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Blueprint Photography

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cmpalmer, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    I was reading the Make blog (http://www.makezine.com/blog/ and I ran across a link to a site about using blueprint paper as photo paper. You can either cut the paper down and use it in an old large format camera, or (more appropriate for this group, probably) print a digital image as a negative on transparency film and then make contract prints by putting the paper and transparency in the sun or under another source of bright UV light. The paper has an effective ASA of about 0.001, so it requires really long exposures in a camera (4 to 8 hours) :shock:

    The effect is a very grainy, "artsy" monochrome blue paper print. The paper can be handled under a safe light (the author says that an amber bug light is good enough -- the paper is mostly sensitive to UV and blue light) and is processed by putting it in a bucket with a cup of ammonia in the bottom, then covering the bucket and let the ammonia fumes chemically process the print.

    I thought it was a very off-the-wall way to make prints. It's going to be a nice sunny weekend here in Alabama. I might just see who in town carries blueprint paper and give it a try.

    Here is a sample:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And here is the website with instructions and links to other sites about the same process (and a company that makes a paint-on emulsion for making black and white prints onto anything -- wood, rock, glass, metal, etc. -- for those of you who might have a B&W darkroom setup).

  2. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    I was doing some stuff like that many years ago. Good luck finding Diazo process paper, the old ammonia printers are all but gone, which is a good thing for our lungs. Whew, were they nasty!
    You can also use the film, same coating, just on a mylar backing. Makes interesting sepias. Biggest problem is they fade very fast when exposed to light, especially flourescent and sunlight, so they really aren't for display. Can't imagine what the paper costs these days, I stopped using it 5 years ago and it was doubling in price every 3-4 months....
  3. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    The Diazo paper is about $30 for 250 sheets mail order. Some of the people seemed to have OK results with keeping them under UV coated glass, but it seemed to me more like a fun experiment than something for permanent display. As far a permanence goes, you can rescan the results but the ironic thing is that you could do the same effect in Photoshop, but it's sometimes more fun to manipulate atoms rather than bits...

    I have a web page with a design for an easy-to-build electric motor for science fairs, if I can find a cheap source for the paper, I might put up a page on how to make the blueprint prints as a science fair experiment on how (non-digital) photography works. http://fly.hiwaay.net/~palmer/motor.html
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