Highlights/Shadows separations in a grayscale digital negative

Discussion in 'APUG.ORG's "Gray" Area Subforum -NOW HYBRIDPHOTO.C' started by Fulvio, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    I want to try if it is possible to print with liquid emulsion (silver that is) over a cyanotype. I know that there are people that print over cyanotypes with Van Dykes or Gum bichromates... I don't know if it will work with silver or if the cyanotype chemistry won't react well with the silver developing baths... I'll run some test to check those kinds of possible problems, but still I have another problem that I should solve now.

    Let's suppose I have a scan from a bw negative. I want to print the highlights with the cyanotype chemistry, while masking the shadows and - viceversa - print the shadows with another negative in liquid emulsion. The problem is: how to create two different negatives from one single grayscale image that will produce an almost correct and pleasant split-toned picture.

    I've been working with photoshop for hours yesterday and I couldn't find any good trick to do that... Have tried with select->tonal range and then highlights or shadows... But then the midtones are left behind and the problem is how to create a smooth separation in between... One of the two negatives should include the shadows and let's say 50% of the midtones... the other the highlights and the remaining 50%... So when I'll try to print those two by contact I shouldn't have the same areas exposed twice, resulting in a ugly dark-gray area between shadows and highlights... I don't know if my explanation was clear enough, I'm sorry but english is not my motherlanguage.

    Of course I already use digital negatives and have the right curves for both cyanotype and silver.

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Dan Burkholder has a method for using two negatives to do what you want to do. One is prepared for the highlights,the other for shadows. You would need to used register pins to make sure that the negatives and paper stay perfectly lined up. This is discussed in his second book.
     
  3. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Forget photoshop and make your negatives in the darkroom, it is faster and easier.
     
  4. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    Thanks for the answer... I will check his homepage later.

    By the way, I made a test... I completely forgot that fixer for silverprint might contain sodium thiosulfate and other very alkaline agents... They act as a strong bleach on the cyanotype and kill it. Actually some tome remains but I would seriously doubt of the stability of the print. Tomorrow I'll try by protecting the cyanotype with a layer of gelatin and try again, just for fun...

    bye
     
  5. Dracotype

    Dracotype Member

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    You might try doing the silver print first, and then the cyanotype. That would avoid the extreme bleaching of the cyanotype.

    Drew
     
  6. donbga

    donbga Member

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    No it's not.

    Don Bryant
     
  7. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    yeah... that's also an idea, I'll let you know. Now I've exposed a couple of papers as cyanotypes with no negatives in top of them. Means I have two nice blue papers now. If the blue doesn't completely fade away in the silver developing and fixing process and perhaps will leave some nice trace of blue-yellowish behind the bw image.

    Bye
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I made enlarged negatives for alternative printing in the darkroom for almost two decades, using both regular positive-to-negative method and reversal processing. I now make enlarged negatives digitally.

    If your goal is to do top quality work neither method is fast or easy. Both require a lot of time and work to master. However, concern with what is fast or easy is not high on my list of priorities. For me the goal is to make top-quality prints so I will use what is IMO the better method, regardless of how easy or fast it is. However, discounting the learning curve, which exists for both traditional darkroom and computer work, there is no question in my mind but that the digital method offers much greater control over your process, which for me equals better results.

    I don't discourage anyone from making enlarged negatives with traditional darkroom materials because the procedure is challenging, gives good results, and is probably less expensive than the digital route. But it is neither fast nor easy. Mastery of a thing is rarely fast and easy.

    Sandy
     
  9. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Actually Sandy once you've done all of the testing and other foot work I've found it faster and easier to print a digital negative than going into the darkroom and having to wet process. That's what I meant by faster and easier.

    Don
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Don,

    Well, I still find that it takes a lot of time to make a digital negative if you start with the original scan and then count all of the time you do in Photoshop. To say nothing of the calibration one must do to get the right ink setting and curve. All of this takes me a lot of time, though granted probably not as much as wet processing. But the bottom line is still quality. If I could get better results with wet processing that is what I would do. But I can't and I don't.

    Sandy




     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2006
  11. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    No, it doesn't work

    If you put a cyanotype layer under liquid emulsion then you'll get very disappointing and unrealiable results. Sometimes a nice blue comes out, but still it is on useless pictures. Really really ugly pictures.

    If you put a cyanotype over liquid emulsion (i.e. after you printed and dried a normal print) then the cyanotype chemistry will destroy all the blacks in your print.

    I've used SE-1 Liquid Emulsion (from Silverprint), Tetenal products for fixing/developing and standard recipe cyanotype chemistry. I don't think it is a matter of brand... Simply, the two chemistries are not compatible. That's my deduction after this experience.

    bye