Sandwich News

The intersection of sandwiches, technology & photography

Raspberry Anthotypes


Raspberry anthotype print, 3 days exposure

I've been paging through the excellent Book of Alternative Photographic Processes by Christopher James.

Anthotypes caught my eye as something fun and easy to try. It's an early process that uses flower or plant material (the name is from the greek anthos meaning flower).

If you've ever noticed paint or fabric washed out from spending a long time in the sun, that's basically the process!

There's a good step-by-step set of directions with photos on the Alternative Photography website, but basically:

  • mash up some flowers, plants, or fruits to produce a liquid.
    • optionally add alcohol to help with extraction, or vinegar (supposedly darkens?).
    • optionally strain out seeds, etc.
  • coat some watercolor paper with the liquid and let it dry
  • place something on the paper to block the sun where you want the image to appear
    • the color of the paper will be the darkest area of the print
    • anything uncovered will be lightened by the sun
      • unlike a 'typical' process, you want a positive image, not a negative
    • you can use cutouts, plants, etc. or print a black and white image on a transparency
    • a clip photo frame will help keep everything in place
  • put it in the sun, and wait!


Raspberry anthotype prints, in progress

Exposure times seem to vary greatly depending on the plant material used.

For my prints, I used raspberry with some alcohol and put them out in the sun for 3 full days. They probably could have used another day or two, but I got impatient.


Raspberry anthotype print

As far as I know, there's no known way to fix the images (make them permanent). Over time and with more UV exposure the images will eventually fade.

Anthotypes are a very old process (1842), but they never became that popular because of the long exposure times and image impermanence - there's still a lot to explore!

It's a really fun, easy, safe and environmentally friendly photographic process. I'd definitely recommend giving it a try!

I'm looking forward to trying it more with other plants. Blackberries and spinach look like they produce good results with reasonable exposure times. Onion skin looks really fantastic, but seems to take a month or more (I'm not sure I have the patience required).


Lumen prints


Lumen print, fennel

As part of this year's PCNW Longshot event this past weekend, Gina White and others were leading analog printing activities with Cyanotypes and Lumen prints.

Jill Enfield has a good overview of the process , including some really interesting examples.

Basically, it's just putting photo printing paper out in the sun. These prints should not be developed (they will just turn black), but can be fixed. The fixing will wash out a lot of the color, but make the print stable. Gold toning seems to work well.


Lumen print, garden flower

Different paper will produce different results, and you can use old/expired or even fogged paper or film.

The prints here I made were all done on Ilford Warmtone paper. Note that it's just ordinary black and white photo paper, but it gets really vibrant colors when left in the sun. These prints were gold toned, and no fixer was used.


Lumen prints in progress

Online I've found people recommend 20-60 minutes for fiber paper. Gina recommended much longer times, 5-6 hours. The color did seem to become more vibrant as time went on.

I did get impatient and my prints were only exposed for 3 hours. I'd like to experiment more on time.


Lumen print in progress

Moisture (from the plant) seems to play a big part in the color shifts.

Some of the detail from these I find pretty interesting, there's almost a 3D feeling. I'm not sure how much is a result of the toning vs. the print.


flower detail


fennel detail

I'm not that crazy about the prints I made, but it was fun and easy. I'd definitely like to try them again and see if I can get better results.

Give it a shot if you haven't already! All you need is some old photo paper!


Hand Coated Photography

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to take a workshop on some historical photo processes at pcnw.

You can check out a few of my scans on flickr.

We covered both Cyanotypes and Van Dyke.

For both of these processes you apply the chemicals necessary for photosensitivity by hand on paper.

I already like making photo prints by hand, and I think this lends even more to that process. As a 'modern' photographer, I hate to admit that I like even the visible brush marks, but I really do!

Cyanotypes

The cyanotype process is especially interesting to me. This was originally used for reproducing drawings, and is how blueprints got their names (they were cyanotypes).

There are also some incredible early images by Anna Atkins published in 1843 using cyanotypes for images of seaweed and algae.

Yes, the chemicals are toxic, but seemingly less-so than almost any other photo process?

The 'developer' is just plain water...

You don't even really need a darkroom for this process, just no UV light. And to develop, you can use the sun (though it may be unpredictable).

Exposures take a long time (20 minutes), but, that's par for the course here.

Once you coat the images, it's pretty smooth sailing.

Van Dyke

I honestly like the look of this process more than cyanotypes... But, it feels a little heavier. It requires a real fix, and thus an archival wash... It's more like making a silver print.

Future work

Even though I think my cyanotypes weren't especially successful, I feel like it is a process I really enjoyed and would like to explore more. The strong blues don't work everywhere (although you can modify the tone a bit with other bleaching/toning processes.)

Look for more here or on my photo site on that subject :).


Pushing bytes is expensive

In this post I'll be comparing cloud hosting costs, which I'm sure will be hopelessly out of date in just a few months.

I'm writing this post to try to solicit feedback on cheaper file transfer options. If you have any advice or feedback, I'd love to hear about it!

Maybe it should have been obvious, but I've been somewhat surprised at the high cost of transfer vs. storage when you start talking 10s of terabytes.

For example, storing 10TB of data in S3: $302.60, transferring 10TB of data out of S3: $921.51.

I've also been (pleasantly) surprised at how aggressive the AWS/CloudFront (CDN) pricing is -- at $0.085/GB (US only), it appears to be the cheapest way to get data out of AWS. It's cheaper than both S3 directly ($0.09) and even cheaper than serving directly from an EC2 instance (also $0.09). This is kind of amazing considering all the benefits of the CF service vs. doing it yourself, or even S3.

I've been working out the details for a SaaS app that doesn't use a lot of storage, but has the potential to have a lot of subscribers. So, it will use say 200MB of storage, but need to serve that data potentially 50,000 times each month. The S3 costs are neglible, a few cents, but even the cheapeast CF tier (US only), we are talking $870.40/month.

I love the CloudFront feature set and service and will continue to use it where it makes sense.

For this app, I will have a hard time being competitive with other apps in this space with those costs, so I've been looking for cheaper solutions. Below is a list of what I've compiled. I'm not considering any "free tiers" for the comparison. These are great for development/etc., but I think not relevant in an ongoing cost comparison.

ProviderTransfer Cost/GB
AWS/CloudFront (US)$0.085
AWS/S3 (us-east)$0.09
AWS/EC2$0.09
Google Cloud Storage$0.12
BackBlaze/B2$0.05

Other Options

CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a pretty full featured CDN that actually even offers a "free" tier.

I signed up for a "pro" account to test it out. The problem is that even for the pro and business levels, there's absolutely no record provided of file access. That requires an Enterprise/Custom plan, where the pricing is determined by the sales team. I haven't yet made a call to a sales rep to determine what final pricing would be for my use case.

The other tricky thing here is that I still need to separately maintain and pay for an origin, the costs of which are entirely determined by how effectively CloudFlare can cache my content. What I mean is, if I put CloudFlare in front of CloudFront, and I'm only getting 50% hit rate from CloudFlare, I'm still paying for $435/month from CloudFront on top of what I'm paying from CloudFlare (that's a lot of CFs).

Digital Ocean

From what I can tell, they don't offer a straight cloud storage solution, but their "Most Popular" plan features 3TB of data transfer included for $20/month.

This works out to $0.00666/GB. Of course, I would like some basic redudency, so, say two machines and a load balancer, works out to about $0.01/GB/month? (($20*3)/6000), which is by far the cheapest I've seen.

Of course, there's quite a bit more there to build and manage.

Reserved/Custom CloudFront pricing

The CloudFront pricing page does mention that you can reach out for reserved pricing if you commit to 10TB/month for a year.

Requirements

  • Must be within the provider's ToS to support file distribution
    • In searching for options, I've seen a few "Unlimited" or "Unmetered" options, but if you look at the fine print, they're not meant for file storage/distribution, and that's not allowed.
  • Reasonable file serving redundancy
    • I'd like to avoid a single machine for file serving. I'll probably use S3 as the "source of truth", but I want to avoid downtime in file serving.
  • Access logs available
    • I need to be able to compile basic download stats on files served (apache style logs or similar).

Please Send Feedback/Suggestions!

Again, I'm looking for feedback and suggestions for a cheap, reliable file hosting provider.

Thanks!


Pike Place Market

I just finished my final project for Black and White Photo II at PCNW.

I chose to focus on Pike Place Market here in Seattle.

I spent quite a bit of time there! It was really great to get to know the space, people, and community so well.

The project was a ton of work, and I still feel like I could have used another month printing and editing. While I feel like I will continue to work on and develop this project, I'm really happy at where it ended up and was proud to present these images to the rest of my class.

These were all shot on an older Rolleicord, Kodak TMax 400 film, and printed on Ilford Warmtone Glossy paper.

Pike Place Market


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