Monday, February 25, 2008

Today I practiced cutting a mask to dodge a very specific area of a print. In this picture of the Koin Tower taken from a parking lot across the street I have a large vertical area in shadow with the bottom right corner, right side and upper right in bright sunlight. I wanted to see if I could produce a print that would reveal more of the detail of the shaded area using what I learned yesterday in the Master Darkroom Workshop. I used a piece of posterboard white on one side and black on the other as recommended by the instructor. Placing the white side up I traced out inside the line of the shaded area making the mask just slightly smaller then the area to be dodged. I cut this shape out and will hold it over the less dense area of the negative so it will not be overexposed and allow the more dense areas of the negative to get the optimum exposure. I determined by making a test print that the exposure for the denser area of the negative to be 24 seconds at f16 using a number 2 contrast filter. The less dense or shadow area required half of that for the tone I wanted so I dodged it for 12 seconds using the mask. As recommended once I put a piece of photographic paper in the easel I covered the paper with a spare sheet of poster board and did a practice run of the dodging moves before I exposed the paper. The practice helped give me a feel for what I was doing before I risked a sheet of paper. This will be a good technique to take my printing to a higher level. I feel it did what I wanted it to do in the print but I'd hardly call the dodging "seamless" I can see a darker border around the outside of the dodged areas but this is a skill that will take time to develop. Craft takes time.

What I learned in the Darkroom Master Class yesterday. Here are two of the prints I made yesterday in this workshop. It was a good day. The top print being an attempt to improve the lower work print by balancing the left side with the right side by improving shadow details with dodging. There were only three of us including the instructor. Three old darkroom dinosaurs. The students observed the Master making a print from the evaluation of the negative, test print, work print and then the process of making a fine print. Saw a demonstration of cutting a mask for specific dodging, selective burning in, split filtering and then bleaching to improve some highlights. In between we discussed photography, aesthetics, music, movies, broke for lunch and then came back to work on prints of our own with some guidance. A good day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Running in to old friends. Last week I was pleasantly surprised to get an e-mail from an old friend of mine that I hadn't seen or heard from in probably 5 years. Our friendship goes back 40 years. We share a lot of common history as well as a dark sense of humor that is illustrated in this photograph I took of him back in the early 70's.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lone Fir Last Fall. I don't care as much for shooting color film as I do black and white. The process of taking a picture, having to rely on a lab to have the film developed and printed leaves me detached from the photographic process. I do get to manipulate the image digitally since I have a cd made but digital photography leaves me cold. I feel no visceral connection to the image the way I do when I shoot a roll of black and white film that I can work with in my darkroom. I feel more like I own my black and white images and the color work belongs to the camera. I just don't get the appeal of the digital darkroom of photoshop. Speaking of real darkroom work the Darkroom Master class at Newspace appears to be happening though it was postponed from Saturday to Sunday. I was told to bring some fiber paper and a negative to work with. I've said before that I don't care for the communal darkroom at Newspace. It's a good place to learn the craft but not practice it. Too many distractions, the second floor darkroom shakes everytime someone moves and they have these complicated digital timers that I just can't get the hang of. I am still looking forward though to the class for the opportunity to learn something new and the community of other darkroom types even if I prefer to work alone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lion Statue detail in front of Buddhist Temple in S.E. Portland. I went for a walk on Sunday to use up some of the last few frames on a roll of 35mm color film I had started last Autumn. I'd been seeing this temple from the Hawthorne Bus and decided to check it out up close. I once lived near here and back then the building was a Christian Science church. The building was designed by a well known architect and is mentioned in the book Frozen Music by Gideon Bosker a very interesting book on Portland Architecture.
Clerodendrum trichotomum The Harlequin Glorybower. Seed pods.
Text Color

Monday, February 18, 2008

These will be my 3 entries for this show. I'm still working on writing my bio and artists statement. Writing an artists statement has forced me to articulate what it is I do when I take a picture. I tried to remember what my motivation was from the first time I picked up a camera with the intent to take/make my own pictures and if that motivation was any different 40 years later. My main motivation in taking pictures still remains my curiosity about what the camera will see that I cannot and how this will be revealed in the finished print. That is pretty much it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another print from an old high school negative. Another window with a view to the past. I have been thinking recently about the photographs I post and the photographs I don't post. If I make a choice to show one picture does that mean I am making another choice to hide a picture?

Another photograph from the early 1970's. All the cars are American in the image; Ford, Plymouth,Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile. No imports to be seen here. I noticed while studying a different negative with a magnifying loupe that the gas prices at the Standard Station in the background were .35 a gallon, the Whizberger sold for .22.

Siamese Fighting Fish. I did some printing yesterday working with some old negatives that I found from 1969-70 and I used some of my last sheets of warmtone ilford paper. This image surprised me because it had a surreal quality to it that I couldn't have intended at the time I took the picture. I was just trying to take a picture of one of my favorite fish. I have quite a few pictures like this done with a twin lens yashica camera ( that can be seen reflected in the mirror). When a photographer releases the shutter a moment of time is preserved on a sheet of film that as long as that piece of film exists creates a "closed time loop" between that moment to the ever expanding spiral of time into the future that will be the perspective from which the picture will be viewed. The photograph is like an anchor set in a point of time from which we continue to drift.

Friday, February 08, 2008 I went to 23 Sandy Gallery this evening to view two shows. One was a collection of photographs by Motoya Nakamura, a photographer for the Oregonian, and the other was a selection of portraits taken of Cherie Hiser by various well known photographers including Lee Friedlander and Jerry Uelsmann. The pictures by Nakamura consisted of a group of large color prints taken in available light in the evening of a group of performance artists called Marchfourth. The portraits of Cherie Hiser was a rare demonstration of how different photographers while focusing their cameras on the same subject can reveal their individual styles.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I didn't really need another 35mm SLR but I've been seeing so many of these really nice Nikkormats on e-bay selling for 30-40.00 that I just had to finally get one. This one was in very nice shape and fully functional. Light meter is accurate and the shutter sounds great. I already have a very nice all black Nikkormat Ftn but I really let myself get screwed on that one so it took away some of the sting to buy one in nice shape for what I considered cheap. I like the Nikkormat a little more then the Nikon F it's a very sweet little camera. I've been thinking of a Nikon body that I could use exclusive for Kodachrome and still have my other Nikon and Nikkormat for black and white and color print film.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I spent a few hours yesterday trying to make a decent print of this image. I wanted to experiment with an Agfa Developer called Neutol with some actual Agfa paper. I also had some sheets of this paper from the Czech Republic but after making several prints I didn't like the negative enough to waste the rare paper on. I'll save it for something special. Since getting this new cold light head I've used it for all of my printing. I signed up for this workshop later this month . Hopefully enough people will sign up for it to happen.
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