Nicole Small | One on One

Cyanotype – A Digital Negative Excercise

I wanted to bring up the subject of the Digital Negative with the Cyanotype process once again.

I have learned throughout my trials to be watchful of highlights in a given image that I have inverted into a digital negative before finalizing and printing. Here is a perfect example of what I mean:



This was my original digital negative conversion.

Keep in mind, in case this may not be understood, all the dark areas will turn out white and all the lighter areas will turn out blue. The tonal range of each will depend on how light or dark they appear on the digital negative.

As you can see, the hand and face areas are quite dark, meaning during exposure they will possibly blow out very quickly.

In a case like this, special attention has to be taken when exposing the print and dodging this area might be something to consider in order to minimize the amount of blow out and/or to help preserve some detail.





Here is the original digital negative and Cyanotype print made from it placed side by side:



As you can see, detail in the hand is almost all gone and the face area is slightly over-exposed. The comparison of both helps keep in mind of how important it is to have a balanced tonal range throughout and what to look for so it can be corrected before finalizing and printing.


Going a step further, I decide to make some corrections to the original digital negative. I somewhat exaggerated on the corrections for it to be visually obvious. Here they both are side by side:




Results of Cyanotype prints made from the original and corrected digital negative:



This is in no way a successful Cyanotype print but an exercise that I wanted to share which came from my own failures when I did not fully understand how to see a digital negative with the Cyanotype process.

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