My first Cyanotype :D

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by m1tch, May 29, 2013.

  1. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hi all,

    I thought I would finally put in practice what I have been sorting out over the last few months, just made a batch of the solutions up, here is my setup:

    Watercolour paper
    Phillips UV face tanner
    Currently used printed image which is then oiled and dried

    Exposure is around 30-40 minutes using poundland box frames as contact holders :D

    I don't currently have any inkjet transparencies but its next on the list but it shows you can simply print out an image and oil it to get a good enough negative to use for printing - would just take slightly longer to expose, but much cheaper than inkjet transparencies.

    Contact frame:

    [​IMG]

    Print (note that this is taken on my DSLR, the lines you see on the background are due to the printer needing a clean!)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Looking good! Which kit are you using? Those dark blues and overall contrast look great!
     
  3. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    No kit, I have sourced everything myself, here is a list of things:

    Chemicals - ProcessUK in London, cost around £25 for the chemicals, I have used around 10% of 1 chemical but made enough for 50 8x10s lol so £25 is good for 500 8x10s!
    Used a cheap jewlery scale to measure the chemicals, brushed on using a cheap 'art wash brush' to some basic cold press water colour paper (I think it was something like £16 for 100 A4 sheets)
    'Contact frame' - Poundland box frame which has 2 bits of glass which sandwich in the middle, don't have anything larger yet, just wanted to try 1/4 A4 sheets
    UV source - Phillips face tanner (its a bit too overcast at the moment)
    Negatives - simply printed on plain paper and oiled to be more transparent, kinda like waxing paper but quicker and much cheaper than inkjet transparencies!

    Exposure time of around 40 minutes within around 3", developed in water and normal bleach then washed in tap water.

    The image taken is of a building next to Euston station, I took it on my D3100, tweeked it in lightroom, then inverted it, printed it, oiled it, exposed it, developed it, dryed it lol

    I also find it quite ironic that I have made a cyanotype of a building considering that a the word 'blueprint' is from the cyanotype process used on building drawings lol

    What I am impressed with is the level of details in the mid-tones, you can also see that the above Cyanotype isn't 100% covered correctly as I think it was one of my initial coating attempts, but its fine as I don't like things to be perfect, the look of tintype got me into photography but its a bit too dangerous chemical wise for it to be easy. Cyanotypes are great as they are simple to do and unlike silver based processes, you are ok to work under normal light lol

    Here is the original image I took and converted as a reference:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Simon Howers

    Simon Howers Subscriber

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    This is interesting. Can you explain how you oiled the paper and the materials you used to do this?

    Thanks

    Simon
     
  5. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Print off image onto plain paper
    Put a drop of oil on the worktop
    Smooth oil around on worktop to give even coat
    Drop image onto oil
    Allow to soak into the paper
    Press down or move oil onto anywhere on the image that doesn't darken
    Dry excess off
    Hold up to light to check

    The paper seems to turn into the same sort of texture as tracing paper, it won't be as good as if you had a transparency so you would need to notch up the exposure slightly but if you just pay attention to the colour the paper is going - ie going from a bright green to a darker green then you should be able to judge. I think that due to the fact that its blocking light its a bit harder to overexpose the image due to the longer exposure time - I gues kinda like stopping a lens down.

    I have another exposing at the moment so will see how that comes out.
     
  6. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Looks like the key to using oiled paper is to let it soak in for a bit and then completly dry it, it feels like tracing paper once its been oiled, I am now getting slightly addicted to printing lol I am on my 6th print now I think :tongue: I still have loads of chemical left, not sure how long it lasts before it starts going off but still a lot left.

    I am still using the UV lamp, means I get an even UV exposure, looks like around 25 minutes is good for a 'normal' sort of photo ie both light and dark, over exposed one a bit and it came out darker than planned, but you can still see the image.
     
  7. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Interesting, your mixture matches a formula we recently discovered to have been dmax and overall contrast. Good work sir!
     
  8. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Hooray for you!
    It is wonderful to see someone using thought and ingenuity to accomplish their purpose rather than getting on this or another forum and begging for answers and solutions. Don't lose this inquisitive and inventive attitude. It will serve you well throughout life.
    Additionally,this is an interesting image.
    More power to you! Keep up the good work!

    Jim
     
  9. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I have now dialed the exposure in a bit, I have printed around 7 or 8 now, seems that if the image is properly exposed ie equal tones of black and white 20 minutes is about correct, if there is a lot of lights less is needed otherwise it overexposes a bit and you lose some details.

    I have just created a really nice print, 20 minute exposure time with really clear detail, it seems that if you soak the paper in oil for a bit longer so its saturates and then wipe off and dry for a bit it creates a really nice (cheap) negative to use. There are a few spots here and there on the image, this is probably due to a tiny bit of contamination, I will probably get some transparencies soon as those will give a sharper print, however I am quite impressed with the sharpness of the print I have just got.

    I am currently just printing on 1/4 A4 size but I have just coated some 1/2 A4 size pieces and just gone and bought an A4 clip frame so might try a larger print tonight of a landscape or something, I do like the smaller 1/4 A4 prints though, kinda like a Polaroid Cyanotype :D

    I also own most other camera formats from half frame all the way up to a 5x4 Speed graphic, I know that in-camera cyanotypes have been done but the exposure is measured in hours, I think tomorrow (as long as its not wet) I will set up my speed graphic and load a cyanotype in and simply hold the shutter open for a few hours exposure. The main issue someone else found with this was the sun physically burning through the paper and the holder lol so I will find somewhere away from the sun but still bright and try and exposure tomorrow.
     
  10. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Make sure not to have a UV filter attached!
     
  11. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I don't think you can get a UV filter for a Schneider Kreuznach lol I was thinking about setting it up indoors looking out the window to keep everything safe but then thought....hmmm I think double glazing blocks out UV light lol :laugh:
     
  12. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I know that we had a student talking about not getting their exposure unit working and that all the prints were really light and low contrast. After much troubleshooting it turns out that the weasel who sold her the unit had replaced the glass with some that had a UV coating. WHOOPS
     
  13. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I believe that some people do use 'black light' bulbs which are weaker but still work, I have also seem a UV box made up from lots of UV LEDs which I do like, but I seem to be doing ok with the face tanning lamp at the moment, I will post up some photos in a bit.
     
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  15. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Here are the first set of prints done today, first time I have done Cyanotypes or indeed contact printing lol, basically the tip line I am very happy with, the next line I am ok with and the bottom print is a tad dark. What I have learnt is when it first gets developed in the water/light bleach mix is that the image goes slightly darker initially, then when its washed it gets slightly lighter bringing back details.

    Here is how I have found it to go like:

    Exposed
    Put in water and bleach mix
    Agitate water
    Paper gets saturated and gradually goes dark blue
    Most of the image looks like its over exposed at this point ie very blue and loss of detail
    Agitate some more
    Image then continues to develop with details starting to emerge as the unexposed solution is removed from the paper
    Move to clean water tray and agitate
    Image gets slightly lighter and move details come out - I am guessing that the paper can only absorb so much of the solution so some of it is washed out leaving a cleaner image and good contrast.

    Here are the images so far:

    [​IMG]

    Matlock (marks I believe are oil showing I need to wait a bit before printing lol)

    [​IMG]

    Bridge along the canal - this is slightly over exposed as I have lost a bit of detail

    [​IMG]

    This is a partly sunken barge on te canal, its really really sharp for a print made on rough paper using an old printer and oil lol

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2013
  16. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Looking good. Struggling to hold the highlights, typical of all cyanos unless you specifically develop for them, but overall are looking really quite well.

    We must be some of the few souls that like Cyanos!
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Great cyanotypes, but may I ask what the D stands for?
     
  18. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    2 chemicals, add them together, brush on some paper, doesn't matter if the lights are on, expose to UV source for approx times, develop in water and some bleach - very user friendly process :D

    I will look into some toning at some point as well, I have also seen a guide on how to do 2 tone cyanotypes where you tone one layer and not the other, makes a really interesting effect.

    What I like about the process, much like tintype, is the fact that each print, although a print, is an original which can't be made exactly the same again. With Tintypes you only get 1 of each image, whereas with Cyanotypes you can get copies but none are identical and you can't change them after they have been exposed other than some toning.

    I am just trying out some different times, 20 minutes seem to be about right for a well exposed image (like the barge) but just trying to work out what is best for images that are very light or very dark.

    What have other people found work best for exposures? If its a dark image should I expose for longer or shorter? I can't remember which way round as I am printing a negative rather than taking a fresh image lol
     
  19. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    How do you mean?
     
  20. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Never mind, as I think I now understand.
     
  21. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I have now put the UV lamp flatter and closer to the paper, probably at around half the distance now, so my exposure times have dropped, i'm gradually working my way back to correct exposure, each one takes around 10 minutes now which saves time and bulb life!

    I have some transparencies on order, will be interesting to see what the exposure time is on those vs oiled paper, I might also look into creating a larger UV box with longer tubes so that I can do more than 1 print at a time - I am currently exposing 2 x 1/4 A4 prints in an A4 clipframe which seems to be working out well. I doubt I will be able to go an larger than A4 though due to not being able to print any larger than A4.
     
  22. davidrborquez

    davidrborquez Member

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    awesome results m1tch!

    I'm as well doing my first cyanotypes and Van Dyke brown copies of some negatives (I prefer not to use digital prints so they are 4,5x6cm contacts) using UV lamps as well, but I wasn't sure if oiled paper would work... now I know it does very well!

    cheers!

    here's what i got - not as sharp but not too ugly :tongue:
    IMG_1974.jpg IMG_1975.jpg IMG_1976.jpg IMG_1972.jpg IMG_1980.jpg IMG_1979.jpg IMG_1978.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2013
  23. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Well done! Welcome to APUG!

    Both of you consider getting the cheapest red wine you can find and start toning both these types of prints in it. Cheap black tea works well and green tea has interesting effects.
     
  24. davidrborquez

    davidrborquez Member

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    hey, good idea! wanna see how wine reacts... i'm gonna do some cyanotypes in coloured paper too :wink:
     
  25. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Cheaper the better. The tannin in the wine will react.I have a 11x14 cyanotype toned first in red wine from a box (made it deep reddish/purple) then finished with green tea, making a nice blend of soft brown highlights and deep purple blacks. Something worth playing with. The best smelling toners I know of.
     
  26. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I have found online that if you use coffee and tannic acid, then washed in Soduim carbonate.

    Here is the image, its very close to black and white:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/9314116@N06/7615157908/

    Taken from the description below the image:

    Cyanotype
    Dry
    Coffee+Tannic Acid wash
    Sodium Carbonate wash
    (Repeat Coffee+Tannic acid wash , Sodium Carbonate Wash)
    Rinse in cold Water
    Dry.
    I had thought this cyanotype was ruined when I did the first Sodium carbonate wash - the image developed ugly brown spots.
    Thankfully I finished processing anyway. The spots faded once the paper was dry - Whew!