Practical Photography

If you simply desire to get a picture from your negative in the easiest and quickest way, without going through the necessary processes which are involved in toning, you can use cyanotype paper, which requires but one process for the completion of the picture and that process simply a bath in clean water.

Prints made upon this cyanotype paper have a beautiful blue tone, and are so simple and easily made that they are very popular. This cyanotype paper is sold in any desired quantity and size, and it is never worth while for the amateur to prepare his own paper, as it is a tedious and uncertain process.

When you are sure the negative is thoroughly dry, place it in the printing frame with the film side uppermost, and upon it lay a sheet of the cyanotype paper cut the right size, with the prepared side next to the film of the negative.

The frame should then be put where the sun’s rays will fall upon the glass, and allowed to remain there till the cyanotype paper has turned to a dull bronze in the shadows.

It will be necessary to look at the print from time to time to see when this point is reached. If the paper is not allowed to print long enough, the result will be that the picture will wash off the paper when it is put in water.

When you think it is done, place it in running water, or in several changes of water, and wash it thoroughly. It should be washed till the water that drips from it is no longer discolored, but is perfectly clear. The picture then should stand out in blue tones on a clear white ground.

If you prefer to use the ready sensitized paper, there is a preliminary process through which the paper must pass before you print it. This process is called “fuming,” and consists in exposing the paper to the fumes of ammonia for a short time.

A fuming-box is needful, but one can easily be constructed, without the expense of purchasing this convenience. Take a wooden box about two feet cube, and, with hinges, make a door of the cover. Close all the cracks with strips of cloth so that the box will be both light and air tight, and fasten corresponding strips around the edges of the door so that no light will make its way in there.

Stretch two or three strings across the box near the top, on which to hang the paper that is to be fumed, and put a small flat dish in the bottom of the box.

When you are ready to fume your paper, pin two sheets together, back to back, and hang them on one of the strings. Several sheets can be fumed at once in this manner. Fill the dish with ammonia, and closing the door tightly, let the paper absorb the fumes for fifteen or twenty minutes.