failed cyanotype

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by earthmanbuck, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. earthmanbuck

    earthmanbuck TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've had a pack of that "Sunography" cyanotype paper for forever, and yesterday I thought I'd give it a shot for the first time. I converted one of my digital pics to B&W, inverted, and played with the colours a bit until I thought it looked alright, then printed it out on a transparency sheet. I took it outside and taped the transparency over the sheet (both on top of a hardcover book for stability) and left it out for 15 minutes—the first 10 of that was a bit overcast; the last 5 the sun was out and shining bright. I poured water on it and left it to dry...and the picture never really appeared.

    The transparency image:
    IMGP1141.jpg

    Front (in the bottom right corner you can see what might be the dark part of the buildings, but that's it):
    FullSizeRender.jpg

    Back (which was not printed on):
    FullSizeRender 2.jpg

    Does anyone know where I most likely went wrong so I can do better on the next run? I figure I just used too much water to finish it, but it may also have been a factor that the transparency didn't have enough contrast, or that parts of the transparency were a bit looser over the paper (because I didn't put glass on top to keep it even). I'm also a little curious about why the back came out the way it did, given that it got no sun until I finished it—shouldn't that have made it uniform?


     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  2. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    491
    Location:
    L.A.
    How long did you rinse it?
    Or, did you just pour some water on it?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    13,671
    Likes Received:
    7,147
    Location:
    Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Did you print on the dull side of transparency?

    Did you set it up in a dark room with safe light?

    The image should be ink side down, directly flat, and point directly into sun, or the proper angle towards it is better said. I use a frame.

    5 minutes direct sun. The paper can start exposing even in ambient light. It works best to have it all set up in darkroom with safelight, I then put it into developing changing bag, figure out where sun is, then get it, take outside, remove from bag and angle it at sun directly for 5 minutes . Then I drop it in a pan of distilled water for a few minutes or until the yellowish tone is gone. I then have another pan of water (1/2 cup with a cap full hydrogen peroxide to final expose. Let dry.

    I use the cyanotype chemicals and not the paper so not sure about that.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,268
    Likes Received:
    1,823
    Location:
    US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've used the pretreated paper and found one in particular took way longer exposure time than the package said it should. I don't remember offhand if I used the brand you mentioned. I also found that an exposure that's too long can cause the image to darken then lighten again so you 'lose' the image.

    I think the transparency is too light. As you said there seems to be a slight image in the lower right, and that's the only 'black' black that I see on the negative. (That's what I learned in darkroom work, to look for a 'black' black and a 'white' white somewhere in the image, and this seems almost all gray tones.) So yeah, I think it's the lack of contrast or it being too light overall.

    I think too it probably needed to be under glass; I've bought kits that include the paper and a small piece of plexiglass. I've used a frame sometimes too, although I've mostly used objects that weigh down the paper and don't need the extra weight of plexiglass to hold them down against the paper and totally block the light.

    I've had the paper look like that on the back sometimes too, but I think it was maybe the thickness or density of the paper and how saturated it got rinsing it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. earthmanbuck

    earthmanbuck TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for the replies and tips, everyone!

    The instructions said something like "rinse with water until the water runs clear", so that's what I tried to do. I had a water bottle and poured it on slowly, but to my eyes it was coming off clear right from the get-go, so I just kept pouring the whole bottle.

    No idea about the side of the transparency...my printer has a hard time taking the sheets in, so I just kinda flip and jostle the sheet until it grabs it. It would have had the printed side up though (i.e., not touching the cyanotype sheet). I didn't set it up in a darkroom either, but I left the paper in the sealed bag until I was ready to go and had it all set up in probably about 5 seconds. The sun wasn't directly above, but it was early afternoon, so it was still pretty high and not at too much of an angle. When I finished it, I took the transparency off and flipped the sheet over while I got the bottle ready, then started pouring.
     
  6. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,268
    Likes Received:
    1,823
    Location:
    US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Looking at the package, I have used that brand, but don't remember if the exposure time varied or not from the directions. The paper I remember needing a longer exposure was more coarse/heavy.

    Do some tests. Try cutting a piece of the paper into halves, or 1/4ths (to not waste paper) and plunk an object onto one or two; do a 5 min. exposure in the sun and take off the object and see if the paper underneath is white - it should be, unless you use something porous that lets UV light thru it and it turns light blue. Then give it a brief rinse.

    If you didn't get anything, try another scrap of paper and a longer exposure; I was reading something where the person did 7-8 min. Probably it will vary if it's bright sun or cloudy/overcast.

    If a negative or transparency is thin (light) it might be harder to get a good print from it. Put the transparency under plexiglass to press it against the paper. Do some tests with small pieces of paper under part of the transparency til you get exposure times figured out.

    edit - I don't know if you've had the paper for some time if the light sensitivity could have changed or not. Might as well keep trying it since you already have it but maybe you'll have to get a fresh pack.
     
  7. earthmanbuck

    earthmanbuck TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    Yeah, I've had the paper for a few years now (probably close to 4 or 5), but just opened the package right before trying that one sheet out. When I had it under the sun, the colour of the paper did get lighter, so I do think there is some life left in it. The smaller test piece idea is a good one—thanks.
     

Share This Page