Solar Enlarger for Cyanotype

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Apugabug, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Apugabug

    Apugabug Member

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    Is there such a thing? A couple old forums mention them, but I don't know exactly what they are. I am curious about whether there is a relatively easy and cheap way to make cyanotype enlargements from B&W negatives using sunshine.

    I know almost nothing about cyanotypes. The reason I ask is that I don't have a darkroom or an enlarger, but I think it would be a rather neat thing, though perhaps somewhat novelty, to make "blueprint" photos.
     
  2. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Solar was a brand of enlarger. Cyanotypes are done by a contact process.
     
  3. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Cyanotypes are easy and fun to make. You can often buy premade cyanotype paper at the craft store. You don't need very much equipment at all. Just a board, a piece of glass, a shallow tray and some running water.

    The problem, as I remember, with enlargers is that the glass elements of the lens and the condenser block most of the ultraviolet light from getting through to the sensitized paper. Cyanotype works by ultraviolet light. Therefore, the paper will never get enough UV to make a proper exposure.
     
  4. el wacho

    el wacho Member

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    didn't Ansel Adams use a solar enlarger in "the print"?
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you want to make " enlarged " cyanotypes ...
    there are a handful of options ...
    you can use a camera with a large negative;
    you can make an enlarged negative with photographic film;
    you can go the hybrid route and use current electronic technology to make a negative on overhead transparency film;

    or my current favorite ...
    take your film to a copy shop, and ask them to enlarge it as a NEGATIVE with their copy machine,
    then you wax the xerox paper and use THAT as your negative.

    i have a few examples of the latter in my gallery + blog .

    have fuN !
    john
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Solar enlargers are historcal relics of the victorian era. The photo shop would have a large reflective device on the roof or front window, and a series of mirrors, maybe even front silvered, which were used to channel/pipe sunlight light down to the negative inside the building. Sometimes down into the exposing salon as well

    Assistants, by means of ropes and push rods would manipulate the primary mirror to follow the sun thoughout the day.
     
  7. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    A very good and accurate answer.

    Yes, there was a a "Solar" brand enlarger, but it was not for cyanotype. Rather, it was a relatively low cost diffusion enlarger for 4x5 film and silver gelatin paper.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi jim

    there were larger solars too ..
    i worked with a portrait photographer
    and she had a 5x7 solar ...
    the bulbs were long necked incandescent ones ...
    and the head was coated with a reflective material
    to diffuse the light.

    it was pretty nice !
    john