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
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:
Put in water and bleach mix
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:
Matlock (marks I believe are oil showing I need to wait a bit before printing lol)
Bridge along the canal - this is slightly over exposed as I have lost a bit of detail
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
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!
Great cyanotypes, but may I ask what the D stands for?
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
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.