My first Cyanotypes and lesson in acidic spit.

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by MenacingTourist, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    That's right, I said spit. From my mouth.

    Michael Slade invited me to come over and print with his plate burner, so last night I went over and made some prints with his help. We were getting bleached prints and called Robert Hall to see what was going on. He asked some questions and told me my acid free paper and the Utah alkaline water was the problem and I should be using acid full paper.

    The perfect example of this is the circle on the right Batman's face. This is from using my spit to keep the paper stuck to sheet of glass while I coated it. I guess my spit is acidic enough to change the paper. The tones on this spot are wonderful and really drove the lesson home.

    I have most of the prints I made last night in the experimental gallery if anyone would like to comment. I learned a great deal and I had a lot of fun, which is good because this is why I do photography. To have fun and maybe annoy my wife :smile:
     

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  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    I like the images, Alan. All of this alt. Processes are not as easy as they seem. I had a problem trying to get enough contrast, and the earlier experiments failed miserably. I have to search my boxes of stuff in the garage and find the book I had my orginal formula in. Either that or I need to let it age for 4 years like the bottle of VDB I gave Sharon last winter.

    BTW I added my VDB to the gallery as well.
     
  3. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    So...Batman meats Menacing Tourist, whose special power is acidic spit. Do I have this correct? Will you be in the next movie?

    Matt
     
  4. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    You got that right. Lots and lots of failures in my creative pursuits. I figure the more I fail the faster I learn and overcoming the failures is sweet indeed.

    So Aggie, is your VDB in the gallery the one you're sending out for the exchange? Once I get cyanotypes down I will add VDB to the party.
     
  5. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    Oh yeah, we had an educational experience printing the other night for sure.

    The tones on the Batman print were really wonderful, it's too bad that the computer screen ruins most photography. :sad:

    The 'acid test' as MT called it, was really surprizing. I had no idea that acid would or even could affect the print at all. The tonal difference was very striking.

    I am going to look into different papers now and find out which ones have a good hefty acid content...if we're going to be forced to live in Utah where the water is so hard, we'll have to adjust our papers perhaps to cope with it.

    Robert, maybe you can chime in here as our local long-time resident expert. What papers are you using that work well with the water? Inquiring minds want to know.
     
  6. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    You can acidify buffered papers for various alternative processes very easily. Depending on the paper, usually a 5 to 10 minute soak in a solution of 2% oxalic acid will do the job. Procedure: soak, hang to dry, then print. Don't rinse or wash after the acid treatment.
     
  7. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    Where can I get oxalic acid?
     
  8. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    I can't vouch for the company, but this website has it pretty cheap:
    http://www.chemistrystore.com/oxalic_acid.htm

    A quick google search shows it is used as a wood bleach. You may have your own sources of woodshop stuff that may have it. Check paint stores. I don't know if it is pure enough from those sources though.

    Matt
     
  9. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    There are several acids that would work. Many available locally as well as artcraft or the Formulary.

    Sodium carbonate is the real killer. Many of the "Art" papers are buffered. It also seems that the more buffering they put in the paper, the more they charge. So it could be cheap paper for Cyanotypes is the way to go.

    I use Arches and Fabriano. We can search the archives of the alt list and find a number of papers to try.

    Locally (to Salt Lake) we can find papers at Reuels Art and Frame. I buy from Daniel Smith and Dick Blick.

    If we start with the right paper, we can save ourselves much pain and suffering. I don't worry about the water too much, I soften and filter it, my ph is about 7.4 in West Jordan. I'm sure it will change once the new house is done in Lehi.

    Cyanotypes can be done on fabrics as well. In fact there was a company that sold sheets for beds and the like that one could do for kids and crafts. Loads of fun.

    Anyway, if there isn't the blizard of the century going on next time, I will come by to see what you guys are doing. :smile:
     
  10. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Look in your yellow pages under chemical suppliers. I get mine locally (n. Calif) at a chemical supply place that carries pool chems and other common things. It's dirt cheap and easy to use. It's also handy for adjusting the pH of potassium oxalate developer if you get into pt/pd printing. I also add it to my ferric oxalte for pt/pd printing. There is no pain in this quick and easy pre-treatment step. I mostly print with gum over pt/pd, so I need papers that work well with both processes and are dimensionally stable. I can't just go try another paper assuming it's going to work - most of them don't, for one reason or another.
     
  11. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    Thanks guys! :smile: