A question about cyanotype process

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've somewhat new to cyanotypes. I love the simplicity of it. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems that the cyanotype process is pretty contrasty and it's very hard to get delicate tones. Even with digital inkjet negs. Does anybody else find that's the case?
     
  2. MDR

    MDR Member

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    The tonal range of cyanotypes is a bit limited compared to other alt. processes, like any Alt. Process it requires the right neg another problem of cyanos and many other alt. processes is that details get lost due to fact that emulsion soaks into the paper. I personaly prefer the originals formula to Ware's new cyanotype supposedly the latter has better detail and tonal reproduction. I like the graphic look cyanos can give me.
    Also I've certainly seen some fine renderings in cyanotypes but not often.

    The old saying still counts easy mixing does not equal easy to get good results. Another easy process is the saltprint only two max three ingredients but it got one hell of a temperament. :devil:
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have a question for the chemists.

    What is the difference between the Iron Blue toners, and cyanotypes? I do a lot of blue toning but no cyanotypes.
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Thanks for your input. I've tried salt printing too and it's another tough one to master. Digital negs isn't the magic bullet for it either. It takes patients and experience. None of these processes come with the ease like inkjet printing which make these old processes special. The old processes are mixed from readily available ingredients which makes the users less dependent on technology. That is a good thing for me.
     
  5. Herzeleid

    Herzeleid Member

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    I have good experience with printing delicate highlights using a modified version of the Bostick&Sullivan formula. B&S formula contains oxalic acid (for better iron reduction), and ammonium dichromate for preventing the fog. I am using ratios as %25A and %12B. I have added 1gr of oxalic acid into A, 0,2gr ammonium dichromate to part B. This formula performs especially well with unbuffered papers (or de-alkalised papers with sulfamic acid). If used with buffered papers the effect of OA is somewhat reduced but the papers still retains more blue during wet treatment. It won't compare to the ware's modern formula, but it performs very good imo.
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I've gotten nice delicate tones with inkjet, but regardless of the negative source, it's tough to get the tones WHERE you want them. Lots of variables. Paper type and humidity, coatings, brush type or rod, It's easy for a midtone to come out a little too dark or light. Best to print photos where the exact midtones aren't important, or identically coat a batch and keep making different curved digital negs till you get it right if you want to work hybrid. Or if working analog, keep printing differently on the same coated batch of paper.

    For printing non-hybrid, decent midtones come from using pyrocat hd to make negatives that would silver print about grade3 (slightly low in contrast visually, but would have good invisble UV staining). These are non-hybrid 100% analog.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13759696@N02/9488806803/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13759696@N02/9645000240/in/photolist-fGi9xA-c8QVPj-c8QVE5-c8QW5U-fsuBwM
     
  7. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Nice prints. And they clearly illustrate one of the main problems of Cyanotypes, highlight details. Yes alt processes like pyro cyanotypes also seem to like double coating and good drying without the use of heat (hairdryer, radiator, etc...). Digital negs are never the silver or any other bullet for alt.processes they require as much work as a silver neg and have their own problems especially the inkjet based ones and the wrong ink or printer.
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    In both cases the image is formed from the dye Prussian Blue. With the toner the silver image is replaced by the dye. The cyanotype process depends on the fact that certain iron salts are sensitive to light. The paper is sensitized with a mixture of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. Then it is exposed to light and developed with water to remove any unused sensitizer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
  9. konakoa

    konakoa Member

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    Cyanotypes do tend to be high contrast in plain water baths. You do have to tailor the neg to the process. Yet if all your negs print with too high contrast, try a weak solution of citric acid in the water bath to immerse the exposed prints in. This expands the print values tremendously! Be careful though as cyanotypes go absolutely nuts in acidic solutions--sensitizer on the paper quickly leaves the paper surface and goes into the bath, then lands on and can stain the unexposed white high values in the print.
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Thanks Gerald

    one of the problems that I have encountered with the blue image , is that the more you wash the print you lose the blue tone , is this the same with cyanotype, and if so this would explain a bit of the difficulty in getting a perfect print.


    Bob
     
  11. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    You lose a little bit with extended unnecessary wash, but not much. If you partial bleach and tone (such as washing soda, then tea/coffee/tannic acid) the image is absolutely bulletproof and I can't wash it off short of abrasion. If you want to lose a little bit (you lose a little density too) a weak washing soda bleach can bring everything up a zone depending on how weak you mix it.
     
  12. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Give this a try, If you have a printer with advanced B&W setting, get hold of a copy of Christina Anderson's "Gum Printing and other Amazing Contact Printing Processes" and make your negatives as explained in Chapter 2. Simple instructions.

    Christopher James' "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes" is the comprehensive bible for things alt process and should be in anyone's library who is doing alt process work.

    Try this in developing your cyanotypes. Use 1 part distilled white vinegar to 5 parts water and develop for 4 or 5 minutes. Quick rinse and then another bath of water with a splash of hydrogen peroxide for another 4 or 5 minutes. Final wash. I would try this first to see if I could tell any difference with the negatives I was using and producing unacceptable results.

    Bill Barber
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    id also suggest to keep trying
    gandolfi ( emile schildt)'s cyanotypes are
    as delicate as any b/w print might be
    full tonality, full highlights .. he sets the bar high
    and has quite spectacular work
     
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  15. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. Cyanotype is not an easy beast to tame, but very possible. I'm encouraged!
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Coating on Baryta paper certainly improves most alt processes by limiting uptake by the paper fibers.

    PE
     
  17. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Is that type of clay coated paper available?
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    baryta i don't believe is clay, it is like fiber based silver gelatin photo paper.
    you can probably fix + wash sheets of whatever you have, so it is just paper stock
    and coat it. probably bostick and sullivan or the formulary sell it by the box
    or ream ( depending on how much $$ you want to spend )
     
  19. Photo Engineer

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    Baryta is Barium Sulfate which is used in radiography when you want to see the intestines. It is impermeable to X-rays and is thus an enhancer of the image.

    In paper making for photographic use, it is used as the whitening agent for the base support for FB papers. It also enhances contrast and detail. In RC paper making, Titanox (Titanium Oxide) is used.

    PE
     
  20. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I didn't know that. So Baryta is the cocktail you drink before the dreaded colonoscopy. So Baryta will coat the paper and won't allow cyanotype emulsion soak in to the paper? I know some alt printers use gelatine to do that.
     
  21. MDR

    MDR Member

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  22. Photo Engineer

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    Well, Denise describes a Baryta coating, but the "real" stuff is compressed under hundreds of pounds of pressure at high temperature to get a smooth and relatively impenetrable coating. The one Denise describes is quite porous.

    Baryta paper is available on the open market from Fotoimpex and AFAIK several places in the US. Inquire at the Formulary.

    PE
     
  23. dwross

    dwross Subscriber

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    I just got an email about this thread.

    Ron, please make my recipes before you comment on them. Handmade baryta is not "quite porous", it's just not extra glossy. It is an excellent coating surface.
     
  24. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Ron premade is not the same as the handmade, if the OP were able to make his own paper he could incorporate the baryta in the water of the Hollander mix it with the pulb and make even better baryta paper than the pressed version the baryta would be an integral part of the paper. :smile:

    I also believe that perfect paper would take something away from the handmade quality of cyanotypes but maybe the OP has a different opinion

    Denise thank you again for providing this information even if does not equal the industrial made stuff it's still better than nothing and one also has broader choice of support paper.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2014
  25. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Been there, done that. It still requires a lot of sizing, huge pressure and calendering to get a good hard surface. Even a 9 tonne press wasn't quite sufficient for 12 x 12" sq sheet (first cut cotton, AKD sizing), and it was messy!
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    must be fun to print on !