Sunday, August 31, 2008

This is the first set of prints I made with the intention of cutting mats for them. I printed the images on 8x10 fiber paper using the entire sheet and will put it in a 11x14 mat. I used agfa 25 film with the camera on a steady tripod so the 35mm negative enlarges pretty nice very sharp and with modest grain. I normally print 5x7 images on 8x10 paper and then dry mount and frame the picture allowing for the wide border to give the illusion of an over mat. It's not that easy though in my darkroom to work with 11x14 paper since the trays take up more space. Now that I have a mat cutter I can create full size 8x10 prints and mat them in 11x14 mats to give the pictures a little more size. When I feel like working with 11x14 paper I can make 11x14 images with my larger format cameras and then mat them in 16x20 and 20x24 mats.

South waterfront OHSU building, Tram and an art installation taken last month. I visited this place for the first time a year ago. I rode the streetcar over on my lunch hour stayed a few minutes took a picture of the tram and one of the condo towers and rode back. The place had a funny smell to it, sort of like a swamp and still resembled a construction site. For all the hype I was reminded at the time of the quote by Gertrude Stein about her native Oakland, California; "There is no there there." That pretty much sums up South Waterfront. A year later the street car now does a full loop through the place, there are a few restaurants and the park hosts monthly art installations like this one consisting of a lot of white pvc pipe stuck in the ground with black mylar streamers attached. I speculated to myself a couple of years ago when they were clearing the land and cleaning it up for the construction of giant condo towers that would ruin the views for their Lair Hill neighbors to the west it would be the perfect place for a retro 50's style mobile home park filled with all kinds of brightly colored travel trailers. This would have appealed to Portlands Creative Class and artistic hipsters far more then these giant towers that will probably be Portlands first foreclosure wasteland.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cutting Mats. I practiced most of yesterday with my new Mat cutter. I found a model on e-bay from a local seller that works fine it's just a tad too large for what I need it for. I really only need the mat cutter to cut windows in already cut to size mats. Art Media will cut the large mat board to size for you which is very convenient and saves you a lot of trouble. The larger mat cutters like this one don't really have much more in the way of features just the ability to accomodate very large sheets of mat board. I don't really need a large squaring arm. What I learned yesterday was the old carpenters adage, "Measure twice, cut once." I also learned while burning through several sheets of mat board that cutting out a pattern on graph paper first and checking how this fits your picture before you cut the mat can be very helpful. I am glad I took the workshop last weekend because that was a huge help in getting me started.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Summer about to evaporate but I do have a few negatives and undeveloped film from this one to keep me busy through the Winter. I also have at least 3 spectacular botanical subjects growing on my front porch to model for me and my favorite season Autumn will soon be here. I am hoping to make a decision on a mat cutter soon and perhaps the upcoming long weekend will give me a chance to practice what I learned last weekend. There are two opportunities to get work shown (if I can get work accepted) coming up and if I can devote some time to getting prints properly presented for showing over the Winter maybe I can consider approaching a gallery with enough images to compose a show. Since I started serious printing 4 years ago I come up with 3 maybe 4 pictures a year that I am proud of and with a few pictures I made 30 years ago I am approaching a time when I feel I will have enough images to have something to present. Not quite there yet but close.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yesterday I was at Newspace most of the day trying to learn how to properly mat pictures. I got to work with a really nice mat cutter and cut a nice mat with beveled edge for this print. I cut the window a little wider then I wished but now I can cut another mat of a different color and insert that to give it a nicer look and tighten the window more around the image. I keep printing the entire negative that includes that reflection off of the negative carrier that cuts in to the picture rather then surrounding it. I might start looking for some different carriers or experiment with filing this one out a bit more and perhaps taping the reflective surface or painting it black. The workshop introduced me to some other products and materials for print presentation as well as preservation. I want to get a mat cutter now, though not as expensive as the one I used. I've been printing image sizes of 4x6,5x7 on to 8x10 paper and 5x7 and 8x10 on 11x14 paper, mounting the prints and framing them without mats letting the border on the paper give the picture the "illusion" of being matted. Learning how to cut mats would enable me to print image sizes up to 11x14 and then put them in mats up to 16x20 or 20x24 sizes. People like big pictures. There are two juried exhibits coming up this one at 23 Sandy in November and a new call for entries at Newspace for next year. The Newspace one intrigues me because I have a lot of botanical images and I am working on new ones all the time. I have three new flowers in the garden that I have yet to work with, and still have some 4x5 film taken of the Magnolias in July that I haven't developed as well as my carnegie dinosaur skeletons. I have a lot of older work but also so much new work and new subjects and with the time involved I could come up with some serious contenders

Friday, August 22, 2008

Moonflower Vine Ipomoea noctiflora. Whoa.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moon vine bud. This is something I have never grown before. The bud was fairly large. I think they open at night and are fragrant as most night blooming flowers are.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A collection of past Passion Flowers I have grown.

The newest Passion flower just came in to bloom. "incense" passion flower is the name of the cultivar. Very interesting.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I did some more experimenting with dual/selective toning of photographs. Applying toner only where I wanted it with a fine brush or Q-tip.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This was an experiment in selective selenium toning by applying the toner only to the skeleton with a fine brush on the still damp prints. Both prints were made with ilford warmtoned paper semi-matte fiber paper . The lower print was gold toned followed by the painting in of selenium toner over the skeleton and I noticed the underlayer of gold toner boosted the selenium toning a bit making it darker and warmer.

Here is a nice example of the kind of homes I saw a lot of in Pennsylvania that one cannot find here in Portland. This was in Finleyville just around the corner from the home my wife grew up in.

I spent most of the day yesterday in the darkroom working on making prints from these two negatives. I made multiple prints so I could also selenium and gold tone some of them and later sepia tone. I am taking a workshop at Newspace next Saturday on print presentation. How to properly cut mats, dry mount and retouch photographs for framing and presentation. I think these will be my two choices for prints to work with during the workshop.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A couple of more Kennywood pictures.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cathederal of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Taken with a Nikkor 35mm Perspective Control Lens.
Carnegie Museum skeleton of a Protoceratops.

Phipps Conservatory near the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Two more fountain pictures from Kennywood.

This is from the Kennywood Amusement park. I was shooting Agfa 100 with an orange filter to bring out the sky. I used a 24mm lens. I noticed the negatives seemed a tad under exposed. I had just changed the batteries in the light meter in my Nikon F which I did have calibrated for the higher voltage batteries but I think the problem with the more enviromentally friendly new batteries over the old mercury batteries has to do with the voltage stability. The old mercury batteries kept a constant output of 1.3 volts until they expired the newer batteries start out "hot" at probably 1.55 volts and so underexpose a bit at first, then as they wear down the voltage lowers and they overexpose. I am going to need to remember to check my camera light meter against my hand held light meter and adjust the camera meter for the variance in voltages. I printed these on ilford matte warm tone paper with a grade 3-4 filter when I usually use a 1-2.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History fossil collection was the most impressive I have ever seen. This is from a roll of 35mm Agfa 100 that I shot inside the museum. I was having to hand hold the camera at exposures of around f2.8 (the widest on my 24mm lens) and shooting at a 1/15 of a second. When I finished this roll I decided to push the ASA on my other roll of the Agfa 100 by 2 stops to 400 and now I have to figure out how to develop it. From some preliminary google searching I get the impression that my normal developer Rodinal would not be best for this so I am going to try Acufine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We just got back last night from one of our rare family summer vacation trips. This one was epic by our standards we flew back to Pittsburgh where my wife grew up and spent over a week there. We took the boys to Kennywood one of Americas oldest amusement parks, introduced the boys to their 2 surviving East Coast relations, spent a day in Pittsburgh in order to visit one of the Carnegie Museums, Phipps Conservatory and wander in downtownPittsburgh trying to figure out the public transportation system. I went with my wife to her 35th High School Reunion in Monogahela and saw Fallingwater. At Kennybrook we turned the boys loose with their Aunt and I explored the park and got my only chance to leisurely stroll with my cameras and photograph. The rest of the time I was pretty much under a schedule and so couldn't really photograph "my way". I only used up a roll and a half of Agfa black and white film, and 2 1/2 rolls of color. I carried my Nikon F and Nikkormat with 3 lenses my 24mm, 35mm perspective control lens, and my 85mm 1.8 which I never used. I am going to rest today before I go back to work and develop the black and white film so I can begin printing it this weekend (that is if the film wasn't fogged by airport security equipment).

Sunday, August 03, 2008

This will be my first post for the month of August. Summer half over (or half begun) anyway we are in the middle of it. This is a picture I took over 30 years ago with my Nikon F that I worked with in my darkroom when I started printing again. It is a nice still life and not a bad print. It was also one of the first prints I selenium toned. 23 Sandy Gallery is having another juried exhibit that will be held in November. I am thinking of some current photographs that I have that I may consider entering. We are also planning a trip soon and I may get an opportunity to take some interesting pictures so knowing the theme of the exhibit perhaps I can come up with something new. I really like that gallery. This show will select a photographer from those who are accepted for a solo show sometime in the future.
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