“Old But…”


20140322_5267cyanoportfolioprintweb…new also. I just finished printing this, and it will probably be the last one for my Suwannee River  portfolio. [I know I posted the image, but not this print before.] Having done a bunch of this stuff now, I thought I would summarize some of the technical aspects of my Cyanotype printing. The foundation to my work is of course the digital negative. I have used two different methods of printing them. One is the Color Table method Dan Burkholder describes in his book. Since in digital years, this method is old, it is the more ‘primitive’ one. However, although I did not use it this time around, I think it is a very fine method, and pretty straightforward. For me, it yielded negatives that printed about three times faster under sun exposure, than the ones I am making now, using the Advanced Black & White setting on my Epson R3000 printer. Theoretically those negatives should yield better prints since they are done at the 16 bit setting, and result in a much denser and more detailed digital negative. However, I cannot honestly say that I am seeing it. For chemistry I use the Photographers’ Formulary 07-0091 Liquid Cyanotype Printing Kit. It is working great for me. A few years ago I tried it and was not able to get decent prints, basically they would wash out immediately, no matter what I did. When I switched back to some of the old chemistry I had mixed myself, everything was fine. When I ran out of that and tried the pre-mixed stuff, it worked. I never was able to figure that one out. Paper is the other very important component of this process for me. After trying all sorts of brands, I have settled on Canson Montval, both the 90 lb and 140 lb, cp. I use the lighter stuff for making books, and the heavier paper for portfolio prints. – Developing the prints is of course done in plain tap water. For a while I used white vinegar, to get the prints looking punchy right away, but now I am back to plain tap water, adding a shot of Hydrogen Peroxide about half way through the wash to oxidize the print so it looks like it would after a few days of exposure to the air, but this way I can see right-away what I have got.

I think the tap water plays a vital role in all this. I am fortunate in that we had salt water intrusion in our aquifer [ya, great!!!!], and now our water goes through a reverse osmosis process before it comes out of the tap. I have also found that the Canson paper leaches very little chemistry when it is washed/developed. However, I have noticed that if I dry the paper overnight it does better than if I just give it a couple of hours of drying time.

[Thanks to my friend Captain Diana for inviting  me to come along on one of her adventure tours!]

About christian harkness

Photographer and printmaker; living and working in north Florida.
This entry was posted in art, black & white, book, cyanotype, digital, digital negative, Florida, folio, Made with Paper, photography, Southern Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Old But…”

  1. Great look….almost like a Conte crayon drawing

    • Thank you Roger. That is one of the things I like about digital negatives – there are a lot of different ways one can make prints ‘look’ with them. I have just begun to explore that. With this particular print I did a ‘straight’ conversion from digital color to b&w though.

  2. Dave says:

    Love the action and the wind in her hair

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