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Cyanotype Toning

Roger Ellway told us about this technique that recalls images from the earliest times in photography. That is the 1840s and Anna Atkins. Two examples of her photography are shown here from her book British Algae. This was the
very first photography book in the world predating Fox Talbot’s book The Pencil of Nature.

Anna Atkins Algae 

The process she used is very simple requiring mixing two chemicals and brushing this mixture on to paper. Then allowing this to dry in a dark place. Finally placing an object on the paper and putting into the light for 15 minutes,
Finally washing the cyanotype in plain water for a permanent image. Archival images were a problem in the early days.

The technique is as follows;

1. Open a suitable photograph such as an old building like a church.

Cath 1

2. Make sure it is adjusted so that it looks right. Use Levels Adjustment Layer.

3. Convert to Black and White by using the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer.

Cath BW

4. Using the method on page 99 or see HERE

5. Roger suggests to get the cyan colour is use a Hue & Saturation Adjustment Layer. Using this control tick the Colorize box. This makes the image coloured probably a sort of sepia..

6. Slide the Hue to 205 and the saturation to 50.

7. Now take the Saturation to zero and wait for your eyes to adjust to true black and white.

8. Ease the Saturation back up until you get the effect you require; for Cyanotype try 28.

9. Flatten and save as a jpeg.

Cath Cyan

10. Homework. Try this idea with other types of pictures such as woodland scenes. Also a cyanotype can be made directly using the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. This means that you do not need the H & S layer. Please try and find a way to do this. The Help file actually helps.

This idea has great potential.

To page 68