U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | cyanotype


Dear All,
I returned finally to gumover cyano after two months of slugging through palladium and I feel like I died and went to heaven :)

Anyway, I've been meaning to run this "one little test", a bunch of step wedges side by side with different dilutions of cyanotype to see what colors it may bring. It was prompted by Henry Rattle's comment about cyanotype being too dark and how to lighten the color (by other than exposure and correct curve, of course, which, imho, is the way to go).

One time it was said on the list that diluting cyanotype made it softer and reduced contrast. Sam Wang, who has done lots of cyano in his 40 yr teaching, says, in fact, diluting it does not change the lightness/darkness of the color and increases contrast.

I only did one test, and on Platine (a beautiful paper for cyanotype). I will keep doing it, though, and I hope someone else (or two) would waste some paper and time and be able to build a more accurate database, or share their tests they have already done on this matter.

I did a strip of my usual 2A:1B, then a strip of 2A:1B but the A part was cut in half by water, then 1A:1B and then 1A:1B but the A part was 1/4 A and 3/4 water.

I was really surprised to find how incredibly flexible the process was--the strips that varied from 1/3-2/3 A all looked essentially the same color, although speed was different. 2A:1B is faster. It looks to me like the color variability is affected a lot by how much cyanotype solution you coat with moreso than the proportions of A to B. But the last strip I did with only 1/6 Part A was, in fact, bit paler blue. So it shows me that you would have to **drastically** reduce the Part A to begin to affect the color. The weird thing is, with that little A in the mix, it still exposed 4.5 stops of density! I've got the wedges scanned and will soon get it up on my website.

Just think if you did this with palladium! So this is another reason cyanotype is a great beginner alt process--its immense latitude.

However, I may have an answer to my "graininess" issue that I have seen off and on this semester. Same paper, one of my strips is really mottled. In reviewing my workflow with that strip, I think it has more solution on it. So I am thinking the mottling has to do with solution settling into the paper "wells" with a deeper amount of stuff there. The two unmottled ones I definitely used less solution to brush on.

That's it for today. Daughter is in labor at the moment and I have to go teach all day so I am on pins and needles! Time for a cigar.