cyanotype and adding dichromate

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Willie Jan, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    Hi,

    I use the cyanotype ii chemicals from alternative photography.

    cyanotype ii

    I read there: "The addition of dichromate extends the shelf-life of the sensitizer almost indefinitely."

    If i do not add the dichromate does anybody know how long the solution will last?

    thanks,

    Willie Jan.
     
  2. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    6 months, maybe, perhaps a bit longer. What happens is that it becomes increasingly bluish. A bit of dichromate is a good idea, you can always lower contrast again by adding some citric acid.

    I would be interested which paper you intend to use?
     
  3. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    until now i used fabriano, arches and bergger cod 320.
    [​IMG]
    cod 320

    [​IMG]
    fabriano

    (all three pages: http://www.foto-art.nl/galleries/cyanotype/total.htm)

    The fabriano has more structure, i prefer a somewhat neutral look, so i prefer the bergger cod 320 at this point.
     
  4. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Thank you for posting the pictures. I presume the Fabriano is F. Artistico, and which paper of Arches are you using?

    I ask because, as far as I can judge the image files on the screen, technically this process could be much enhanced. Please don't mind my following remarks; I like your pictures, but unless this is what you want, the dark vaues are not nearly as dark as they might, and consequently they appear somewhat flat to me. In fact, I would have taken your pictures for traditional cyanotypes (or are they?) printed on somewhat alkaline paper (F. Artistico has an alkaline base which it is advisable to neutralize before using the paper for iron salt processes), and the third, the lion face in stone, additionally washed in alkaline water.

    The New Cyanotype process is very sensitive to any paper impurities, more than any other process I have tried.
     
  5. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Just an additional remark: I saw the infrared with the two trees printed in b+w on your wibsite, and the picture looks much richer this way, with more details in the sky, clearly visible on my screen. The Cyanotype process, also the traditional one, should enhance the tonal values rather than diminishing them.

    By the way, I liked your series on death.
     
  6. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    Lukas,

    i now went over to a non pre- alkaline wash with some vinegar added to it for 1 minute, after that wash for 5 minutes in alkaline water.

    Or should i wash the whole 5 minutes in non-alkaline water?
    The water overhere is very soft.

    The photo of the tree, was removed too soon from the sun (it started to rain heavily....) before the blue/gray inversion.

    I am at this point using cyanotype for 1-2 months and am always open for improvements...

    "the dark vaues are not nearly as dark as they might"
    Probably the density is not high enough of the negative. this could also be a point to use the dichromate..
     
  7. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Willie Jan,

    the three cyanotypes on your website, are they executed as traditional or new cyanotypes (II)? They look to me like traditional ones printed on paper which still contained its alkaline reserve.

    Traditional and New cyanotypes are quite different in execution, but both do not like an alkaline base.

    For traditional: if you don't use Arches Platine or another of those rare neutral papers, bath the paper first in a 1-2 % acid bath, for about 10 minutes, or until no more bubbles emerge. You may leave the acid inside and just dry, but I prefer to wash it out in neutral water. The first developing bath should also be in acid if you prefer a somewhat longer tonal scale and darker blues. washing can then continue in neutral water, but if you wash too long, or your tab water is slightly alkaline (as is mine here), a purple tinge appears, and highlights get washed out.
    I don't quite understand your remark about the dichromate: do you use it for contrast control, or immerse prints in it after development? For traditional or New cyanotypes?

    As for new cyanotypes, I might be able to give support, but a cardinal problem is the right paper, so I need to know exactly which paper you intend to print on.
     
  8. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    i use the new cyanotype ii process.
    my development time is around 2-3 minutes in full sun light.

    The dichromate i should have added during creation of the stuff, but i forgot this... I now bought chemicals to create it myself.

    the first time i washed i had the water getting directly onto the paper surface which eventually washed out the color. I washed for an hour....
    Now i prewash with the vinegar and after that 5 minutes with water (no water hitting the paper directly!

    Paper:
    Arches Grain Fine, Cold Pressed.
    Bergger cod320

    In the near future i will search for a good aquarel based paper to use.
    i want not to much structured paper.
     
  9. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    The Arches paper is definitely not suitable for the process. I don't know the Bergger, but I suppose it is Arches Platine, maybe additionally sized. The problem with Arches Platine is that different batches often tend to differ also in quality, even though it is made for iron salt processes. I have made good New cyanotype prints on this paper, but I also once had a batch totaly unsuitable for printing. Recently I ordered another batch which works fine for other processes, but much to my dismay gives problems with New C.
    Paper, as I stated, is a problem, and I am just trying Buxton paper, a very expensive, hand-made paper, made after specifications by Mike Ware, the inventor of the New C. process. It is painfully expensive, but i am about to order a larger quantity, because it seems to save me from so much frustration.

    In any case, wash the image first for ca. one minute in 1% hydrochloric or nitric acid, and then in water. And, normal papers need to be neutralized.

    I suppose on the Arches you use, the sensitizer solutution turns from yellow to green on the paper: this is a sure sign that the paper is inadequate!
     
  10. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    you are right!

    for the cot 320 paper see:
    http://lotusviewcamera.at/filmpaper/papers_e_special.html
    They mention it is also for cyanotype.
    I used this for palladium at a workshop, it's nice paper but not very cheap.
     
  11. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    just another qs.

    should i use whatman filter paper (grade 1) to separate the solution after putting the chemicals together?

    I now used a (brown) coffee filter, which probably contains some kind of chemicals.... Or is it save to use these.
     
  12. Davec101

    Davec101 Member

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    Hi guys, have just started producing some cyanotypes, using the new process (cyanotype II) see gallery. I think i need to find some new paper to either that or treat the paper before putting the sensistiser as it does turn green after i have let it dry (how do you treat the paper?). Am currently using Fabriano Rosapina (60%cotton), have tried Fabriano 5 and Artistico with them both also turning green after sensitiser is applied.
    I dont know if this is effecting the final results as i have just started using the process. What actual effect does having the wrong paper have when using cyanotype II? does it fog the highlights?
    Also how much is that Buxton paper?

    Thanks for any help
     
  13. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Am I wrong or does this Bergger paper hold a photographic emulsion used for printing-out?
    I never tried to use a coffee-filter. I also do not use the Watman, but some german equivalent. I am not sure abotu the exact grade, but my filters are denser than a coffee filter. Such filters are inexpensive, and I suggest using them, as this just eliminates a worry.

    The source for Buxton is: http://www.ruscombepaper.com/

    There is a price list, one large sheet is something like 8-9 Euro. That is an arm and a leg, but I just tested it, and am about to order a larger quantity, exclusively for New Cyanotype, as this seems to b the only paper which really reliably works, and this saves a lot of frustration. (I have also recently been in conversation about this with Mike Ware, who invented the New Cyanotype process and according to whose specifications this paper is made. I recommend studying his website!)

    I love the New Cyanotype process, but it is very different to handle from traditional cyanotypes.

    To prepare Fabriano, bathe in 1% hydrochloric, water to get the acid out, dry.
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've only done the "traditional cyanotype" so far, and have a little problem with seeing how it could be improved enough to make it worthwhile. Especially since it uses proprietary chemicals, is very sensitive to paper, and the originator recommends the addition of a known carcinogenic (dichromate) for contrast control.

    Anyone care to enlighten me?
     
  16. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    I don't know what "proprietory chemicals" are, and dichromates are used in 1001 alternative processes, in much larger quantities. This is not to say that I want to argue for or against New Cyanotypes or the traditional process, I use both. So the following is a personal opinion, about a personal approach to create photographic art:

    New cyanotypes can give a tonal range second to no other process, like the best platin or salt prints, and the process can, in difference to traditional c., be used for the same long-scale negs. The darkest blue is very nearly black, and the visual contrast is, if executed the right way, soft and wonderful. If you don't like the blues, that is the end of it, but if you do for some of your images, as I do, the difficulties, and the expensive paper may well be worth it (particularly as the sensitizer itself is very cheap).
     
  17. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    It is used a lot for palladium/platina.

    http://www.bostick-sullivan.com/main/bergger.htm
    "This is a 100% cotton paper designed for hand coated alternative process work. Originally designed as the fiber base for Bergger's highly acclaimed Silver Supreme enlarging paper, this uncoated version has a sumptuous quality and excellent sizing which making hand coating easy and consistent. This paper is 320gm per square meter weight (120lb stock in US measurements), a bright white surface with just a touch of warmth, and a smooth texture with a little 'tooth'. Easy to work with for larger prints and no watermark to interfere with your image. A top quality paper for platinum and palladium printing. "
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Lukas, thanks for sheding some light on my problems with the Cyanotype II process. Do you (or anyone else!)have other recommendations for paper? I'm having a hard time locating a source for Buxton paper in the US. Right now, I have COT320, Arches Platine, and Cranes cover that I use for other processes.

    Thanks -- Mark
     
  19. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Mark,
    I remember once having noted in an email conversation that there appears to be a source in New York for Buxton, but I think you may also order it directly from the maker in France.
    Let me just note that I feel somwwhat awkward writing these lines, as I don't want to appear promoting a particular paper or brand in some way. This runs totally against my grain in photography.Also, my personal experience with Buxton is, as I mentioned, only very recent and limited. But I have heard only the best about the performance of this paper by the most reliable sources I know.

    Cranes paper is not easily available in Europe, so I have no experience of it. Those sorts commonly used by platinum printers might work, one has to try (there is one "parchment wove" or similar, and one "kid finish")
    Whatman watercolour is also alkali-free, but the performance with New C in my experience is similarly unreliable as with Arches Platine. That is, I have made good prints on these papers, but run into trouble at other times. (I have some suspicions for possible reasons, but these I don't want to write here, because they are completely unproven)

    Willie Jan, thanks for information about the Bergger paper. I know see why it comes in "photographic" sizes. Does the sensitizer stay yellow on this paper, or does it turn green also?
     
  20. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    I am not sure. It looked a little green to me, but i filtered it through a normal coffee filter, i do not know if this also could contaminate the liquid. I still have a little bit left and want to do some testing when it's not so hot anymore in my darkroom (+30 celcius). These temperatures do not often appear here.....

    yesterday i shot some infrared 4x5 in an old flower grow house (glass) where the nature took over. Swetting all over just for some negatives....
     
  21. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Willie Jan,

    Just to make shure: New c. sensitizer, as I know it, always looks somewhat greenish when out of the bottle, and if you look from above into the brown bottle, it may even have a bluish tinge. When coated onto the paper, however, the colour must be of a bright yellow, and this yellow colour must remain, and not turn into green. So my question is: when coated onto Bergger, presuming that it looks yellow at least at first, does it stay so or does it turn into green?
     
  22. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Willie Jan

    As Lucas stated, the sensitizer should remain yellow. If you add K3CR2O7 then it goes brighter yellow. Green would indicate partial exposure or contamination IMO

    Phill
     
  23. Davec101

    Davec101 Member

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    Phil what paper do you use?
     
  24. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    Lukas i will put a drop onto a glass surface today and have a look if the color is yellow and after that check the paper.
    I always work under red light when coating....

    Could a brush with an iron end do some harm to the liquid when brushing?
    I now have a glass rodd, but before i used a brush.
     
  25. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Don't coat under red light, you only don't see what happens. Weak normal bulb light is completely adequate, though it is probably better to avoid tubes. You want to see and check the sensitizer and the surface clearly when coating.

    I personally use brush and rod, and my brushes have metal holdings which inflict no harm whatsoever; just always wash after use, and use them wet. By the way, I use those flat brushes with soft synthetic fibers used for varishing and the like, they use as little liquid as a rod, and don't shed. On some papers, with some processes I prefer rods, on others brushes. Do you use Tween 20?
     
  26. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Dave

    I've been using Arches Aquarelle Hot Pressed 300gsm. It works best on the rear of the paper for me

    Phill