Cyanotype from a 35mm neg

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by rduraoc, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. rduraoc

    rduraoc Member

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    I want to try doing cyanotypes, but I only shoot 35mm, so no contact printing possible. I was thinking about using my enlarger (Meopta Axomat 5a), by removing the lamp house, isolating the area between the board and the lens with some black cardboard or cloth, and put the whole thing under sunlight (yes, in Portugal we have good sunlight in the winter :tongue: ). From your experience, will it work? What do I have to watch out for?

    TIA,

    Rui DurĂ£o
     
  2. Kate Mocak

    Kate Mocak Member

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    I have never tried taking an enlarger out on the sun :smile:. I don't know, really, if it works, you can try. If you don't want to make enlarged negatives (via interpositives), the other way is to scan your 35 mm film and make digital negatives.
     
  3. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Most of UV rays will be attanuated by the glass, however the experiment sounds very interesting. I would be surprised if nobody gave it a try before. Expect focusing shifts, as much as it happens with infrared rays but in the opposite direction. I actually think precise focusing will be a problem.
     
  4. rduraoc

    rduraoc Member

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    I don't have the hardware to scan negatives, and I was trying to get the cheapest way of doing it - that's why I am trying to go around enlarged negatives.
    Another question: once the paper is ready, only sunlight or UV lamps will be able to impress it, right? Normal house lamps (fluorescent or tungsten) don't emit in the UV band?
    And what if I buy a UV lamp and place in the enlarger? So many ideas...and I still have to find the chemicals.
     
  5. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    As far as I know, UV lamps generally come more in the shape of a neon-like fluorescent tube, and I'd say none would fit an enlarger's head properly.

    Yes, tungsten lights are quite safe with UV-sensitive materials since the spectrum is much toward yellow. With POP paper, for example, you can keep the sensitive material under normal kitchen light for hours before noting any effect on the emulsion. However, as with any "safety" light, remember there is ALWAYS a time limit after which some fogging will occurr.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    rui

    why don't you make a paper negative, and then use THAT to make your cyanotype ?

    it isn't hard at all to make a paper negative from one of your enlarged prints - you just make a good print with the enlarger ... then take an unexposed piece of photo paper, make it wet + squeegee it off so that it makes a nice tight bond with your (+)print emulsions. take the negative out of the enlarger ... and blast the light through the paper print --- you can make a test strip &C to see what your exposure will be &C ... and then make your print. my times with a cold light head - and i have been getting good exposure f9 at about 8 seconds with burning and dodging after that ..
    once you get your exposure you develop in anything you want - i use dilute ansco130 with a little oxidized developer added ( about 500 cc/1/ ) but there is a school of thought that film developer might work better .... by the end of it, you'll get a nice paper-negative ...
    your sun-time to make the cyanotype will be sort of long because the rays have to pass through the paper but it should work fine. if you use single weight paper that works great, but regular paper works fine too.

    i'll be doing the same thing in a few weeks time :smile:


    good luck!

    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2006
  7. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    I'm very surprised that still nobody posted some reason why the idea wouldn't work, it seems very convenient and straightforward and I wonder why nobody thought about it before. I mean: first enlargers were simply view cameras put back to back with a window, using daylight as light source. I wonder why the same technique shouldn't work now with 35mm.

    I strongly encourage you to make an experiment with the enlarger under sunlight. Unfortunately I only own enlargers with mirror-reflected light source and can't make the experiment myself, but I am extremely interested in reading your results.
     
  8. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    I've tried it - about 8 months ago - laborious to focus and to get maximum intensity you have to orient your enlarger towards the sun which is awkward to say the least ...

    I gave up and decided to build a 4x5 large format instead ... in which funnily enough I've also put in cyanotype sensitized paper to get cyanotype negative prints, it may well be worth making a similar system as an enlarger but out of much lighter weight materials as found in field cameras, pinholes etc...
     
  9. rduraoc

    rduraoc Member

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    I'm trying to find a shop that will sell me the chemistry needed (it's not easy, most of them only sell to schools/universities/companies and not to the general public). But as soon as I can get them, I'll try it and then post some results. And I'll also try to find a UV lamp with a "regular" shape, not in tube. I think I've seen them before.
     
  10. Kate Mocak

    Kate Mocak Member

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    Regarding a UV lamp, I'm using a home solarium (tanning lamp) about a size of A3, consisting of 6 tubes. It works very well for alternative printing.
     
  11. Dracotype

    Dracotype Member

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    Your experiment sounds fascinating, and you are probably not the first one to try it. The focusing issue sounds like one of the problems you would encounter, but I have a feeling that that is not the main problem with this method. I think that the main problem encountered is getting enough UV to even expose the paper. The problem with UV bulbs I have heard is there is not enough UV to expose the print in a resonable amount of time. Your idea of pointing it at the sun is a good idea. Please post your results. I am very interested.

    Drew
     
  12. mfobrien

    mfobrien Member

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    Why not do the following -- get some ortho sheet film - still readily available. Make an enlargement from your 35mm neg onto the ortho film, develop in Dektol for a few minutes, and then either use that or then contact expose onto another sheet to get a negative -- also developed in Dektol. THEN make a contact print cyanotype. Not only is this simple, it is also repeatable and not some kludge. You guys seem to want to find the hardest way to do something at times. Don't bother with a paper negative. You'll want as much UV coming through as possible. You will get great results using film. Of course, you'll have to experiment a bit to get the right exposure onto the ortho film, but actually using the Kodak print exposure overlay will work fine. Remember the engineering mantra --- KISS - Keep IT Simple, Stupid.
     
  13. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    How can anyone consider more simple to get some ortho large format film (which is by the way unavailable since decades in the overwhelming majority of the world's countries) make two (read TWO) internegatives (with all the painful process of guessing the exposure with trial/error process, not even to mention unforseenable contrast shifts and forgetting the PITA of tray developing, and skipping over the long time needed for the emulsion to dry up which obliges to split the work over at least three days, and ingoring the progressive increase in spot and scratches) than slapping an enlarger under the sun, and even write that looking for a shortcut is stupid, is completely beyond my comprehension.

    Just to mention how this is absolute common ground, I will simply quote Ed Buffaloe from his well known article "Less is more": The factor that most often inhibits people from trying the historic photographic processes is the need for a large negative suitable for contact printing. The traditional means of obtaining an enlarged negative has been to make an enlarged film positive (known as an interpositive) and then make a negative by contact. The length of the process defeats many people before they ever begin.

    Enough said.
     
  14. mfobrien

    mfobrien Member

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    Marco -- It's not as hard as it sounds -- i have done it. Didn't take long. Of course, you have to know a little bit about the materials you are using. Obviously the simplest method is a digital scan and then make a negative on transparancy film -- that will work fine, and avoids all the rest of the screwing around. However, the original poster said he didn't have a scanner. But he does have a darkroom.
    Ortho film is available from J&C, and I suspect they are getting it from Europe, so it does exist. I am fortunate to have a bunch of Kodalith in various formats.
     
  15. Neil Miller

    Neil Miller Member

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    Hi Rui,

    I have no experience of them myself, but some photographic studios in the late 1850s/60s or so used to have them set into the roof, geared to follow the sun. Here is a thread from the Civil War re-Enactors wetplate forum (very interesting place) by Scully & Ostermann you might find interesting:

    http://www.cwreenactors.com/cgi-bin/collodion2000/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=377&forum=DCForumID1

    The first solar enlarger (1857) could print an enlarged portrait in about 45 minutes, hence the need for the enlarger to follow the suns progress through the sky.

    There is also a reference on the Alt-Photo list that mentions that Thomas Eakins (1844 - 1916) made direct 11x14 enlargments in platinum from half-plate negatives, so it should be possible to get enough UV out of one - given enough time!

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  16. worldbmd

    worldbmd Member

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    If you are using resin paper you can submerge the negative print in HOT water for 5 min and then work to peel the emulsion off of the paper backing. This will give you a much thinner print, and, I would assume shorten the time needed for exposure.
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Why not contact print the 35mm neg, then mount the cyanotype print in a large mat and call it fine art. Sell it for lots and lots of money.

    Alternatively, mount the print under a magnifying glass.

    This may seem like a total joke, but it might actually work. I have a series of portraits and landscapes I did in 6x6 (a bit bigger than 35mm but still quite small) that are mounted in tiny frames. Some are cyanotype and others are Polaroid transfer. It makes an interesting display, especially when mounted in a cluster. People have to stand real close to see so lighting is a challenge but the reviews have always been positive.
     
  18. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Just a thought, but how about building something from a slide viewer? You could remount the opticsto be perpendicular to the paper, then use a fresnel aove the negative to compensate for the movement of the sun.

    Personally, before going to that trouble I would go the film or paper internegative route. If you wanted to streamline that process, start with a chrome and produce a negative from that.
     
  19. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Much UV light is generated in flourescent lights. Perhaps the coating in the lights blocks some of it, but incandescent lights should be safer. The yellow incandescent bug lamps are better yet.

    When I did alternate processes long ago we often used enlarged half-tone negatives. Printing time was shorter than when using continuous tone negatives. Litho film for halftones might not be expensive. Finding a screen for making the halftones could be a problem, though, if you can't improvise one. If you have a way of scanning prints, you could print halftone negatives on transparancy material in an inkjet or laser printer. I haven't tried printing such negatives, and their quality didn't look very good. However, it does use common material.
     
  20. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Quite frankly, with only 35mm equipment, you are just plain out of luck; unless you can find some way to obtain a large copy negative with which to print. If you really want to try the cyanotype process then get some 4x5 or 5x7 film and make a pinhole camera. Use the negatives to make cyanotype contact prints. Afterwards, if you really like the results then save up for a LF format camera.
     
  21. kukovs

    kukovs Member

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    Excuse me for posting in old thread, i just starting to find out information about cyanotype photography. My situation is like this one, i have(and i like) 35mm system and i thought about using UV LED's bulb in my 35mm enlarger, if using bulb with 60 LEDs its light output is comparable to a 100watt standard light bulb.. What do you think? Will the light amount be enough for 35mm neg exposure on cyanotype?
     
  22. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    You'd be better off just enlarging onto ortho litho film with a normal enlarger setup and develop like RC paper.
     
  23. ricardo12458

    ricardo12458 Member

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    Sorry for reviving this old thread, but wouldn't the improved cyanotype process be more suitable for 35mm printing? It features substantially faster exposure times, but it is slightly more dangerous than the traditional cyanotype process, since it uses an Ferric Ammonium Oxalate salt.
     
  24. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I have made a few strips of 35 into nice one-of-a-kind cyanotype bookmarks. I've also printed 35mm onto eggshell with cyanotype (see my gallery here). The prints don't have to be big. I have also enlarged (using an normal enlarger source) onto xray dupe film, developed the dupe film in dektol, and made uv process prints with the new bigger positive.