lot in standardizing your times.

-- Brian Ellis (, February 13, 2002.

Have you considered Azo with floodlight? Most rv sites should have electrical hookups. If not, get a generator. Also, how do you plan to process your film on the road? That, to me, would be more of a chore than printing. How do plan on washing film and pt prints? I am just trying to picture this. OOOh, here's a possibly terrible, but cheap, idea: make pinhole pt prints. Coat the paper and put it in and oat meal pinhole camera.

best o luck eck

-- eck wheeler (, February 13, 2002.

Michael, thanks for the Ziatype suggestion. It does seem to be right for what I want to do, as well as being quite interesting in an experimental way in getting many different colors in the process. The other thing that I really like is that you can use a normally exposed negative. The downside to the process is humidity control, but that can be dealt with. I will definetly be trying this process out.

Luckily I have an old Paterson daylight developing unit that can be used for large film, up to 8x10. A changing bag and water filter for hookups will accomplish what I need to do. Honda also makes quite a nice small generator that is very quiet and which I will be taking along. Phillips does make a nice camera, but finding one is as you've said.

-- Wayne Crider (, February 13, 2002.


Not to discourage you from Pt/Pd, but you may also want to consider POP - Printing out Paper. You can coat your own, or buy precoated paper from Centennial. It's contact printed using the sun or other source of UV, then fixed and washed. Gold toning is used to change print tone and make it archival.


-- Pete Caluori (, February 13, 2002.

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