Photographs by Frank

5 September 2022

More Cuprotypes

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype — Frank @ 7:30 PM

I have spent some time since my last post (two weeks ago!) exploring/experimenting with cuprotypes. I have tried a number of negatives, a number of papers and even made a cuprotype on cloth.

I have decided that this alternative process has most of the characteristics of a good process for beginning alt process printers. Thus cuprotype offers an interesting alternative (to cyanotype*) in teaching this realm of photography.

The materials for cuprotype are inexpensive. It is easy to coat paper with the sensitizer and one can use a wide range of papers as they come from suppliers for cuprotype. Furthermore, the processing of exposed paper is relatively simple (although it is more complex that cyanotype).

All of the prints shown here are smallish prints such as I typically make. However, given the simplicity and inexpensiveness of the process, I have also made a couple of 11×14 inch cuprotypes**. These are the largest alternative process prints I have even made. Exciting!

Last Saturday, I showed these cuprotypes to my monthly print sharing group which meets at the Vermont Center for Photography (VCP) in Brattleboro. The folks at the VCP have twisted my arm and I’ll be teaching a workshop on cuprotype there this fall. This is in addition to the beginning Lightroom class that we already had in the works. The details of both of these events will be published on the VCP website when we get everything finalized. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess!

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Church, Monhegan Island (Cuprotype)
Church, Monhegan Island (Cuprotype)
Tip Top House, Mt Washington (Cuprotype)
Tip Top House, Mt Washington (Cuprotype)
Wood & Stone (Cuprotype)
Wood & Stone (Cuprotype)
Bellows Falls (Cuprotype, untoned)
Bellows Falls (Cuprotype, untoned)
Harvest Still Life (Cuprotype)
Harvest Still Life (Cuprotype)
Stone Curch, Antrim, NH (Cuprotype, untoned, on muslin)
Stone Curch, Antrim, NH (Cuprotype, untoned, on muslin)

* Cyanotype is the typical entry point into alternative process printing. Being iron based, it is inexpensive and the ‘mechanics’ of the process are fairly simple. Many folks never progress to the more complex and expensive processed which involve precious metals (silver, platinum, palladium). Cuprotype is much closer to cyanotype in its cost and complexity than it is to the other alternative processes. Lastly, Cuprotype with its red/brown tonality is a good adjunct to the blue of cyanotype.

** I don’t have a scanner larger enough for 11×14 inch prints, so folks will have to come for a visit to see them!

15 August 2022

Nothing Precious

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype — Tags: — Frank @ 9:00 PM

I spent Saturday experimenting with a newly rediscovered and modified process for making prints.

The Obernetter process, first described in the 1860s, uses iron and copper* to make brick-red images on paper. The pigment produced by this process is, most likely, Hatchett’s Brown (i.e. Cu(II) Ferrocyanide).

Several years ago, this process was updated by Jim Patterson (see: https://www.darkroomdoc.com/post/cuprotype).

A couple of weeks ago, Jan de Young posted on PhoTrio.com the results of an ‘out there’ experiment involving the reuse of used photographic fixer to make a print from a negative. Initially, I (and others) thought that Jan’s process was a variant of Van Dyke brown printing.

One thing lead to another and another fellow, Niranjan Patel (whom I have never met but that I feel I know well from his presence on various alt photo sites) posted to the altphoto email list, his take on these processes. Niranjan made the key discovery that silver (from the spent fixer) plays no role in this process and thus these images are not at all related to Van Dyke brown prints but rather are more accurately described as cuprotypes (i.e. copper-based images).

I won’t bore you with the technical details as I have posted them to the altphoto email discussion cited above. However, here are three examples on three different papers.

All three prints were made using the same chemistry. The reason for the different hues in final prints is unknown as yet. I’ll be trying a few more experiments in an attempt to understand these differences. However, given the vagaries of these alt processes we may never know.

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Cuprotype on Hahn. Platinum Rag paper (60 min exposure)
Cuprotype on Hahn. Platinum Rag paper (60 min exposure)
Cuprotype on Legion Lenox 100 paper (45 min. exposure)
Cuprotype on Legion Lenox 100 paper (45 min. exposure)
Cuprotype on Rives Heavyweight paper (45 min. exposure)
Cuprotype on Rives Heavyweight paper (45 min. exposure)

* Thus the title of this post… nothing precious as in no precious metals (e.g. silver, gold, platinum or palladium)!

2 August 2022

Unmatched Set

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Still Life,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 5:00 PM

It is tomato season and blueberry season at our house. We have tomatoes ranging in size from softballs to marbles and all sizes and colors in between. We also have blueberries… large, cultivated ones from the two bushes in our yard and small, wild ones picked on Pitcher Mountain. Additionally, the corn is in at the Tenney Farm.

Life is good!

28 July 2022

Mid-week Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I spent roughly four hours (2-6 PM) looking for odes (ode-ing?). The temperature was in the low 80s F and the skies mostly clear. I visited two sites, spending a bit less than two hours at each.

My first stop was the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Road in Antrim (a.k.a. part of the old boy/girl scout camp, depending on how long you have been around!). Here, I walked down the road to its low spot where the beaver pond outlet crosses the road.

I spotted my first odes when I got to the now rapidly regrowing log landing. There were several blue dashers, a few female common pondhawks and a couple of calico pennants present here. There was also a lone yellow dragonfly that cannot identify. (I know I have seen this species before, but it just isn’t coming to me know… a symptom of old age, I guess!)

In the stream just below where it crosses the road there were many (two or three dozen) ebony jewelwings of both sexes and a small number of variable dancers, including two pairs flying in tandem.

Across the road and along the shore of the large beaver pond, I observed a single male slatey skimmer and a couple of spreadwings.

My second stop was the Cilley Family Forest in Greenfield. (This land was once part of the Robertson farm. The Robertsons are Joan’s cousins.) Here, I walked down the road to the field by the river and then over to the railroad bridge across the Contoocook. In the field I observed a single blue dasher, couple of Halloween pennants and a couple of male widow skimmers. Over on the bank adjacent to the rail bridge, I saw a single female common pondhawk.

All-in-all, the total number of odes (except for the Ebony jewelwings) were low has seems to be generally true this summer. However, I did see a nice selection of different species while I was out.

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Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing ? (male)
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing ? (male)
Northern Spreadwing (male)
Northern Spreadwing (male)
ID Needed
ID Needed
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Halloween Pennant (imm. male or female)
Halloween Pennant (imm. male or female)
Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian
Widow Skimmer (imm. male)
Widow Skimmer (imm. male)

The first ten of these photos were made at the Harris Center property; the last four at the Cilley Family Forest.

24 July 2022

Turmeric Anthotypes – Another Batch

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Anthotype — Frank @ 10:15 AM

Hot, sunny, summer days… good for making anthotypes, not so good for the anthotypist.

This batch was made on Friday.

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22-july-2022-1
22-july-2022-1
22-july-2022-2
22-july-2022-2
22-july-2022-3
22-july-2022-3
22-july-2022-4
22-july-2022-4
22-july-2022-5
22-july-2022-5
22-july-2022-6
22-july-2022-6
22-july-2022-7
22-july-2022-7

Note: These were scanned with a new scanner. (The printer in our all-in-one device died and had to be replaced.). Thus, these scans are much redder than the originals. I’ll have to work to sort that out, but it is time to get yet another batch ‘cooking’ now!

18 July 2022

Four More Hand-colored Photos

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Hand-Coloring — Frank @ 6:00 PM

While yesterday’s anthotypes were ‘cooking’ I hand-colored four more prints using watercolors. The prints shown here* are all older images from my library. The images are four by five inches on five by seven inch paper.

The image of the door (which was originally made in January 2018) is unusual, in that I have no recollection of where this exposure was made. For the large majority of my ‘successful’ photographs, I have a pretty good, if not an exact, memory of where and when I made the exposure… but not this one!

Jane’s Barn, Too (from August 2015) is trivially easy to place. It is our next-door neighbors barn that I have photographed many times. I have included the ‘Too’ in its title because I used a very different view of this barn as my 2020 Winter Solstice print.

Flag and Shovel (from January 2020) is also easy for me to place as I have passed by this house in Deering many times. I also have a clear recollection of making the USA, VT (September 2016) exposure on a meander through the towns west of Brattleboro in southern Vermont, although I am not sure if I could find the exact spot without some effort.

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Old Door
Old Door
Jane's Barn, Too
Jane's Barn, Too
USA, VT
USA, VT
Flag & Shovel
Flag & Shovel

* In addition to the prints shown here, I also made a larger (six by seven-and-a-half on eight by ten paper) of “Flag & Shovel”.

Monday Anthotypes

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Anthotype — Frank @ 5:00 PM

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny. Thus, I was ‘busy’ making anthotypes.

I put ‘busy’ in quotes because making anthotypes is mostly about waiting if you have the paper already prepared. I spent about an hour first thing in the morning gathering and arranging material on various sheets of paper and placed everything out in the sun. The paprika anthotypes only take about an hour to expose but the turmeric anthotypes spent all day sitting outside.

In the early evening, I processed the prints. The images made with paprika get sprayed with an acrylic protective spray. The ones with turmeric get sprayed with 5% sodium carbonate (washing soda). In both cases these treatments are needed to slow the fading of the pigments that form the image.

I used a large chunk of the rest of the day to hand-color several more inkjet prints. More on that later.

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Paprika #1
Paprika #1
Paprika #2
Paprika #2
Turmeric #1
Turmeric #1
Turmeric #2
Turmeric #2
Turmeric #3
Turmeric #3
Turmeric #4
Turmeric #4
Turmeric #5
Turmeric #5
Turmeric #6
Turmeric #6
Turmeric #7
Turmeric #7

13 July 2022

Wednesday’s Work

This morning dawned bright and clear. After breakfast, I took a stroll about the yard, with scissors in hand, hunting for objects with which to make anthotypes. While the anthotypes were exposing, I worked on hand-coloring another print.

All of these images are small, made on 5×7 inch or smaller paper. The anthotypes are each made on a different paper. #3 is on Strathmore Vision drawing paper (fairly bright white). #4 is on the warm-toned Strathmore Series 400 drawing paper. #5 is on Unica Ivory, also warm but somewhere between the other two papers in tone. I am definitely liking warm-toned paper for paprika anthotypes.

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Paprika Anthotype #3
Paprika Anthotype #3
Paprika Anthotype #4
Paprika Anthotype #4
Paprika Anthotype #5
Paprika Anthotype #5
Beach Bar (hand-colored)
Beach Bar (hand-colored)

After lunch, with the skies partly to mostly sunny and the temperature right around 80 deg. F (i.e perfect weather for photographing odes) I headed out to do just that! My goal was the Ashuelot River in Surrey. This is a fast moving, rocky-bottomed smallish river; different from the usual ode habitats I frequent.

I spent just under two hours along the river upstream of the bridge (at the farthest upstream Army Corps of Engineers access site) and was amazed at the paucity of odes. I saw exactly six ebony jewelwings. I did not observe a single dragonfly!

On the way home I made two additional stops along the river on the road between Surrey and Gilsum with similar results… one additional ebony jewelwing.

My luck was only slightly better when I got back to Antrim. I stopped at the field adjacent to the Stone Church on Clinton Road and saw a couple of female Eastern Forktails and, finally two dragonflies. The dragonflies were both out over the small pond in this field and I did not get a good enough view of either to identify them. One of these individuals was making rapid circuits around the circumference of the pond. The other individual was ovipositing; i.e. repeatedly dipping the end of her abdomen into the water.

The lack of odes was quite surprising. Early yesterday evening a line of thunderstorms crossed the region; an inch of rain fell in well less than an hour accompanied by high winds. My guess is that odes do not survive well under these conditions. However, I do not have (and with a quick Google search did not find mention of) any evidence to support this idea.

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Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #2
Wildflower #2

12 July 2022

Paprika, Red Cabbage & Turmeric Anthotypes

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Anthotype — Frank @ 3:30 PM

About a year ago, I made a series of anthotypes* using an extract of turmeric (see: post 1, post 2, and post 3).

Turmeric is a commonly used material for making anthtotypes. However, in anticipation of the inaugural World Anthotype Day I have spent the past week or so experimenting with making anthotypes with less commonly used materials as the source of pigment. Specifically, I made images with both a water-based extract of red cabbage and an organic solvent-based extract of paprika.

With the red cabbage I am able to make both blue and pink (think of the colors associated with newborn babies) images. However, these images (not shown) are of low contrast as the starting colors are fairly pale.

Additionally, the exposures required are long… think multiple days in the sun. Having long stretches of bright sunny days is not typical New Hampshire weather even in July. So I am not sure how practical this process would be. Furthermore, I am not a particularly patient soul. Lastly, baby blue and baby pink are just not colors that I am particularly fond of.

Thus, I don’t think that I will be pursuing red cabbage anthotypes much further.

However, I have been getting very nice results using an orange-yellow pigment extracted from paprika with an organic solvent. For my first attempts I used rubbing alcohol (iso-propanol) which is the solvent of choice for making turmeric anthotypes. I was able to make images with very short (for anthotypes) exposures (e.g. an hour or less). The images were fairly low contrast as the initial extract was not particularly dark. The chemist in me thought that using a less polar solvent might give better results and thus I tried making an extract of paprika using mineral spirits**. This worked like a charm. The details of my procedure and the results of my experiments can be found in this pdf file.

Shown below are two successful paprika anthotypes (exposure time 45-60 min in full July sun) and two new turmeric anthotypes (exposure time 5-6 hours).

The first image is on a nice warm Strathmore Series 400 drawing paper. The remaining three images are on Strathmore Vision drawing paper.

The turmeric images were sprayed with 5% sodium carbonate (washing soda) in order to stabilize them and to increase the contrast. The paprika images were sprayed with an acrylic fixative in order to stabilize them.

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Paprika Anthotype #1
Paprika Anthotype #1
Paprika Anthotype #2
Paprika Anthotype #2
Turmeric Anthotype #1
Turmeric Anthotype #1
Turmeric Anthotype #2
Turmeric Anthotype #2

* Anthotypes are images made using plant-derived pigments. One makes an extract of some colored plant part (often petals from a flower) and coats paper with the extract. When the paper is dry, one places objects (or, less commonly, a positive transparency) on the paper and then places a piece of glass atop the objects. This “sandwich” is the placed in a sunny spot and left for a period of time… certainly hours and often days. The sunlight fades the pigment and one is left which an image formed by the shadow of the objects you placed on the paper.

** Mineral spirits are easily available at the hardware store as they are used for thinning and cleaning up when using oil-based paints.

10 July 2022

Hand-colored Photos (Monhegan I. Series)

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Hand-Coloring — Frank @ 11:45 AM

I haven’t made any new exposures in the two weeks since we got back from Monhegan. However, I have been busy photographically speaking.

In anticipation of World Anthotype Day, I have been experimenting with making anthotypes again. I have made a couple of nice photograms using turmeric. Additionally, I am experimenting with other pigments for anthotype. Currently, I am exposing prints using an extract from red cabbage. I am also testing an extract from paprika. All except the turmeric are very experimental. I’ll report here if I have any success.

Additionally, I have been using watercolor paints to hand color a few of the photos from Monhegan.

While on Monhegan, I met Corlis Carroll, an artist who specializes in hand painted photographs. Corlis does not have a website, but here is an article about her. My previous hand-coloring work used colored pencils blended with a mixture of turpentine and vegetable oil. Inspired by Corlis, I have been experimenting with watercolor.

The first two images shown below are inkjet prints on Hahnemuhle Biblio paper*. They are about as large as I make for hand-coloring (6×7.5 inches and 6.5 inches square, respectively; both on an 8×10 inch sheet). The third print is on Strathmore Hot Press watercolor paper and is 4×5 inches on a 5×7 inch sheet.

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Door (Port Clyde, ME) (Hand Colored)
Door (Port Clyde, ME) (Hand Colored)
Monhegan Detail #3 (Hand Colored)
Monhegan Detail #3 (Hand Colored)
Monhegan Detail #4 (Hand Colored)
Monhegan Detail #4 (Hand Colored)

* I really like hand-coloring prints made on Biblio, which has a wonderful ‘feel’ about it. However, I am getting a bit of buckling (which is evident in the scans) of the paper with watercolors. Biblio is a thin-ish printmaking paper so it is not intended to ‘see’ much water. I am hoping that the buckles can be removed/minimized by pressing the prints for awhile.

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