Cyanotype help- Where'd all my depth go?

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by strangethan, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. strangethan

    strangethan TPF Noob!

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    So I've been playing around with cyanotypes, nothing fancy, just Jacquard AB solution on Somerset Heavyweight paper.

    When I'm finished with my first rinse, I'm super happy, there's a wide gradient of blues, great contrast, lots of depth. Second rinse with hydroperoxide, even happier, the image really 'pops'. But then, when the paper dries, all of the subtleties of the gradient disappears, and the image becomes really flat. I actually watch it disappear as it dries. I'm left with a super high contrast image that's either all prussian blue or all white.

    I can't decide if this is a matter of exposure time? Or is there something I'm not doing to "set" the image before it dries? Does it matter if the image is exposed to UV as it it drying?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.


     
  2. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Are you rinsing again in water after the hydrogen peroxide rinse? You probably just want that pop and then water rinse again.

    Anyway, all my cyanotypes were high contrast back when I tried this - amazing is that they still look like did the day they were made.
     
  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your rinse water may be too alkaline. I would suggest trying a more acidic rinse by adding vinegar or stop bath to it.
     
  4. strangethan

    strangethan TPF Noob!

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    Hey thanks for the quick responses.

    Dave 442, I rinse in water after the hydroperoxide rinse the problem is actually too much contrast, if that makes any sense? The gradients just disappear.

    20170423_153930.jpg

    20170424_095056.jpg

    Before and after, to show the loss of range.
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Isn't hydrogen peroxide used to enhance the deep tones and contrast? I don't think it's absolutely necessary to use it, if the print has been washed properly after the exposure is completed in plain cool water. You can let it dry down for a few days and assess the color before you decide whether or not you want to alter or deepen it.

    And you are correct in thinking it could be just the exposure time. You definitely have a few variables to play with.
     
  6. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think you can always try a longer exposure. If your opaque areas are not receiving enough UV light then they will wash out. Are you using actual objects or a negative? I had always used objects and then sunlight to expose.
     

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