Monday, January 7, 2019

Art I'm Making: My Second First Cyanotype

A few weeks back, I posted here my "first cyanotype." Being new to this process, I was pleased with an image that had faults that I was willing to overlook in the excitement of getting a moderately successful image. Here, I post what I think I will be able to look back on as my real first cyanotype in the sense that this one actually looks the way I envisioned it from the outset.

I've been working to create a curve that works for me. However, this image worked a little by accident, I believe. That is, I think the curve I'm using now just happens to work well with this particular image. Using the same curve on other images and on a test target has been disappointing. I'm still have trouble getting a range of tones at the highlight end of things.

For the moment, though, I'll take what I can get. This is repeatable because I have the successful negative, but my work will continue until I get a curve that works more generally.

For those who like technical details, this is a print using the traditional cyanotype formula on Arches Platine, double coated, exposed for 15 minutes under an artificial UV light source. Developed in water with one tbsp of vinegar per quart for one minute under constant, vigorous agitation (which seems to be the key to keeping the highlights from getting stained) and then for 30 seconds in water with one tbsp of hydrogen peroxide added per quart of water. Washed ten minutes. The bird is a Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus), photographed in Santa Rosa, California (digital capture, negative made on Pictorico transparency film). The Great-tailed Grackle is a comparatively unusual bird here, but it is becoming more common as it appears to be extending its range into our area of Northern California from its traditional range, mostly in the southwestern and south-central US and Mexico.

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