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Rolleiflexible

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Very nice - they look great, and it sounds like you had fun making the prints! That is the thing about cyanotypes, when I get tired of futzing around with all the details of Kallitypes ( my current alt photo project) - I just make some cyanotype and they usually come out looking really great. I like the deep blues, I will have to try that Canson marker paper.... In the past, I have used Canson Bristol XL for cyanotypes and had some really good results...always interesting to try something new. Thanks again for sharing with this group

Dave

I am happy making kallitypes but I keep seeing examples of cyanotypes that make me think I should broaden my horizons. Toning cyanotypes with tannins and other substances explodes the possibilities of the process. Dave, ask Clay Harmon to walk you through his cyanotypes when you see him later this month.
 

NedL

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#1 - When working out a new process, take good notes. Do not rely on your memory... it is unreliable!

#2 Also, when making tests, change only one variable at a time.

#3 - When you have a good method worked out, write up a recipe (or protocol) and follow it as consistently as possible.

Hi Frank,

I took the liberty of revising your comment into 3 important rules and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote!

My writing was ambiguous and sloppy. Let me see if I can do better. Maybe this:

I don't worry about perfectly following some "gold standard" cyanotype formula to start with, because what is important is to stay consistent between prints.

Now, way more detail than you want:

From previous experience making cyanotypes on this paper, I've learned that ratios of AFC to Pot Ferri between 20:8 and 20:10 all produce good and similar results, and this ratio is not a highly critical factor. However, this paper buckles a little when it gets wet, and with too much total liquid it can puddle in the "valleys" while drying. This can produce defects in the final print ( presumably by soaking through into the alkaline internal sizing ), and really is a critical factor. I wasn't sure exactly how many total drops to use for this size negative ( 40 is ballpark, but needed to dial it in... ). As I made the 1st 3 prints, I reduced the total number of drops while keeping the ratio of AFC to pot ferri and the concentrations the same.

So the 16:18 drops wasn't a haphazard guess, but the end result of reducing the total volume ( 1 variable! ) while keeping everything else the same. This was only possible because I have pencil notes on the back of each print. Only printing on weekends, I wouldn't even be able to remember how many drops I used from one print to the next, not to mention If I want to do this again next year! I'd never remember anything without those notes!

TLDR: I don't think it matters much which cyanotype "recipe" you start with, and I don't think there is a "best gold standard one", but I sure agree with Frank that it's important to stay consistent, only change one thing at a time, and keep good notes.

That said, there's also a balance. Being creative and enjoying the magic of a print ( opening the printing frame to see what you have really is a special kind of magic! ) or getting too immersed in technical details. To me, cyanotype has a kind of carefree freedom and I'm more likely to "put it out in the sun and let's see what happens!". It's cheap and non-toxic and relatively simple and forgiving, so you won't waste a lot of time and money if you play around with it. I guess I'd say "carefree" but not "haphazard" :smile:
 
Last edited:

NedL

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Question: Did you oil or wax the print at all to boost the transparency of the negative?

Hi Niranjan,

Long story short, nope.

Almost all of my experience with digital negatives is with VDB and its citric acid cousin Sepia. I discovered that I could make nice prints with a full range of tones using negatives printed with the inexpensive dye-based inkjet printer we already had. Plain copy paper works well but shows the paper texture -- which I personally tend to like -- and glossy "photo paper" takes longer to print but doesn't show paper texture.

After a bunch of work, I ended up at a standard 55 minutes under my BLBs for VDB and Sepia. Once the whole process was dialed in I could just make prints! A few weeks ago, when I tried the first cyanotype, I thought to myself "with photograms in the sun, cyano is about twice as slow" so I tried 2 hours under the BLBs. The print looked blue all over coming out of the frame, but not that deep dark "bronzed" look. It washed away to nothing and I was left with a mostly white piece of paper. So, the next time, I stuck it out in the sun for 2.5 hours, and that did the trick.
 
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Man Ned that 55 minutes would torture me! I made a lot of cyanotypes back in the 90s with BLB and those were some long exposures. It was just too slow for my impatient side. (For the same reason I rarely do lith prints). UV LEDs really changed the world for me.
 
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nmp

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Man Ned that 55 minutes would torture me! I made a lot of cyanotypes back in the 90s with BLB and those were some long exposures. It was just too slow for my impatient side. (For the same reason I rarely do lith prints). UV LEDs really changed the world for me.

Don't even think of hypo-cuprotypes....they will take you 4 hours!

:Niranjan.
 

NedL

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There was a contemporary of Talbot in Norway in the 1840's named Hans Winther. He developed an in-camera positive process that used dichromates. It needed exposures of 2 or 3 or 4 hours. I've tried to replicate his process using iron salts ( and it works for a photogram in the sun! ) but there just are not enough hours of sun in a day!

Honestly, I kind of like the 55 minutes. I can go watch baseball or do something else, and I hardly ever make more than one print a day anyway. I can make a print in the evening even on days I work.
 
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Don't even think of hypo-cuprotypes....they will take you 4 hours!

:Niranjan.

I did do a few dozen Lumen prints a few months ago. Those were like 12 hours so I am not completely without patience. Then again I didn't have to sit around and wait for them either.

I was planning on doing some cuprotypes like Frank has done. I did some digging last night and I have all the chems for it. Should be fun!
 
Joined
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Messages
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There was a contemporary of Talbot in Norway in the 1840's named Hans Winther. He developed an in-camera positive process that used dichromates. It needed exposures of 2 or 3 or 4 hours. I've tried to replicate his process using iron salts ( and it works for a photogram in the sun! ) but there just are not enough hours of sun in a day!

Honestly, I kind of like the 55 minutes. I can go watch baseball or do something else, and I hardly ever make more than one print a day anyway. I can make a print in the evening even on days I work.

With my current setup I can probably make 20 8x10s in 55 minutes! Minus coating the paper of course. It is actually too fast. I tend to chill in between a bit.
 
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Here is another cyanotype. This was bleached in Carbonate then toned in tea. I don't think I bleached it all the way. I'd write down all the steps but I already did that earlier in the thread. i don't know off the top of my head what paper this was on. I've done so many of them now it is difficult to find any specific one. I started putting the info in the name of the scan because it was getting just too much. Organization is key to all this but I fail at that sometimes.

Cyanotype_Tests_07 Carb full Lipton.jpg
 
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nmp

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I did do a few dozen Lumen prints a few months ago. Those were like 12 hours so I am not completely without patience. Then again I didn't have to sit around and wait for them either.

I was planning on doing some cuprotypes like Frank has done. I did some digging last night and I have all the chems for it. Should be fun!

With your set-up, it shouldn't take longer than 1/2 or so. 4 hours I was alluding to would be with Ned's inkjet photopaper negatives and Sun exposure. In my set up it takes about 1 hour.

:Niranjan.
 

NedL

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Here is another cyanotype.
Good one! I think it works because there are no white highlights. I kind of gave up on toning cyanotypes because -- as Serdar has noted and knows a lot better than me -- the highlights don't really clear all the way. There seems to be an unavoidable light yellow or light pink "stain" in the highlights. I'm also kind of fanatical about highlights, and can't be happy if I don't like the way they look :smile: So this is definitely a YMMV thing.

Off to start exposing the next print, right now! Little sand crabs....
 
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nmp

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Good one! I think it works because there are no white highlights. I kind of gave up on toning cyanotypes because -- as Serdar has noted and knows a lot better than me -- the highlights don't really clear all the way. There seems to be an unavoidable light yellow or light pink "stain" in the highlights. I'm also kind of fanatical about highlights, and can't be happy if I don't like the way they look :smile: So this is definitely a YMMV thing.

Off to start exposing the next print, right now! Little sand crabs....

I did a study of various toners some time ago that I have to sit down and summarize - there are some where the staining is very minimum. I will share, hopefully, soon.

:Niranjan.
 

KYsailor

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Oct 29, 2021
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Louisville, KY
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I did a study of various toners some time ago that I have to sit down and summarize - there are some where the staining is very minimum. I will share, hopefully, soon.

:Niranjan.

Niranjan,

That would be very interesting if you can find it. My limited experience has been that the paper is a significant variable in the extent of stainging. I have done some cyanotypes with tea, coffee, wine tannin and sweet potato skins (Annette Golaz's book on toning) and while I have liked some more than others, certain papers tend to stain much more than others.
 

KYsailor

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Louisville, KY
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Some Kallitypes from yesterday - still kind of trial and error on the negatives, probably need to learn quadtone RIP and run through the calibration sequence. These were made from digital images taken with Fuji X-T1, printed on Fixxons transparency. Used the B&S Pl/Pt curve and iteratively adjusted the contrast and brightness setting in the epson ABW menu to get these results - standard B&S chemistry with "black" developer. Gold toned for 10 minutes standard hypo fix 2 minutes, hypo clear and wash.

Revere Platinum paper, single coat, used the Onforu 2 Pack 96W Black Light Bar, LED Blacklight (385 to 400 nm - great for kalli) - thank Rollieflexible for the recommendation. They could be tweaked a bit WRT contrast, but overall not too bad. I have a large injet print of the Paris scene and the Kalli (5X7) looks very similar but with a bit more tonality. The stream is Gore Creek just outside Vail Colorado (6x9)....could use a bit less contrast/more midtone, nevertheless I am pretty pleased with both of them given my limited experience. These are best two of six so some lessons were leaned, including don't leave your print face down in a toner tray with ribs...

Dave


.
kalli014.jpg
kalli015.jpg

 

fgorga

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Aug 31, 2015
Messages
567
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New Hampshire
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Hi Frank,

I took the liberty of revising your comment into 3 important rules and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote!

My writing was ambiguous and sloppy. Let me see if I can do better. Maybe this:

I don't worry about perfectly following some "gold standard" cyanotype formula to start with, because what is important is to stay consistent between prints.

Now, way more detail than you want:

From previous experience making cyanotypes on this paper, I've learned that ratios of AFC to Pot Ferri between 20:8 and 20:10 all produce good and similar results, and this ratio is not a highly critical factor. However, this paper buckles a little when it gets wet, and with too much total liquid it can puddle in the "valleys" while drying. This can produce defects in the final print ( presumably by soaking through into the alkaline internal sizing ), and really is a critical factor. I wasn't sure exactly how many total drops to use for this size negative ( 40 is ballpark, but needed to dial it in... ). As I made the 1st 3 prints, I reduced the total number of drops while keeping the ratio of AFC to pot ferri and the concentrations the same.

So the 16:18 drops wasn't a haphazard guess, but the end result of reducing the total volume ( 1 variable! ) while keeping everything else the same. This was only possible because I have pencil notes on the back of each print. Only printing on weekends, I wouldn't even be able to remember how many drops I used from one print to the next, not to mention If I want to do this again next year! I'd never remember anything without those notes!

TLDR: I don't think it matters much which cyanotype "recipe" you start with, and I don't think there is a "best gold standard one", but I sure agree with Frank that it's important to stay consistent, only change one thing at a time, and keep good notes.

That said, there's also a balance. Being creative and enjoying the magic of a print ( opening the printing frame to see what you have really is a special kind of magic! ) or getting too immersed in technical details. To me, cyanotype has a kind of carefree freedom and I'm more likely to "put it out in the sun and let's see what happens!". It's cheap and non-toxic and relatively simple and forgiving, so you won't waste a lot of time and money if you play around with it. I guess I'd say "carefree" but not "haphazard" :smile:

Agreed! The key is having fun while making interesting art.
 

fgorga

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Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
567
Location
New Hampshire
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Some Kallitypes from yesterday - still kind of trial and error on the negatives, probably need to learn quadtone RIP and run through the calibration sequence. These were made from digital images taken with Fuji X-T1, printed on Fixxons transparency. Used the B&S Pl/Pt curve and iteratively adjusted the contrast and brightness setting in the epson ABW menu to get these results - standard B&S chemistry with "black" developer. Gold toned for 10 minutes standard hypo fix 2 minutes, hypo clear and wash.

Revere Platinum paper, single coat, used the Onforu 2 Pack 96W Black Light Bar, LED Blacklight (385 to 400 nm - great for kalli) - thank Rollieflexible for the recommendation. They could be tweaked a bit WRT contrast, but overall not too bad. I have a large injet print of the Paris scene and the Kalli (5X7) looks very similar but with a bit more tonality. The stream is Gore Creek just outside Vail Colorado (6x9)....could use a bit less contrast/more midtone, nevertheless I am pretty pleased with both of them given my limited experience. These are best two of six so some lessons were leaned, including don't leave your print face down in a toner tray with ribs...

Dave


. View attachment 342916 View attachment 342917


Not bad!

I'm not sure I would do anything to change the Paris print.

As you say, the creek print could use a bit of work, especially in the highlights. Since you are using a "found" curve, I would try tweaking the curve. Found curves are a great starting point, but are rarely optimal in my experience.

Alternatively, you could try some burning in on the image before inverting to make the negative. One of the things I like about digital negatives for alt processes is the ability to dodge and burn before printing a negative.
 
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nmp

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Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
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Location
Maryland USA
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Niranjan,

That would be very interesting if you can find it. My limited experience has been that the paper is a significant variable in the extent of stainging. I have done some cyanotypes with tea, coffee, wine tannin and sweet potato skins (Annette Golaz's book on toning) and while I have liked some more than others, certain papers tend to stain much more than others.

I only did one paper - Canson XL - as at that time that was the paper that gave me the most optimum combination of Dmax and Dmin. As a first order investigation, I wanted to look at various polyphenol sources (nothing fancy like potato skins though) and see which one gives the least amount of stain (lower Dmin) without too big a hit to the Dmax for a fully bleached print - i.e. best DR. My expectations are/would be that the relationship (may be not the absolute level, but the order) found in one paper would generally hold to other papers too.

:Niranjan.
 
Last edited:

Rolleiflexible

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Some Kallitypes from yesterday - still kind of trial and error on the negatives, probably need to learn quadtone RIP and run through the calibration sequence. These were made from digital images taken with Fuji X-T1, printed on Fixxons transparency. Used the B&S Pl/Pt curve and iteratively adjusted the contrast and brightness setting in the epson ABW menu to get these results - standard B&S chemistry with "black" developer. Gold toned for 10 minutes standard hypo fix 2 minutes, hypo clear and wash.

Revere Platinum paper, single coat, used the Onforu 2 Pack 96W Black Light Bar, LED Blacklight (385 to 400 nm - great for kalli) - thank Rollieflexible for the recommendation. They could be tweaked a bit WRT contrast, but overall not too bad. I have a large injet print of the Paris scene and the Kalli (5X7) looks very similar but with a bit more tonality. The stream is Gore Creek just outside Vail Colorado (6x9)....could use a bit less contrast/more midtone, nevertheless I am pretty pleased with both of them given my limited experience. These are best two of six so some lessons were leaned, including don't leave your print face down in a toner tray with ribs...

Dave


. View attachment 342916 View attachment 342917


These look great! What camera/filter did you use? How did you hold so much detail in the skies?
 
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OP

nmp

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Very nice, like the tone, a warm black. Good subject. Makes me think I should add this process to my list of things to try.
Thanks, Dave. I like the color too. Normally it comes out much more reddish without toning but somehow the confluence of my process and material choice is giving me this cooler shade and I am not complaining. As the weather turned hot and humid, I was afraid it will change the tone somewhat. But luckily it seems to have survived. I had to apply greater amount of the salt and silver solutions for the same number of passes as the paper has become much more thirsty.

Salt is an interesting process - a little more involved than kallitypes for sure with its two step sensitization and all the permutations and combinations of salt, acid, sizing, silver nitrate and toning giving myriads of different outcomes. It also has a great tonal scale with a long highlights zone requiring significantly denser negatives than most other processes. So the printer becomes an important part if making digital negatives. Fixing is a little more crucial too, so is washing in order to ascertain stability and longevity. Other than that it's very easy...🙂 You ought to try it.

:Niranjan.
 

runswithsizzers

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