Photography Walk

"Botanical Cyanotype Sun Prints"
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography

  • Thursday, August 25, 2022 – 9:30 am12:30 pm

Cyanotype is a simple photographic printing process that creates an archival blue and white print. The cyanotype process was invented in the 1840s and is easy and inexpensive to do at home.

Cyanotype photo

In this beginner class, we'll use plant clippings from the Arboretum garden, or items you bring from home, to make cyanotype photograms aka sun prints.

Mary Louise will explain how to make botanical "photograms"—direct contact prints of plants placed on sensitized cotton material and then exposed to sunlight. The developed print is then rinsed in a water bath and then left to dry. The final print will have a blue background and no color where the plant touched the material or left a shadow on the material. This process is a great way to celebrate the different shapes of plants.

No camera needed for this process!

The chemicals involved include ferric ammonium citrate, potassium ferricyanide, and hydrogen peroxide. They are safe to use, but care should always be taken to avoid ingestion, inhalation and contact with skin.

Items to Bring

Please bring the following items:

  • Two trays or flat plastic container at least 3" deep and big enough to easily hold an 8.5" × 11" sheet with space all around
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves (like for dishwashing)
  • (Optional) Objects to use in your print—must fit on 8.5" × 11" sheet
  • Notepaper and pencil/pen

Mary Louise Ravese

About Mary Louise Ravese

Mary Louise Ravese specializes in fine art nature and travel photography from locations across the world. Her photographs are in private, university, and corporate collections in over 40 states and are exhibited nationally. She is the owner and principle photographer for Bella Vista Photography, and has a resident artist studio at 311 Gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mary Louise is a regular speaker and competition judge for photography clubs in multiple states. She is an experienced photography instructor who has trained hundreds of amateur photographers. She enjoys teaching on a wide range of topics related to nature, travel, and creative photography, and can help with both the technical and aesthetic aspects of picture making. Mary Louise leads classes and workshops at a variety of locations across the United States and abroad. For more information visit her Web site at

Suitable for ages 14+.
$65.00 members, $75.00 nonmembers (includes $25.00 materials (includes one frame and materials to create two 8.5" × 11" cotton fabric prints) fee).
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store. Registration is limited to 8 participants and is considered complete when payment is received. Registration will close at the end of day on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks prior to the program's start date. No refunds will be made after this time. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please write for more information about this program.