Photographs by Frank

27 January 2023

Alt Print Exchange

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype — Frank @ 11:30 PM

Several weeks ago I agreed to participate in an alternative process print exchange that was organized on one of the on-line fora I frequent.

A print exchange in its simplest form, means that a group of people agree to send a print to each of the folks who participate. In this case nine folks (including myself) enrolled; eight of us are from the US and one from The Netherlands.

I spent a full day on Wednesday printing cuprotypes for this exchange. Yesterday, I trimmed the prints, signed them and packaged them. This morning I took the envelopes to the post office.

The ‘rules’ of the print exchange require one to send a single print. However, being an overachiever (Ha!) I decided to send three prints*… one photo each from the three northern New England states, each toned differently.

I chose to send cuprotypes as this process is not commonly used even among experienced alt process printers. Thus, I figured I could do a little evangelizing for this interesting, inexpensive and relatively simple process.

Stalwart readers will recognize all of these photographs and may even remember seeing them as cuprotypes in the past. I make no apologies for the repetition. They should be ‘new’ to the members of the print exchange

The Bellows Falls image and the Tiptop House image are older exposures (from January 2012 and September 2013, respectively) that I knew looked good printed in the red-brown of cuprotype.

The Tiptop House print was supposed to end up a chocolate brown tone rather than the red-brown of the untoned print. Obviously this toning method did not quite work as planned. I’m not sure why but I have a hypothesis. I won’t bother describing all of the technical details and glitches here.

The Burnt Head image is from our trip to Monhegan Island this past June. I was hoping that it would look good in the more neutral tone of a cuprotype treated with an iron-based toner.

* Really, I was having trouble on narrowing down the choices!!!!

6 January 2023

Three New Salted-paper Prints

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Landscapes,Salted-paper Prints — Frank @ 6:30 PM

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in my basement dim room. After my recent flirtation with cuprotype*, I have returned to making prints on salted-paper. I made three useful prints.

The three exposures shown here were made in December. The first is another view of Mount Monadnock and Silver Lake from Leadmine Road in Nelson. (I am still working to get the ‘perfect’ exposure of this scene, but this one is pretty good.)

The second exposure is an example of the adage which circulates among landscape photographers… i.e. “Remember to look behind you.” The rock outcropping in this photo was off to the right near the camera when I made the first exposure.

I have probably made as many exposures of the outcropping as I have the grand view of the lake and mountain. However, the light on the out cropping is really only nice in the morning. Whereas, I think one can make nice photos of the grand view in either morning or evening light.

The third print is of a new (to me!) barn in Harrisville. One my way home from a previous trip to Nelson, I followed another landscape photographer’s adage… i.e. “Turn down any dirt road you come across.” Many times these are just roads through the woods with nothing of particular photographic interest. Sometimes, though, you find interesting barns!

The first print is my standard ‘large’ size (a 6×7 .5 inch image on 8×10 inch paper). The other two are 4×5 inch images on 6×7.5 inch paper; my standard small print.

All these prints were made on Legion Revere Platinum paper. This paper is specifically made for alt process printing and is somewhat less expensive than the Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag I usually use**. So far, I am liking this paper a lot except for the shipping***.

The odd paper size for small prints comes from the way I cut up large sheets of paper. It is my habit to buy paper in large sheets; 22×30 inch sheets are a common size. This allows me the most flexibility in sheet size for various project. However, my standard way to cut up the large sheets yields six 8×10 inch sheets and four 6×7.5 inch sheets from a 22×30 inch sheet with zero waste.

Enough technical talk! Here are the prints:

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* I’m tempted to return to cuprotype in the near future. There have been some interesting developments in the ferricyanide toning step yielding cleaner highlights. I also want to perfect cuprotype on cloth.

** The Revere Platinum is about sixty percent the cost of the Platinum Rag. Otherwise the two papers are quite comparable. They are both heavy (300/310 gsm) smooth, bright white and contain no carbonate buffers. The last feature is important for most alt process printing. When one uses papers not specially made for alt process printing you need to pre-treat papers to remove the carbonate present in most watercolor or printmaking papers. This is not difficult but it adds an additional step to the process.

*** I buy most of my paper from a small company (Acuity Papers) that sells only art paper. When I say ‘small’, I mean ‘small’. As far as I know the company consists of two brothers. Anyway, these folks really know how to package large sheets of paper so that they are not damaged in shipping. However, they do not stock the Revere Platinum.

Thus, I ordered the Revere Platinum from B&H Photo, a large, well-known photography/camera store in New York City. B&H is a great company to buy from. However, they clearly know very little about safely shipping large sheets of fragile paper.

For the first shipment, the package of 22×30 inch sheets was rolled up and stuffed into a nine inch square (by roughly 40 inch long) box. The entire stack of paper was crimped as it was carelessly rolled up. Furthermore, the plastic wrapper was torn and tattered. B&H, to their credit, were very easy to deal with and issued a RMA including a prepaid shipping label quickly. Of course I had to wait for them to receive the return and resend another package. They took my complaint to heart and shipped the second package of paper flat. I’ll spare you the details (which included FedEx misdirecting the package) but it arrived in barely acceptable condition. I am hoping to convince Acuity to stock then Revere Platinum by the time I need more!

21 December 2022

2022 Winter Solstice Print

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time are probably familiar with my ‘Winter Solstice Print” tradition; if you are not I refer you to this post, where there are some details.

This year’s print (the tenth) is a cuprotype, titled “Two Pears”.

In late August, Joan picked the remaining pears from the tree in our yard because the local squirrels were decimating the crop. I had been experimenting with cuprotype since early August. Watching these pears on the kitchen counter for several weeks, I decided that a photograph of the pears was an apt subject for the warm tones of cuprotype and went to work. The exposure was made on 13 September 2022 in my basement studio.

This scan does not do justice to the originals which do not have the ‘grain’ seen here. However, I seem to have neglected to save a print for myself and thus can not make a better scan!!!

10 November 2022

Two New Cuprotypes

It has been three weeks since my last post. I figured that I ought to post something… anything. So here goes!!!

November is often a slow month for me photographically. The landscape is dreary gray and brown. The odes are done for the season. However, I have made exposures on four days since my last post. I just hadn’t found time to write here.

One of the ‘distractions’ has been some more cuprotype experiments. However, a couple of days ago, I decided that it is time to stop doing experiments and, instead, to make some ‘art’.

Yesterday evening I printed two negatives using exposures I made about a week ago. This morning I printed these negatives as cuprotypes. My intent was to tone both prints with the iron (II/III) toner that yields an interesting blue-black print. However, I decided that I liked the cemetery gate image as the native brick-red. Thus, I did not tone this print further. One need to be flexible when making art!

These images are both 6×7.5 inches on 8×10 inch paper. The gravestones are on Legion Lenox 100 paper and the gate is on Rives Heavyweight paper.

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27 September 2022

Two New Cuprotypes / Teaching Announcements

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:05 PM

I have not had much time for photography over the past several weeks. We have been doing major maintenance (replacing flooring and other carpentry projects) at our cabin on Gregg Lake. These days, I am not much good for anything else, including photography, after five or six hours of hard physical labor.

I did, however, steal a few hours on Sunday and Monday evenings to make some cuprotypes. I coated paper on Sunday and made the exposures yesterday.

The pear image is the first image I conceived as a cuprotype from before I triggered the shutter. The scan doesn’t do the actual object justice, which is not as grainy as seen here.

The Antrim Grange is the oldest building in town. It is currently sites at the foot of Meetinghouse Hill. It was originally built (in 1785) as the town’s first meetinghouse at the top of Meetinghouse Hill and moved to its current location when the Grange purchased the building in 1894. The building is currently undergoing some much needed maintenance.

On a different note, I have agreed to teach a two-day workshop on cuprotype at the Vermont Center for Photography (VCP) in November, details here. Additionally, I will also be teaching a class titled “Lightroom for Beginners” at the VCP (three weekly sessions) at the end of November and early December, again details here.

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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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* 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:

A couple of weeks ago, Jan de Young posted on 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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* Thus the title of this post… nothing precious as in no precious metals (e.g. silver, gold, platinum or palladium)!

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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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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* 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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