World Cyanotype Day

This Saturday is the inaugural World Cyanotype Day.

Cyano 1

Cyanotype is a simple printing process, originally developed to copy engineering drawings (blueprints) that also made its way into the photography world.

You can find out a bit more about Cyanotype from Wiki.

It is possible, and by the looks of things fairly easy, to produce a Cyanotype print at home using two basic chemicals; ammonium iron(III) citrate and potassium ferricyanide, and there are a couple of links below that have instructions.

If you choose to follow either of them, please please please observe all the safety precautions including gloves and glasses.—super-easy-photo-prints-at-home./

Process Overview

  1. Mix two chemicals to create photo sensitive solution of ‘sensitizer’.
  2. Brush, smear, or soak the sensitizer into cotton-based watercolor paper.
  3. Create a negative image on a transperency with a laser/inkjet printer or copy machine.
  4. Place the negative over the dried, sensitized paper.
  5. Expose to UV light.
  6. Wash the image in water to develop.
  7. Hang to dry, and enjoy!

Cyano 2

Personally, this isn’t something I’ve tried by traditional means, although I have produced a few faux Cyanotypes in Photoshop. The process is pretty simple;

  • Convert your image to monochrome using Image>Adjustments>Desaturate or applying a Black and White Layer or Converting to Black and White in CameraRaw.
  • Add a new layer and fill with blue by going to Edit>Fill and choosing Colour – you can try different shades to see which you like but something like “4e8aef” is a good start.
  • Finally, change the blend mode of this new layer to Linear Dodge (Add). Adjust the opacity of the layer to reduce the impact of the effect to a level that you like.

I do like the blue tones and abstract/ artistic nature of the process so I’m going to take a few more digital shots this weekend and give them a cyanotype treatment in honour of #WWCD2015.

I’m also going to see how easy it is to get the chemicals and see if I can produce something tangible too!


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