View Full Version : Some Cyanotype thoughts, and a print.

Doug K
09-09-2014, 08:37 PM
The attached print is of the traditional cyanotype process 50/50 mixture on Stonehenge paper, and using the Denver, Colorado sunlight to expose. This was done on a cloudy day. I've not done any printing in quite some time, so this was an exercise in getting back in to the groove of printing. The photo is a digital photo taken at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico where Georgia O'Keefe spent her early years in New Mexico. I have a number of prints I need to do for others, and so printed up some new negatives, coated some paper, and got to it.

So some thoughts. One, you can get a good print on a cloudy day, and I even made some while it was raining lightly. It took quite a bit more time, but I found that the exposure time was more forgiving if I was off by a minute or so. 1 minute over 12 or 25 is nothing compared to 1 minute in 5. Two, since I am really liking doing these prints, I really need to standardize my process and finish my UV light source. The seat of the pants process I am using with outdoor light is fine for the occasional print, but I need more predictability. Three, after testing, I like the citric acid initial development bath best. I tried vinegar, and it was horrible for me. Water is OK, but citric acid really gives the best results for me. Four, you can make effective prints even if it is raining. I did three while it was raining, and the water beaded up on the glass I made the negative sandwich with, but being careful when I took everything apart so the negative wouldn't get wet, the print came out fine with no anomalies from the water beading up on the glass. Not that I'd recommend it, but at least it can be done.

The print here is a bit over exposed, and the photo isn't as sharp as the print, but it at least gives me an idea of what the photo can be.


09-10-2014, 11:26 AM
Doug - this is a very nice print, especially for the traditional formula. Print it again with the Ware formula, and I think that you will be pleasantly surprised. When I was printing with the sun, I found that north light from a clear blue sky gave the best contrast and the most consistent results. The time of day makes a difference, also - note the time when you print. The light is different in the middle of the day than it is earlier or later.

A uv light box is not hard to build. Keep your eyes peeled for a uv unit with vacuum frame and integrator (plate burner or equiv) - they can sometimes be found on Craig's List of ebay for not that much money.