Cyanotype subjects

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by ronlamarsh, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    I am experimenting with cyanotype as an entry to alt process and have found that subject matter can be limited due to image color. I find architecture and flowers work very well, general landscape not so good. What are the thoughts out there?
     
  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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  3. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Historic Graveyards, civil war era medicine bottles
     
  4. amuderick

    amuderick Member

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    I continue to work on a safe archival toning method for cyanotypes that converts the image to a neutral B&W. Progress is good. Results are forthcoming.
     
  5. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    It is all subjective. If you like it you like it, if you don't you don't.
     
  6. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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  7. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    cyanotype toning

    I have read in Tim Rudmans toning book of tea toning cyanotypes he claims they are permanent.
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have one made using the carbonate bleach/tannin tone method outlined in the article that I put in a position where it gets sun for about an hour every day. Going on two years now, and with no visible change compared to a control print made at the same time and kept under favorable conditions. Hardly scientific, but good enough to give me confidence in the process to this point.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    (he is the only idiot who can sneeze all over the screen of his 10x8 - and film himself doing it) sssh :D

    Great Cyanotypes though :smile:

    Ian
     
  10. amuderick

    amuderick Member

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    iron gallate and iron tannate pigments are very lightfast and permanent. The trick with making excellent neutral tone cyanotypes lies in controlling their color and keeping the pigments put in place. Both can be solved. Much of the process is sensitive to oxidation of the toner and so you can get very variable results in a darkroom setting. Waiting five minutes before toning vs. waiting 20 minutes will give different results. Also, the time spent in the toner affects this. Tricky tricky.
     
  11. Chrisk99

    Chrisk99 Member

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    I've found that going back into the soda after tea toning I get nice neutral greys. With heavy exposures and lots of time in the tea I have had jet black shadows but by then the paper is quite stained by the tea.
    Back to the original question add classic cars and bikes to the list of stuff that works in blue. I am especially fond of a cyanotype I made of details of a Haley engine.

    Who was it that said anyone who prints landscapes in Cyanotype is a vandal??
     
  12. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Portraits of folks like Bernard Madoff. Actually, I have done portraits in Cyanotype, and they can have a certain charm. Don't expect the sitter to be thrilled, however.
     
  13. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I've done lots of nudes and portraits - it works...
     
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  15. Chrisk99

    Chrisk99 Member

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    I've seen some impressive portraits, normally very tightly cropped, that look good.
    Nudes also look great with many alt processes. I think it helps abstract the image a little and take it further from 'kewl, a nekkid chick/guy' and more about form.
     
  16. xtiaan

    xtiaan Member

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    it sounds like you are limiting yourself
    I use cyanotypes as a way to expose photos i take locally
     
  17. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    I tacked one to the railing of the deck where it was exposed to weather for six weeks. It recieved sun from 11am to 6pm (when we have sun, this being Cleveland). No noticeable change - though I didn't keep a reference version. Seems they may last longer than RC prints...
     
  18. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    Iron gallate was known to the ancient Greeks, who used it as ink. Writings in 'iron ink' are still readable after thousands of years.

    Gallic acid's known mild reducing action made it a candidate for a developer at the beginning of silver-halide photography.

    I guess the winner for image permanence would be cyanotype on papyrus or scraped hide.
     
  19. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    I've made a series of cyanotypes from travel shots from Albania, and I didn't find the color annoying for any scene, really. What I don't like about the basic cyanotype process is the low d-max, so I spent some time trying different methods until I got one that gave a crisp, contrasty look.
     
  20. igorsv

    igorsv Member

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    Peter Henry Emerson
     
  21. micek

    micek Member

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  22. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Google images search for "Charles Lummis". He did a lot of cyanotypes both landscape and portrait as well as ethnographic (pueblo peoples) in the American Southwest.
     
  23. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    I'll give my answer to this:

    * You can get better dmax by altering the stock solutions' formulations: stronger solution B will give higher dmax (with the following expenses: speed loss, more prone to stain).

    * Double coating will give you considerably stronger dmax and more punch. But it's a PITA: emulsion crystallization (= grainy results), occasional chemical fogging and/or blotchy results ect...

    * Use New Cyanotype. It gives pretty good dmax with single coating plus you'll get much better (smooth and subtle) highlight detail.

    * Partial tannic acid toning will give darker shadows. (Just bleach using a very weak sodium carbonate or ammonia solution up to midtones - not to completion! - and tone that way.)

    I'd go for New Cyanotype. It's picky about paper but it's easily persuaded to behave itself when you add 2 drops of 40% citric acid per ml of coating solution. (Don't add citric acid to the stock solution!) Mixing/compounding the emulsion isn't as hard as it sounds...


     
  24. micek

    micek Member

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    Thank you Loris.
     
  25. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    I can't use New Cyanotype because it contains dichromate, which I react to even when very dilute, and I do my processing in bathroom.

    But a variation of Cyanotype Rex worked very well for me. Not only does it have excellent d-max, the pigment doesn't bleed across the paper, a problem I had with formulas based on ferric ammonium citrate. Note that Rex is not a real printing-out formula. It's more like platinum printing. The image appears in the post-exposure bath, which contains the potassium ferricyanide.

    I got a formula from Gustavo Castilla, but I don't think it's exactly what I used. Here's what I did:

    Coating solution is 20 percent ferric oxalate, 10 percent oxalic acid. Possibly a drop of Photo-Flo as well, depending on the paper (I used Crane's 90lb Cover). Without Photo-Flo, the image I got was very superficial, coming off in the bath.

    Expose 2-2.5 min in direct sunlight (this is faster than regular cyanotype)

    Develop/clear in:

    1l water
    2 tsp potassium ferricyanide
    2 tsp citric acid

    Then move to a water bath. I used some drugstore peroxide in this bath to immediately reveal the d-max and make it easier to evaluate the print.
     
  26. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Interesting. I've been using the traditional 2 part formula and double coating all this time and never had crystallisation issues and can get very dark blues and pure whites.