Vandyke Brown

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Prints At A Show

Posted by on 23 Nov 2009 | Tagged as: Cyanotype, Vandyke Brown

Recently I had a display of theatre photographs from 30 years (1979-2009) – basically photos taken on b&w and color negative film (and some digital shots) and shown as inkjet prints at a gallery. In the show there were a few prints that I made with alternative techniques, namely some pigmented Vandyke browns and a cyanotype.

The set of the three pictures below is from The Bourgeois Gentleman by Molière.

Monsieur Jourdain, a bourgeois. Pigment toned Vandyke brown print on COT320 paper.

Madame Jourdain, his wife. Pigment toned Vandyke brown print on COT320 paper.

The Music Master. Pigment toned Vandyke brown print on COT320 paper.

The picture below is a cyanotype print – originally made for the poster for The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter.

The Birthday Party. Cyanotype on Guarro paper.

More Trees In Vandyke Brown

Posted by on 26 Jul 2009 | Tagged as: Vandyke Brown

Sun printing Vandyke Brown can be such a great fun – gotta show these two more… 🙂

But so much for trees (my favorite subject, you guessed that!), we will be showing something else next time.

Actually, the project Vedos is going to have a small summer break now, and also attend the APIS symposium in Santa Fe, USA.

Jalo Porkkala: Ficus Macrophylla, pigment toned Vandyke brown print.

Jalo Porkkala: The Poplar Road, pigment toned Vandyke brown print.

More Sun Printed Vandykes

Posted by on 24 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: Vandyke Brown

Two more vandyke prints from the Trees series. Printed again with sun on top of inkjet toning prints.

Jalo Porkkala: The Brännbäck Pine Tree, pigment toned Vandyke brown print.

Jalo Porkkala: Saarineva Forest, pigment toned Vandyke brown print.

Pigment Toned Vandyke

Posted by on 20 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: Vandyke Brown

We finally had a sunny day, and I promptly used it for Vandyke printing (but it’s raining again when I’m writing this 🙁 ). I had already made some inkjet negatives and underlying toning prints, so I was ready to go whenever exposing with sunlight would seem possible. I wanted to try printing at home, where I don’t have a darkroom or UV exposure equipment, so I need to use sunlight and simple basic techniques.

Here is the image that I wanted to print in vandyke (left) – it has been cropped, and minor adjustments made. Next I desaturated it, discarding the colors.

After curving the image (with a pre-constructed correction curve) I inverted it to negative and flipped horizontally. After filling it with green UV blockin color (R96-G229-B0) I printed it on transparency film. I also made a colorized version of the image (right). This I printed, as the underlying “toning” image, on the paper to be sensitized with VDB.

My goal here was to achieve a final print with a split tone effect, with warm shadows and cool highlights. My chemistry is the standard VDB chem, with the recommended workflow – details can be seen e.g. at

Jalo Porkkala: The Ahlstrom Oak, pigment toned Vandyke brown print.

Pigment Toned Vandyke Brown

I put online a small video of making this print, you can view it on YouTube.

Summertime Browns

Posted by on 16 Jun 2009 | Tagged as: Vandyke Brown

I thought I’d try Vandyke Brown (VDB) printing with the sunlight as a minor summer project. My first (quite easy-going) tests with digital negs proved that the UV blocking color from the previous vandyke sessions (R:255, G:15, B:15, see the post from 20 Dec 2007), using a metal halide lamp, will pass some UV light through the densest areas of the negative, thus leaving no paper white, that we want as the lightest tone of our print. So I had to do some new tests, and this time I came to choose a green hue (96-229-0).

Finding the best UV blocking colors on darker red, yellow and green portions of the color chart, printed with an Epson Stylus Pro 3800. The selection of the most suitable colors form a heart-shaped pattern on the right.

I also looked for my standard print exposure that would always be the same. Naturally the printing times in the sun will vary according to daily UV levels. My exposure meter will be a Stouffer 21 step wedge, exposed on a VDB test strip. I expose the material until I can barely see the step #12 differing from paper white. After the wet process the print will darken, normally up to step #16 with my chemistry and paper.

Thought I’d also try toning VDB to different colors. The customary way of toning silver images (which a processed VDB basically is) is with noble metals (gold, platinum, palladium), before fixing the print. But this time I will try to make Epson printer inks produce the colors. The idea is to print the “toning print” with the inkjet, and then the vandyke print on top of that. I am using Epson UltraChrome K3 inks that are both durable and waterproof. I imagine the advantage over the traditional method is the possibility of using wider range of colors, and easily generating split tone and multicolor effects.

Two toning test prints from an Epson 3800. The images are blurred with Photoshop’s Gaussian Blur filter to make registering the Vandyke negatives easier.

VDB test prints from a colorized (green) negative on top of the toning prints above. The goal here was to get a view of a “cold tone” and “warm tone” Vandyke prints.

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