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  1. #1
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    A question about cyanotype process

    I've somewhat new to cyanotypes. I love the simplicity of it. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems that the cyanotype process is pretty contrasty and it's very hard to get delicate tones. Even with digital inkjet negs. Does anybody else find that's the case?
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
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  2. #2
    MDR
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    The tonal range of cyanotypes is a bit limited compared to other alt. processes, like any Alt. Process it requires the right neg another problem of cyanos and many other alt. processes is that details get lost due to fact that emulsion soaks into the paper. I personaly prefer the originals formula to Ware's new cyanotype supposedly the latter has better detail and tonal reproduction. I like the graphic look cyanos can give me.
    Also I've certainly seen some fine renderings in cyanotypes but not often.

    The old saying still counts easy mixing does not equal easy to get good results. Another easy process is the saltprint only two max three ingredients but it got one hell of a temperament.

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    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I have a question for the chemists.

    What is the difference between the Iron Blue toners, and cyanotypes? I do a lot of blue toning but no cyanotypes.

  4. #4
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input. I've tried salt printing too and it's another tough one to master. Digital negs isn't the magic bullet for it either. It takes patients and experience. None of these processes come with the ease like inkjet printing which make these old processes special. The old processes are mixed from readily available ingredients which makes the users less dependent on technology. That is a good thing for me.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

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    Herzeleid's Avatar
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    I have good experience with printing delicate highlights using a modified version of the Bostick&Sullivan formula. B&S formula contains oxalic acid (for better iron reduction), and ammonium dichromate for preventing the fog. I am using ratios as %25A and %12B. I have added 1gr of oxalic acid into A, 0,2gr ammonium dichromate to part B. This formula performs especially well with unbuffered papers (or de-alkalised papers with sulfamic acid). If used with buffered papers the effect of OA is somewhat reduced but the papers still retains more blue during wet treatment. It won't compare to the ware's modern formula, but it performs very good imo.

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    I've gotten nice delicate tones with inkjet, but regardless of the negative source, it's tough to get the tones WHERE you want them. Lots of variables. Paper type and humidity, coatings, brush type or rod, It's easy for a midtone to come out a little too dark or light. Best to print photos where the exact midtones aren't important, or identically coat a batch and keep making different curved digital negs till you get it right if you want to work hybrid. Or if working analog, keep printing differently on the same coated batch of paper.

    For printing non-hybrid, decent midtones come from using pyrocat hd to make negatives that would silver print about grade3 (slightly low in contrast visually, but would have good invisble UV staining). These are non-hybrid 100% analog.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13759696@N02/9488806803/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1375969...-c8QW5U-fsuBwM

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    MDR
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    Nice prints. And they clearly illustrate one of the main problems of Cyanotypes, highlight details. Yes alt processes like pyro cyanotypes also seem to like double coating and good drying without the use of heat (hairdryer, radiator, etc...). Digital negs are never the silver or any other bullet for alt.processes they require as much work as a silver neg and have their own problems especially the inkjet based ones and the wrong ink or printer.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    I have a question for the chemists.

    What is the difference between the Iron Blue toners, and cyanotypes? I do a lot of blue toning but no cyanotypes.
    In both cases the image is formed from the dye Prussian Blue. With the toner the silver image is replaced by the dye. The cyanotype process depends on the fact that certain iron salts are sensitive to light. The paper is sensitized with a mixture of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. Then it is exposed to light and developed with water to remove any unused sensitizer.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 02-03-2014 at 02:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

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    Cyanotypes do tend to be high contrast in plain water baths. You do have to tailor the neg to the process. Yet if all your negs print with too high contrast, try a weak solution of citric acid in the water bath to immerse the exposed prints in. This expands the print values tremendously! Be careful though as cyanotypes go absolutely nuts in acidic solutions--sensitizer on the paper quickly leaves the paper surface and goes into the bath, then lands on and can stain the unexposed white high values in the print.

  10. #10
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Thanks Gerald

    one of the problems that I have encountered with the blue image , is that the more you wash the print you lose the blue tone , is this the same with cyanotype, and if so this would explain a bit of the difficulty in getting a perfect print.


    Bob
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    In both cases the image is formed from the dye Prussian Blue. With the toner the silver image is replaced by the dye.

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