Bromoil #1 2023

As expected today’s Bromoil session did not go as smoothly as last weekends workshop printing at the RPS.

Last week we were following an established workflow, with a matrix prepared by an experienced bromoilist, with paper known to work and with methods established over decades.

Today was not so straightforward.

I’ve tried Bromoil a few times over the past few years with various results. Today, I could find my reference test strips but not my bromoil tests notebook. So I’ve had to start afresh.

Paper: Kentmere Kenthene Satin 5×7 inch, an unopened old box. I’ve previously used some 12×15 inch Kentmere Kenthene Satin from a different year/batch and it worked great. So I hoped this would be the same.

An old 35mm neg printed with the Beseler enlarger. Chosen for its details and tone across the full frame, in readiness for test stripping when inking.

Developer was Ilford PQ Universal at 1:9 and the fixer was Ilford Hypam at 1:9 as I’ve had success with these in the past.

Exposed 16 seconds, f11 Grade 2.

Dev, stop, fix, wash, dry.

Then into the Gilbert’s Bleach / Tan 1:10 at 20°C for 10 minutes, then into Hypam fix, and a final wash and dry.

The first issue was the dense shadows not bleaching enough. There was still plenty of silver visible. Out of interest, it took over an hour to bleach out fully-ish. That’s way too long because of the over tanning.

I only bleached three of the eight prints before deciding not to pursue bleaching the others with this recipe.

I decided to ink those up anyway just to see how the paper/ink behaved under brush and resoaking.

Soaked for 5 mins in 20°C water.

Blotted, chamois, and inked with a brush.

The ink took well and cleared in the water and was ok after further blotting. Ink removal was blotchy in places, resulting in some uneven areas.

So, I’m in two minds wether it’s the different stock of paper or the chems in my bleach/tan solution.

I’ll try a different paper tomorrow and see how it bleaches.