|The original under glass in the sun.
I love digital photography. Really, I do. You just can’t beat the flexibility you get with digital photography and the ability to edit on the fly saves so much time. I worry about us deleting photos in-camera and losing some of those out-takes, but that’s a conversation for a different time.
There are times, though, when I miss my black and white darkroom. I miss the smell of the fixer and the red light and literally getting lost in the process of printing images. It seemed like I could go in the darkroom in the morning and emerge exhausted eight hours later. Now, I can still spend hours tweaking photographs, but I do it sitting with my computer in my lap and it just isn’t the same.
Every once in a while though, I realize I need that creative fix (no pun intended), camera or not. That’s when I go full-on old-school. Cyanotype is called blueprint printing and it’s the oldest non-silver photographic printing technique. And the coolest part, once you’ve prepared the paper, all it takes is sunlight and water. To prepare the paper, you need a solution of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate that you just can’t buy off the shelf, but the concoction is available from specialty photography places.
|The print developing in a tray of water.
This is often referred to as sun printing. I keep some treated paper around and every once-in-a-while I pull out a few sheets and see what I can find in the yard or the house. Big flowers don’t really work…they end up looking like blobs on the paper. But items with fine details work great. I also like to print with crystals or glass to catch the way the sun reflects onto the paper. The great thing about this process and technique is you can preserve the nature you see around you, capture patterns and discover details you might have never seen before.
That’s probably enough of a break for one day. Time to get back to work.
|The final image.