Would You Like a Spot of Tea?

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with cyanotypes for about the past year, and I thought I would give a new technique a try.  I recently did some kallitypes, and though I love the finished result, with my tiny apartment and somewhat limited resources, I wanted to try some things that would give me a similar look, but with less chemistry.  So I began researching, and found tons of things about toned cyanotypes, and decided to give it a try.  As you can probably tell from my previous cyanotype post, I kind of had this in mind when making my last prints, and decided to make a few extra.

I started with the two above prints, and put them in a solution of mostly water, and a little bleach.  Bleach was probably the least suggested bleaching agent that I read about, since many said it would eat away at the fibers of the paper, but it’s what I had handy.  I would say my mix was about 95% water, and about 5% bleach, which in retrospect was a little light on the bleach.  However, I’d rather babysit my prints and add a little more bleach later than destroy them.

So after a long time babysitting, and adding more bleach, I finally got the prints to a tone which I was satisfied with; just a little bit of the blue left from the original cyanotype, and mostly yellow left for the rest of the emulsion.  Though it took a while, the plus side was that the quality/durability of the watercolor paper that I used didn’t suffer as a result.  After my researching, I found that different types of tea would have different effects on the bleached emulsion.  I decided to go with a mixture of mostly black tea (about 5 bags), and a little green tea (about 4 bags).  The black tea was said to make the prints take on a tone of brown/black, while the green tea was to add a tone of violet, so I thought the two would make an interesting mix.  After boiling some water and steeping the tea, I added my newly bleached prints to the warm bath.

So again with the babysitting, which I think I may have overdone a little this time.  I wanted to keep some of the highlights closer to white, but they pretty much took on the tea tone.  The emulsion, however, took on a great tone of a dark brown/black, with a little bit of the cyan, or perhaps the violet from the green tea, peeking through.  I’m happy with the results for my first go round, but I’m going to make some more prints and try it again.  Maybe no bleaching/less bleaching, or maybe another soaking bath to change it to a different tone.  Guess you’ll just have to wait and see!  Let me know what you think of the two final results!

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Week 8: Long Exposure

I’ve been looking forward to this week!  Long exposures are something I have dabbled with in the past, but by no means would I say I’m proficient in it. I’ve captured some successful images, like my week 1 photos for instance, but I’ve also failed miserably.  This past summer I dragged my poor cousin out to the beach in the middle of the night to try to capture some night/astro pics of this old WWII watch tower in Bethany Beach, Delaware, and just ended up with a bunch of black images and a sore hand from holding the shutter button down for about a total of an hour. I’ve since then invested in a cable release (yay!), and I hope to give astrophotography another try.  I remember how excited I was when I first got my camera that I would be able to take pictures of the stars, but haven’t been able to get them yet. Hopefully the weather participates through this weekend so I can give it another go. If not, I have some more ideas up my sleeves.  I also enjoy the play on lights with long exposures. Check out some images I snapped a two summers ago on my film camera. Glad these turned out — it’s always so nerve-racking waiting to develop my film when I’ve done experiment-ie things!  I don’t know what it is with the beach and long exposures, but these were all taken at Bethany Beach, DE, and the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD.  Seems like when I get left alone at the beach, I get all nostalgic, and start looking for places which remind me of childhood to take pictures of.  I think it worked out well.  I’m glad it was a busy night for both locations, as I really enjoy all the people and objects becoming blurred over the long exposures.  Enjoy!

A Cold, Red, Surprise

Ok, so I slacked a little, well a lot, on the red project for last week.  I was thinking something along the lines of a Valentine’s day theme, but that really didn’t interest me.  Then….a great idea struck….but I don’t have the resources to do it!  I need a model, which is always tough to come by, particularly for this type of picture.  I also would want to sculp something ceramic, but don’t really know where to go for that, since it’s been a million years since I’ve worked with clay.  I’ll be working on it, but who knows when I’ll get a chance to do it, so maybe you’ll all get a “red” surprise some time later this year when I get a chance to do it!

So as a back up, since I ditched the v-day idea, was going to be to take pictures of some berries on this tree outside of my apartment.  I’ve photographed them before, but they’re just so cute, and perfect for the red theme.  Here are a few of the old pics.

It’s just the start of spring, and I think that’s why I like them so much!  So, again, with out my camera handy the other day, I headed out for class (when am I going to learn my lesson?).  I noticed a ton of these berries on the ground, and could hear birds chirping like crazy.  As I walked down the stairs I noticed that the trees were filled with robins.  So I pulled out my phone and tried to catch a few quick pics during their berry feeding frenzy.  They’re not the best pictures in the world, since they were after all taken with my phone, but you get the idea!  It was a nice surprise to see all these birds fluttering around, and I’m sure they were happy to find a good meal amidst all of the snowy weather we’ve been having lately.  Oh, and just to mention, all of the berries are gone now!  I guess they were hungry 🙂

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Brrrrr!!!  As it snows for the millionth time this year, I thought I’d get out there and take some pics, especially since I’ve noticed too many perfect little snowflakes over the last month…..and didn’t have my camera handy.  As another “winter storm warning” pops up on my phone, I’m counting the days until summer, but at least it’s pretty to look at!  I’m going to try to thaw out now, so enjoy 🙂

Week 7: Red

Red.  It’s the color of love and passion.  The color of blood.  it’s vibrant, bold, attention grabbing, and so many more things.  It’s also the color that’s the focus of this week’s photo challenge.  I have some cute and playful ideas in mind, and assuming that this color was selected for the most recent holiday, Valentine’s day, I’m going to keep it in theme with that…sort of.  So I’m going to have fun with this week, and take the added time I’ll have to focus on the business side of this week’s challenge: marketing brainstorm.  I think I’ll take the approach of finishing up on a previous week’s project, in reaching out to vendors and galleries.  I sent a few emails before, and to be real, it wasn’t as much as I could have done.  So I’m really going to get out there, see what events are coming up, and apply!  So wish me luck, and in the meanwhile, enjoy a couple of “red” images that I’ve taken in the past!

Hiding Your View

I know I know, I’m a little late in posting for the week, sorry!  Anyways, in working on this “hidden from view” theme, I thought I would take this opportunity to finish up a “self-portrait” project that I begun working on a few months ago.  For me, I think using a self-portrait is appropriate for a hidden theme;  I really don’t like taking self portraits, or “selfies”, so when I do, they’re usually of a weird view, or only include a portion of my face.  So to take it a bit deeper, much like when I meet people, it takes some time for me to really let my personality shine through and allow new people in.  Not quite sure why I do it, but it can make for some pretty awkward social interactions at times, admittedly, and I’m working on not worrying about it so much.  Sometimes it can be great to be the introvert, sit back, and observe people — people truly do divulge a plethora of information about themselves without even thinking about it, and I like being able to pick up on those small things.  I suppose that I can be rather transparent once I start talking about ideas, thoughts, passions, and so on, so I want to make sure that I can trust the person that I’m sharing things with, instead of just volunteering everything there is to know about me right off the bat.  I’m pretty complicated, to say the least, but not in a bad way.  I’ve been told that there are a lot of different aspects to my personality that I don’t make known at first glance, and I don’t think keeping it that way is a bad thing.  So there you have it; a partial view of me, and just a little more of my hidden insight.

Week 6: Hidden From View

Well, I have a bit of a dilemma this week.  I took an image recently, and that’s all I can think of when look at a “hidden” theme.  It’s like…a more naturalistic interpretation of “Where’s Waldo”.  Here, you can see what I’m talking about.

So, now that’s I’ve done this picture, especially so recently, I’m at a loss.  I think my problem is that in doing these weekly challenges, I may be taking things a little too literal.  I think I did an ok job last week in getting away from the exact literal interpretation of a mirrored image, and that may have to be the same type of approach that I take with this week’s challenge.  Well, guess I better get to the drawing board, and get thinking of some ideas!