alternative photography

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by valleyrider, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. How many of you dabble in alternative photo processes? I have done a few platino/Palladio type photos but due to cost of those I love to produce cyanotypes and some van dyke browns, cheaper easy way to great a great one of kind photo that isn't seen every day. The ballerina and the moon photo is a Palladio type I did, iPad photo of it looks terrible but you get the idea of it, and the blue one is a cyanotype I produced..
     

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  2. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    Look cool. I use to do a lot of it when I was at school. Not sure where they all are now... Boxes somewhere.
     
  3. Very cool!

    Could you outline, or point to a place that describes the Cyanotype process?
     
  4. Ok, makes a little more sense. Somewhat similar to the process of creating an image on photo sensitive emulsion for screen printing.

    Specifically on your cyanotype, how did you enlarge the image? I'm assuming you used a negative, or did you have something larger than a 35mm negative? I'd imagine you would get a very small image by sandwiching a 35mm negative directly on the paper. If you are doing a picture like that, I guess you need a positive transparent film type medium.
     
  5. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    you use a negative, usually a 4x5 or 10x8, and then contact print them under glass in sunlight.
     
  6. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    All mine are in storage, but here is one from my photograph collection done in the 1800's.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. I used pictorico transparency paper to print a digital negative then a contact print frame and a uv light box for a more controlled exposure. The cyanotype was an 8 minute exposure and the palladium was a 14 minute exposure. Once you get a print frame cyanotypes are pretty easy to make and their fun since no two will ever look the same, which can get frustrating at times though.
     
  8. Ah, ok thats what I kind of thought. In my printing classes, we printed a digital positive onto clear film to burn the screen, but thats because you want to wash out the dark areas. We had full UV vacuum exposure frames for making screens and plates. Did you get a UV light, or are you using some other light source?
     
  9. a few uv tubes built into a box about 6 inches above the print frame is what I use, Its much easier to print with somewhat controlled light than to use the sun for printing out. A nice advantage of cyanotypes is that it is a printing out process so you can check your image as it develops, over print it a little so it almost looks solarized then when in the wash it will turn out close to perfect.
     
  10. I've done some cyanotypes, and I've also monkeyed around with SX-70 manipulation and Polaroid transfers. I also have a whole bunch of toy cameras (Dianas, Holgas, etc.) that I've taken some cool pix with.
     
  11. It's very refreshing to see photographers talking about photography, rather than the latest Adobe plug-in. I'm trying very hard to do as little as possible to my images post-capture, albiet from a digital camera. A few months ago it was "How much contrast and sharpening can I get away with?" but now it's "How little contrast and sharpening do I actually need?"
    I also find with black and white, digital manipilation is far smoother and have set up 2 custom Picture Controls to try to produce a smooth, "unprocessed" template.
    I'm interested in using film, but am very put off by the cost/hassle of printing and also by my certainty that I'd get 1 usable image from 3 rolls of film.
     
  12. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    Haha. Welcome to photography in the 20th century. That is what we all had to deal with. My advice, if you want to dip your toe into learning film, is start by just processing your B&W negs, and then scanning them. Use as little photoshop as possible, and limit it to what a photographer in the darkroom could do. (Dodge, burn, dust bust, contrast and crop)

    When I worked for museums doing PS "image interpretation", that is often all you were allowed to do. Although you could use all the tricks in the book to improve the old shots, you are not allowed to do more than was capable back in the day in which the picture was shot.

    A good thing.
     
  13. I've been reading a bit online. Although Ken Rockwell's work isn't what I myself want to produce, I think a lot of his advice is very sound and I've changed back to JPEG and am determined to spend no time trying to rescue an image unless it's of huge significance (think "Dalai Lama comes to tea"). I've also decided I don't want anything to do with PS. Maybe in time I'll come round to it, but I'm beginning to recognise it in photos I used to ooh and aah over. I assume you yourself, Legion, are adept and tasteful enought to avail yourself of it's strengths without destroying the uniquenss of that shuttersnap, but I really think I should concentrate more on photographing at the moment. There's a new thread on another pforum by a professional photographer and there are several extremely effusive comments following his posting of images which I think are NOT photography, but CGI.
    Have you read Chris Week's "A Purist's Guide to Street Photography"? I found it online the other day and to be honest, was a bit let-down by the actual quality of his shots, given how prosetylitic he is. OK, one or two of them were really very good, but after living your life around this medium for years, I've have expected better.
    It's definitely the one genre that really gets my juices going. (as evinced in my thread of today)
     
  14. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    My advice is to go to the library (or the Internet.... Every time I type something I feel old) and start reseaching "classic photographers and photographs." People like Bresson, Brassai, Adams, Arbus... And even the people later in the alphabet who did things without computers.

    Just look and study. See what makes the images work. Teachers used to make us write long essays to make us think, but it is all there. Just spend lots of time looking at this stuff. It will click or it won't.
     
  15. Sounds good. I was thinking about building a small UV setup to expose screens for making prints anyways.
     
  16. I enjoy shooting infrared. I have a modified Nikon D200 and in the past had a modified D100 and prior to that a Coolpix w/ an IR filter. Here's a couple of examples:

    $horse field 32 web.jpg $JLF BelairMansion gate web.jpg $Annapolis cemetery 3890.jpg
     
  17. Cool shots. I really like the look of infrared photography.
     
  18. Just the other day I was looking at my few photos and started cropping like mad. It kind of hit me, with a flash
    "A photograph is a one-liner, a haiku".
    You have about 0.5s to grab the attention. There's just no way to get any more information into that tiny space, so everything must pertain to the "theme" of the image.
    Is that thinking along the right lines?
     
  19. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    That is one way to look at it, sure. I guess a good photo should do two things. First it should get the views attention, attract the eye, if you will. And then it should hold that attention for at least a moment by provoking an emotional response. And by emotional I don't necessarily mean "aww, thats sad/happy", but effects their feelings enough in some way that they take the time to have a bit of a think about it. Most people wont even be able to articulate what they like about a certain image, it is just a gut thing. Its the old "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."

    That can be done in a million different ways, of course.
     

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