Visual how to showing the creation of Cyanotype

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Christopher Colley, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Greetings!

    I am here to share a bit of a visual demonstration showing how I make a Cyanotype print. There are quite a few cyanotype how-to's on the internet! But, this is my cyanotype how to.

    This is a step by step visual and text based demonstration.

    Be warned! There are many photographs which add up to roughly 1.5 megabytes, this can be a long download on anything but a high speed connection so be patient..

    (oh, also be warned! the photographs of this demonstration were not made using an analog camera!)


    http://blog.depressing.org/archives/000032.html

    I hope this is useful to someone... Hopefully there are not too many editing mistakes!

    edit: I use a digital watch to time my exposure!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2006
  2. agGNOME

    agGNOME Member

    Messages:
    216
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    New Orleans,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for sharing Christopher! That was a good how-to article that will benefit the community; and I'm sure will garner some interest in the process. :smile: cameron
     
  3. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Christopher, Well done! I have never tried the Cyanotype process before, but your instructions will be very helpful when I do. Thank you very much for taking the time to make this step by step guide available to us.

    Charlie..........................

    A day later: I again say thank you for making your demonstration available to our list, also your added material answeres several questions for me. Your effort here is truly more than appreciated. CW
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2006
  4. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,948
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Location:
    South Norfol
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Looks very useful. I am thinking of trying the cyanotype and have bookmarked your page. One question though, what is the definition like?

    Tom.
     
  5. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks Christopher. This has been added to my growing list of how to's
     
  6. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I made a slight update to the very bottom of the page Tom Kershaw. Do these images answer your question?
     
  7. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks Christopher, trying the cyanotype process has been on my list of things to try for some time. Your article explains very clearly the steps involved.

    Martin
     
  8. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tom, if you can find a smooth surfaced paper that will hold the cyanotype well (both the sensitizer and the final Prussian blue pigment), and won't roughen with repeated wetting and drying, a cyanotype is capable of holding as much detail as a silver gelatin contact print. The best I've done was on Canson Montval "Rough" (which is a lot smoother than other cold pressed watercolor papers I've tried), but I'm still looking for a smoother surfaced, "harder" paper that has the same resistance to wetting as this reinforced watercolor paper. I'm tempted to try plain old posterboard -- it's certainly cheap enough to experiment on.

    BTW, you can also tone cyanotype in strong, cold tea or tannic acid, either after bleaching in sodium carbonate solution, household ammonia solution, or without bleaching, to obtain a range of final colors from an orange-red to near-neutral black, while the paper will stain slightly and range from barely off white to a distinctly tan shade. This can open the process up for subjects that might not be at their best with a blue-toned print (like portraits -- lots of folks dislike portraits in cyanotype, but with tea toning they can look very much like matte-finish silver gelatin prints on an ivory- or buff-toned base -- a very good look for a portrait).
     
  9. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,948
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Location:
    South Norfol
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Donald,

    Some really great advice, thanks. I guess I will need to read the primer prepared by Christopher Colley before comming back with any more questions. Ah..., just though of one; how long do the cyanotype solutions keep?

    Tom.
     
  10. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    On the bottles recieved from Bostick and Sullivan it says 1 year for dry chemistry (how it comes) and 6 months for wet mixed chemistry.

    When I was first learning how to do this process I used B&S mixed wet A and B Cyanotype solutions that were mixed at least 1 year before I used them. This was about 1 year ago and the prints from those sessions are fine..

    So, I will be dangerous and go against what the bottles say and proclaim myself that I believe the cyanotype chemistry offered by bostick and sullivan can last at least 1 year when mixed with distilled water and stored in a dark place in a room that never gets any sunlight and doesnt get very hot or very cold.
     
  11. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Added photograph of Cyanotype that has been toned to the bottom of the page to show that you do not have to be stuck with blue..
     
  12. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I just tried Strathmore Bristol, a very smooth paper, and the results were quite striking - quite a lot of detail and tonal range compared to what I've gotten in the past with cold press watercolor papers. The surface stayed quite smooth, although there was some minor roughing after all the washing was complete. Overall though, I think I like the results much better than rougher papers.

    - Randy
     
  13. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've used Strathmore Bristol for some salt prints and it works well for them as well (and doesn't fog the silver nitrate the way the Canon Montval has done) -- I may never use watercolor again, for anything but watercolors.