Workshop fun

Tea toned Cyanotype, from the series "Doors of the Dead"


I’m excited – despite our lack of advertising, I had my first Cyanotype Workshop on Saturday.  It went surprisingly well, although I think I’ll have to restrict the class size in the future to less than we initially decided.  I simply do not have enough trays to handle more than 5-6 students at a time. 

My student for the workshop (yes, I only had one) had done cyanotypes before, but with film or ortho film only.  The whole digital process was completely new to her.  She told me that she’s planning to get back into alt processing again, but decided that she needed to incorporate the digital aspect because that seems to be the way things are going. 

I’m flattered!  Before buying a printer, a digital camera, or anything else, she signed up for my workshop as sort of a primer.  I ended up with multiple papers in an attempt to get her film negatives to work since we didn’t have a digital negative to work with – double coated Canson works great with 4×5 film negatives or ortho film by the way.  I was very happy with the way her prints turned out – and I think she was too.   Surprisingly, the exposures ran about 4-5 minutes in the full sun – almost exactly what my digital negatives have been doing this month.  (that means my digital negatives have pretty much the same density as film. yay!)

I have to come up with a better way to explain the digital negative process – I bumbled my way through the mildly complicated process and I hope I didn’t confuse matters too much.  It’s not exactly easy to explain the concept of curves – much less describe how to understand the step chart information and use it to make your own curve. 

In many ways, I’m glad that I had to hand make my own photoshop curves instead of plugging the numbers into Chartthrob.  I got to work out the concept for myself rather than have a program figure it out for me.  If push came to shove, I could do it all over again.  Explaining it – that’s slightly different.  Especially when you’re conversationally challenged like I seem to be in a pressure situation. 

Here’s hoping that this is the start of many more workshops – I certainly had fun with it. 

Image Details: 8×10 cyanotype image from a digital negative.  Double coat Canson Montval watercolor paper (300gsm.)


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