Sunprints 101

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by ErosP, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. ErosP

    ErosP Member

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    Has anyone here ever experimented with sunprint paper (the funky blue sheet material that you use water as a developer after exposing your image to a high UV light source)? After looking at Ilford's latest photographic offering (an amazing pinhole camera!) I thought about using regular photo paper as a capture medium as opposed to film. I thought I might take the idea further by using sunprint paper in a regular lens type camera.

    Has anyone tried this type of exposure? If so, what kind of exposure times did you use to achieve your results?

    Regards,
    Eros
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2011
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    The 'sunprint' paper is cyanotype paper. Cyanotypes are VERY slow (typical exposure time in contact printing is several minutes to several hours depending on weather, temperature, humidity, brightness). I don't know that you could establish an ISO rating for it to determine a consistent exposure.
     
  3. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I experimented with cyanotypes in a pinhole several years ago, with very limited results.

    Cyanotypes are not just slow, but they are very specific in regards to the wavelengths of light to which they respond. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe cyanotypes work through the transmission of UV light, that is, the amount of UV that reaches the paper through your negative or whatever is covering your paper. When we view a scene, we are seeing the visible wavelengths of light, not the UV. Your subject may reflect some UV light, but not enough to create a satisfactory image, particularly given the low ISO of the paper and the high f-stop of your pinhole. Now, as to how much UV the elements of a given scene would reflect or absorb, who knows? (certainly not me).

    When I tried pinhole cyanotypes, I left my camera in place for several bright summer days, and the best I could optimistically say is that there was "something" there. Granted, when I tried this, my pinhole was a pretty poor excuse for a camera; your experiments might happily prove me wrong. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2011
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  5. ErosP

    ErosP Member

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    Pinhole cyanotypes, no - regular camera, maybe???

    Thanks for the replies my kind friends... I was actually thinking of using the sunprint paper in a folding camera with a regular lens, not a pinhole. I figured pinhole exposures would be next to impossible. At least a regular camera would have more light coming through. If I find a small supply of the lovely blue stuff, I'm going to give it a try.

    This chapter is not closed yet! I am determined to at least try!

    Regards,
    Eros
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Check this out... http://www.sentex.net/~mwandel/blueprint/blueprint.html

    You might be looking at really long exposures (all day?). Use an old uncoated lens for the most UV transmission. I don't know, but it's actually possible that the pinhole could be faster since it lets in UV uninhibited. Now, if you can find a plastic lens you'll be set...

    Let us know how it works out!
     
  7. mdm

    mdm Member

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    google mike ware and the new cyanotype process.
     
  8. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Careful...many plastics absorb UV...
     
  9. ErosP

    ErosP Member

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    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Hello friends!

    My goodness! I am really liking this community - given the few posts I have made thus far and the number of replies, you are one amazing bunch!

    @mdm - That's an interesting article on the new cyanotype process. I've bookmarked it for future reference. The not so nice thing about alt-photo processes is the potentially nasty chemistry. I reacted to the regular stuff years back and it pretty much ended my photographic aspirations until digital came up to speed. The lesser the toxicity, the better!

    @jnanian - from what i have discovered so far, most photo papers are around an ISO 6 rating. Ilford has a handy PDF exposure calculator geared towards pinhole photography that you have to trim and mount the dials yourself - handy for doing pinhole work. I soooo want to get their Harman Titan pinhole camera but it's a bit out of my budget range for now. That's what has gotten me started on this whole alt-process/analogue photo bender - the desire to go back to the simplicity of taking photos. No hassle, no digital monkeying around. They did have for a short time a reversal B&W paper but have (I hope its temporary!) ceased production due to production issues that need to be sorted out. (the paper was specifically meant for their Harman Titan camera)

    @everybody else - thanks for the replies! I want to tray and source a Canadian distributor for their Sunprint paper (8x12 size) but may have to order direct from the USA. :pouty: If any fellow canucks know of a retailler/distributor, I'm all ears!

    Cheers,
    Eros

    please feel free to stay in touch with me via Twitter @erospeterson
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi erosP

    what i alluded to was chemical free faux pop photography.
    i put paper in a camera, and leave the camera open on B for
    a long time period, and the image is burnished/burned/stained &C on
    the photo paper as a negative. it is unstable, but if exposed for long enough
    might be able to withstand a extremely short dip in dilute hypo ( sodium thiosulfate )
    without bleaching back to white completely. ... so the exposure calculators wouldn't help me
    much seeing i am not developing out the images :wink:

    cyanotypes might be around the same "speed" (if you can call it that), as photo photopaper when exposed by brute force .

    have fun with your experiments !
    john