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sully75
7-Aug-2010, 05:36
Hi There,

I've been thinking about trying some 5x7 contact prints. From my limited knowledge it seems like people use higher contrast negs for doing some contact printing with alt-process. If I use my standard negs, will I be able to make a reasonable cyanotype? I'd like to fool around with it, but my priority right now is to make decent normal negs, so I don't want to waste my time if the results are going to be poor.

Thanks
Paul

eddie
7-Aug-2010, 05:59
you will need to practice no matter how you shake it....good negs or less tha perfect negs you will still need to do it.

these processes (i prefer van dyke brown BTW. i think it is easier to get a nice image from....but that is just me as many work with cyanotypes very well) require a good paper. the paper plays a huge difference in the outcome.

i use arches platine. i want to try cot 320 but have yet to throw down the money.

FWIW all my friends say my negs are far less than optimum....guess what? i get some pretty nice prints.

here is my apug gallery (you should join apug as well) http://www.apug.org/gallery1/browseimages.php?do=member&imageuser=9453

cheers

a few shots. the middle one is an 8x10 shot with a turner reich lens

ps. all are "normal" negs

memorris
7-Aug-2010, 06:11
Many people scan the negatives and then make adjustments in PS and print digital negatives. I prefer to print from film negatives myself but both ways work. I have found that Kodak TMax has a UV filter in the base of the film so making decent alt process prints using TMax is impractical. I shoot TMax for silver prints but shoot Efke for alt process prints. It is a PITA but the results are worth the effort.

jp
7-Aug-2010, 06:24
Tmax 100 has the issue you describe. Tmax 400 is fine for cyanotypes.

Paul; you've really gotta try it. Contrast also depends on the subject matter / lighting as well the film; a higher contrast scene might make a nice cyanotype shot/processed on normal contrast film. It's so cheap to try; the contact printing frame is the most expensive part. The paper is comparable in cost to photo paper, and the chemicals are very inexpensive and easy if you get something ready or almost ready to use like Bostick&Sullivan sells.

D. Bryant
7-Aug-2010, 07:19
Hi There,

I've been thinking about trying some 5x7 contact prints. From my limited knowledge it seems like people use higher contrast negs for doing some contact printing with alt-process. If I use my standard negs, will I be able to make a reasonable cyanotype? I'd like to fool around with it, but my priority right now is to make decent normal negs, so I don't want to waste my time if the results are going to be poor.

Thanks
Paul

Rather than try to post a brief message that maybe misconstrued read this fine article by Christopher James, a chapter from his book on alternative processes.

http://www.christopherjames-studio.com/materials/The%20Book%20of%20Alt%20Photo%20Processes/SAMPLE%20CHAPTERS/CyanotypeProcessSm.pdf

Don Bryant

sully75
8-Aug-2010, 19:34
Thanks all...that's helpful. The book chapter in particular. I guess I'll have to give it a try.

Sorry, one more question: in the book it says "Potassium ferricyanide is a stable compound that only becomes a risk if it is heated beyond 300F or if it is combined
with an acid." Aren't there acids in the darkroom sometimes? I'm not a chemist. I'm just wondering how safe it is to use. I do my darkroom stuff in a shared bathroom with patient roomates, but I don't want to kill anyone.

Thanks!
Paul

Vlad Soare
8-Aug-2010, 23:25
"Potassium ferricyanide is a stable compound that only becomes a risk if it is heated beyond 300F or if it is combined
with an acid."
That's not entirely correct. It should read "if it is combined with a strong acid".
The acids most often used in a darkroom are acetic and citric, which are too weak to break down ferricyanide.
I would keep it away from hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, though.
Potassium ferricyanide is normally benign. Unless you or your roommates do something really stupid, nobody will get killed.
If you think your roommates might be scared by the "-cyanide" thing, then you can call it "potassium hexacyanoferrate(III)". That might sound less dangerous. ;)

Some people use potassium cyanide (the real stuff, not ferri-) to fix wet plates. Now, that's what I would call a real challenge... :D

David Schaller
9-Aug-2010, 12:22
Having gotten back to Cyanotype last week, I would recommend that you double-coat, which will help give you a more uniform coverage and deeper blues. So do the first coat, then dry completely, then coat and dry completely again.
Enjoy!
Dave

sdwfx
9-Aug-2010, 14:06
I shoot TMax for silver prints but shoot Efke for alt process prints. It is a PITA but the results are worth the effort.

If I may ask, which Efke are you referring to, and the reason for choosing it,
and why is it painful? :)

ronlamarsh
9-Aug-2010, 15:20
Go ahead and try it. I have found that negatives I use for most of my enlarging with foma fiber based paper and a cold light print quite well in cyanotype. I consulted Mike Wares website and according to him a negative range of about 1.2 is good for traditional cyanotype but recommends a range of 1.8 for his new process. I have read from other resources that traditional requires a contrasy neg i.e. range from .2 to 2.0 but I have found that does not work that well. So my guess is its very dependent on paper and light source.

Vlad Soare
9-Aug-2010, 22:20
I could not get a decent cyanotype with normal contrast negatives. Neither with the new process (bought pre-mixed from Freestyle), nor with the old one (mixed by myself). They were simply too low in contrast.
However, I got good cyanotypes from negatives that I had made for the vandyke process (which are extremely overdeveloped, so contrasty that they're almost impossible to print on silver halide paper).

Vlad Soare
9-Aug-2010, 22:27
I have found that Kodak TMax has a UV filter in the base of the film so making decent alt process prints using TMax is impractical. I shoot TMax for silver prints but shoot Efke for alt process prints. It is a PITA but the results are worth the effort.
Only T-Max 100 has built-in UV filters. T-Max 400 hasn't. It's very different from TMX and has nothing in common with it, except the name. I have used it to make vandyke prints, and I got exposures of around five minutes. So there was no apparent UV blocking.
I find T-Max 400 to be perfect for alternative processes because of its straight curve. It has no shoulder. No matter how hard you overdevelop it, it still retains contrast and details in the highlights.

D. Bryant
9-Aug-2010, 23:10
I could not get a decent cyanotype with normal contrast negatives. Neither with the new process (bought pre-mixed from Freestyle), nor with the old one (mixed by myself). They were simply too low in contrast.
However, I got good cyanotypes from negatives that I had made for the vandyke process (which are extremely overdeveloped, so contrasty that they're almost impossible to print on silver halide paper).

I agree with Vlad about needing negatives with a density range of about 2.5 log and about TMY-2. Cyanotypes made with low contrast negatives tend to be muddy.

Double coating shouldn't be necessary in my experience when you use a good non-hostile paper for printing.

Don Bryant

D. Bryant
9-Aug-2010, 23:18
Thanks all...that's helpful. The book chapter in particular. I guess I'll have to give it a try.

Sorry, one more question: in the book it says "Potassium ferricyanide is a stable compound that only becomes a risk if it is heated beyond 300F or if it is combined
with an acid." Aren't there acids in the darkroom sometimes? I'm not a chemist. I'm just wondering how safe it is to use. I do my darkroom stuff in a shared bathroom with patient roomates, but I don't want to kill anyone.

Thanks!
Paul

Cyanotype is seriously safe in the average darkroom. The process has been used for well over a century and I'd wager no one has ever died from potassium ferricyanide when used in the typical darkroom.

Mike Ware's New Cyanotype is notably more poisonous - per Dr. Ware himself so beware.

Don Bryant

Tom Monego
10-Aug-2010, 09:05
A friend, while we were in college got cyanide poisoning from doing full nude body prints on a cyanotype emulsion. It was a low level poisoning, but she was in the hospital for a couple of days. She probably did 20-25 prints before the symptoms were too much to ignore. I ran into her 25 years later, so no apparent after effects.
I liked gum printing myself, but you can't get potassium or ammonium dichromate any longer.

Tom

sully75
10-Aug-2010, 09:23
Tom, luckily I think the market for full nude body prints of me is really limited.

I thought that potassium dichromate was pretty freely available? In my younger days restoring musical instruments, I used to use it without gloved. Doh!

Vlad Soare
10-Aug-2010, 09:50
Photographer's Formulary list potassium and ammonium dichromate on their website. They don't ship it outside USA, but they do sell it nevertheless.

D. Bryant
10-Aug-2010, 12:00
A friend, while we were in college got cyanide poisoning from doing full nude body prints on a cyanotype emulsion. It was a low level poisoning, but she was in the hospital for a couple of days. She probably did 20-25 prints before the symptoms were too much to ignore. I ran into her 25 years later, so no apparent after effects.
I liked gum printing myself, but you can't get potassium or ammonium dichromate any longer.

Tom

Tom,

1) You don't get cyanide poisoning and live to tell about it. She may have had some other ailment from chemical sensitivity. No one I know has ever recommended exposing your nude body to cyanotype solution. And if there was dichromate in the solution she may have had a reaction from that. Anyway normal use of Cyanotype solution is just as safe as using most any other darkroom chemical when handled properly.

2) AD and PD are still available as photo chems from several different sources at least in the US.

Don Bryant

stompyq
11-Aug-2010, 11:51
Mike Ware's New Cyanotype is notably more poisonous - per Dr. Ware himself so beware.

Don Bryant

Is this b/c of the dichromate? I remember using that stuff for toning long ago and didn't give it remotely as much respect as i gave ferricyanide (which scared me to death). I'am planning to go in to cyanotypes using digital negs at home and can't decide which process to go for (old/mike ware)

Vlad Soare
11-Aug-2010, 13:36
Is this b/c of the dichromate?
No, it's because of the ferric ammonium oxalate.
The old cyanotype process uses ferric ammonium citrate instead, which is harmless.
Oxalates are toxic.
Potassium dichromate is optional in the new formula, and not used at all in the old one.


I remember using that stuff for toning long ago and didn't give it remotely as much respect as i gave ferricyanide (which scared me to death).
Scary name, isn't it? :D
Actually, it should be the other way around. Dichromates are very toxic, while potassium ferricyanide is harmless unless you do something really stupid (like, say, mixing it with sulfuric acid).


I'am planning to go in to cyanotypes using digital negs at home and can't decide which process to go for (old/mike ware)
Personally, I'd go for the old one. It's simpler, cheaper, and seems to me to be more consistent.
I found the new cyanotype solution to be very inconsistent. I never knew what to expect from it. Admittedly, I had bought it pre-mixed, so who knows, maybe there was something wrong with my particular solution, and not with the formula itself. I didn't try to mix it myself.

vickersdc
6-Dec-2010, 05:57
Give it a go! I started doing cyanotypes earlier on in the year (an example below) and really enjoyed it. I was using the sun as my UV source and exposure times varied from 20 minutes to 9+ hours!! Well, I am in the UK after all ;0)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4010/4318540780_0308c29c4b.jpg

I've also started making my own paper and coating it with arrowroot as a sizing, which I apply with something called a Blanchard brush. I got the idea from an c1900 book (Everyones Guide To Photography by FJ Wall) which describe show to make one. I've also just bought a small solarium so that I can do cyanotypes in the winter when UV is not exactly in abundance (and I can make cyanotypes at night too) - I'm just waiting for that to arrive.

I use the traditional formula and results such as how deep a blue you get, and contrast are variable - but that might just be down to me. I've also tried toning in tannin (both using teabags and tannin from a home-brew store).

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4065/4343715645_8d7998c2d1.jpg

Cheers,
David.

BrianShaw
6-Dec-2010, 09:19
I'm not a chemist. I'm just wondering how safe it is to use. I do my darkroom stuff in a shared bathroom with patient roomates, but I don't want to kill anyone.

Do a little additional homework... study up on laboratory hygiene and practice it!

jon.oman
6-Dec-2010, 09:43
Rather than try to post a brief message that maybe misconstrued read this fine article by Christopher James, a chapter from his book on alternative processes.

http://www.christopherjames-studio.com/materials/The%20Book%20of%20Alt%20Photo%20Processes/SAMPLE%20CHAPTERS/CyanotypeProcessSm.pdf

Don Bryant

Thanks for the attachment. Great detail on the process.

Jess C
6-Dec-2010, 09:49
I have had pretty good luck with normal LF negatives when making cyanotypes but I have found that I get better results with negs that are little on the contrasty side.