Cyanotypes VII: More Toning

February 07, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

This cyanotype session was mostly to gain more experience as see what worked and what did not. There are two themes directly continuing from the last episode. I continued with the castle theme and with both straight blueprints as well as bleached and tea toned cyanotypes.

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I also stuck with the rough texture of the Shizen Design Cold Press Watercolor Paper. For me, there's something oddly satisfying in the rendering of that paper. Capturing the photos on film sent me down the retro path, then I printed them as cyanotypes, another step down that path, so why not add a paper with texture so rough that details almost disappear and it all becomes more about the overall form, shape, and the interaction of light and dark.

Helfštýn Castle Tower and Walls CyanotypeHelfštýn Castle Tower and WallsCyanotype

Helfštýn Castle Tower and Walls Cyanotype, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Shizen Design textured surface cold pressed recycled watercolor paper

For the first photo, we did not even leave Helfštýn, the castle we entered last time around. This time, the focus was on the castle walls and the watch tower in one of the corners. The lighting set up was quite different for this photo and I wanted to see how it would come out as a cyanotype. Dark clouds and a rainstorm rolled over and then sunshine lit the castle brightly up while the sky remained an ominous dark. Definitely a different look but I like how it worked out.

Despite the many recommendations I read not to use white tea but green instead, I am a white tea fan so far. Unlike what the internet says I find 4 tea bags per 500ml working perfectly fine, darks become dark enough, and white tea barely stains the paper. I also like the colder tones compared to the browns of green tea. For now, I will continue experimenting with both as I bought a monster pack of green tea bags too. For drinking, I prefer loose tea so green tea toned cyanotypes it is until the box runs out.

Helfštýn Castle Tower and Walls, White Tea Toned CyanotypeHelfštýn Castle Tower and WallsWhite Tea Toned Cyanotype

Helfštýn Castle Tower and Walls, White Tea Toned Cyanotype, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Shizen Design textured surface cold pressed recycled watercolor paper

And now it is time to leave Moravia and travel over to Bohemia not far from the capital of Prague. There's one of the most picturesque castles in the whole of Czech Republic and Europe for that matter too. It's name is Karlštějn and it overlooks a namesake village. It was named after one of the greatest Czech Kings, Karel IV (Charles IV), who was very successful and also became a Holy Roman Emperor. The Karlštejn Castle was founded in 1348

Karlštejn Castle Tower and Walls CyanotypeKarlštejn Castle Tower and Walls Cyanotype

Karlštejn Castle Tower and Walls Cyanotype, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Shizen Design textured surface cold pressed recycled watercolor paper

I was really happy with how this particular photograph turned out as a cyanotype. It fit the process and the rough paper texture very well and so far remains one of my most favorite cyanotype creations. It will be hard to top. Seeing how well it worked as a blueprint there was just one other thing to try. You guessed it. How would it look toned in white tea?

Karlštejn Castle Tower and Walls, White Tea Toned CyanotypeKarlštejn Castle Tower and WallsWhite Tea Toned Cyanotype

Karlštejn Castle Tower and Walls, White Tea Toned Cyanotype, An Original Hand-Made 5" x 7" Cyanotype
Chemically printed on a hand-coated Shizen Design textured surface cold pressed recycled watercolor paper

That session proved to be another success. Which one do you like better? I'd love to hear from you. Please, feel free to use the comments function.

And a final thought before I sign out. A few posts back I wondered whether one could pre-treat a large batch of paper with the cyanotype chemicals and then use them as needed. Now the answer is shaping up for me. Yes, it can be done and it works fine as long as the paper is in a dark and dry place. But I would not recommend that. I like my results best when I use the treated paper within 48 hours. Otherwise, the chemicals turn yellowish and even processed cyanotypes then retain this yellow cast, which I do not like. A rinse in vinegar sometimes helps clear it out a little but it lingers. Bleaching for toning seems to take care of it so that can be one strategy if you leave your paper around too long.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Previous posts in the Cyanotypes series: 1. First Cyanotype - 2. More Cyanotypes - 3. Highlands Cyanotypes - 4. How do Cyanotypes Happen? - 5. Cyanotypes V: Tweaking the Curve - 6. Cyanotypes VI: Toning - 7. Cyanotypes VII: More Toning

If you like cyanotypes you can explore the Cyanotypes Photo Gallery dedicated to my growing collection of them. Would you like to browse through traditional darkroom wet prints? Visit my Darkroom Photo Gallery and enjoy! Do not hesitate to contact me whether you would like to learn more or would like to purchase one of my prints.

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Helfštýn Archway Cyanotype - Blue, an original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from the Czech Republic.Helfštýn ArchwayCyanotype Blueprint Helfštýn Archway Cyanotype Toned in Black Tea, an original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from the Czech Republic.Helfštýn ArchwayBlack Tea Toned Cyanotype Helfštýn Archway Cyanotype Toned in Red Wine & White Tea, an original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from the Czech Republic.Helfštýn ArchwayRed Wine & White Tea Toned Cyanotype

An old house by a train station. An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from Eureka Springs, Arkansas.Old HouseCyanotype House of Memories Cyanotype, An original hand-made 5" x 7" cyanotype print from the Czech Republic.House of MemoriesCyanotype


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