Monday, September 10, 2007

Vandyke Prints

I'm doing Vandykes this week - test charts early in the week, at least a couple of prints later in the week so I can update the alternative process page. You'll see those and the tea toned cyanotypes are the only ones without the current masking scheme (allowing for a good place to put the signature and easy matting). It's funny - I can already tell it's going to go better than in the past. The Vandyke process has always been a bit random for me and I think a lot of that has to do with humidity, not being totally consistent about drying prints, that sort of thing. I also have a nicer technique in terms of how I do the rinsing and so forth. I'd often get some pretty nice prints but if I made two from the same negative the variation was much higher than any other process, and so far at least this doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Fingers crossed!

After that I need to make a bunch of cyanotypes and I'll tea tone a couple of them. It pretty much takes all day and it's stinky so I don't do it very often, but it is interesting to do now and again. At that point everything on that page will be updated and I'll have prints to list for a while which is nice.

At that the next thing to attack is cyanotype over platinum. They're really pretty when they work well but it introduces all kinds of new issues. Basically you're taking an image, separating out two negatives and printing one as cyanotype and one as platinum right on top of each other. There's all kinds of schemes in terms of the details, but that's the idea. They have kind of a silver-blue look that's very cool. But it also introduces lots of issues I usually don't have to worry about, like registering one print on top of another (which is extra tricky if the paper doesn't return to the same size after it's set). If I can get it to work expect these to be expensive - it's kind of like buying one of each kind of print, except that the keeper rate's going to be much lower, especially at first, so it's probably going to cost as much as, say, two platinum prints. But if the initial results are really bad I'll probably focus on something else for a bit - there's several directions I could go and sometimes with this stuff it makes sense to go work on another problem/process for a bit and then come back.

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