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Bright future for hybrid alt-process

September 4, 2007

I’ve been watching my list of “neat photo techniques to try” get longer and longer. And since I got my copy of Mark Nelson’s book (Precision Digital Negatives) I decided it was time to play.

So, after reading a little of his book (and re-reading some things in Dan Burkholder’s book Making Digital Negatives, I decided to ignore most of the advice in both and just fiddle.

Why ignore? Well, because I don’t use Photoshop and I don’t have one of the nice Epson (>1800) printers. I’m using The Gimp and a craptacular HP all-in-one right now. I did break down and buy a package of Pictorio OHP film though. But just to stay on the “crappy and cheap” side I also played with the generic printer paper and some inexpensive inkjet Vellum paper.

To start, I selected a print I had made from a 120 negative. I can’t scan 120 negatives so I needed to start with the print. Here is the original print:
Hula Bike - Ilford MGIV w/ selenium toning

It looks like I could get the plain old printer paper to work but the exposure times were getting up there for a cyanotype. It would probably take at least an hour in strong sunlight, maybe more. After 30 minutes on the UV box I had an image form but lost most of it during the wash. Scratch that idea for the time being…

The vellum worked a bit better. Also did a little fooling around in The Gimp to make a color mask that looks a bit like the stain on Pyro negatives. Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t. Since I was just fiddling, I don’t have a second print for comparison. But the result was reasonable.
Hula Bike - cyanotype from enlarged negative on cheap Vellum. A loss of definition in the highlights and the texture of the vellum paper is showing. Neither issue is a killer and the negative could probably be tweaked a bit more to get a more appropriate density range.

And finally, I cracked open the package of Pictorio OHP. That stuff is fantastic! The print wasn’t dry enough last night but even just shotgunning the process, it made a very nice negative!

So next step is to finish reading Mark’s book then start the testing process for Cyanotype and salt prints!

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