Sunday, March 29, 2009

I just got a box of ilford cold tone fiber paper and did some printing with it yesterday.

My eye prefers the warm toned print over the cold toned but when I see a well made print that can take advantage of the more "inky" black of the cold toned paper over the "dark coffee" black of the warm toned paper and a true gray rather then a sort of ivory I wish I could figure out how to take advantage of it in my printing. I tried yesterday extending the print development period to see if that worked any better. I use a factor system for print development. By factor I mean that after exposing the paper and immersion in to the developer I have a timer going and I watch the print for the first faint signs of development and mark that time. Then I develop the print by that time period times 4. So if the first development shows after one minute I develop the print for 4 more minutes for a total development time of 5 minutes. After putting the print through the stop bath, and fix I then look at it in bright light and if it's too dark I scale back the print exposure time by about 10%, if too light I increase exposure time by 10% but I keep the development time constant. With the cold tone papers I tried developing by a factor of 6 so my printing time was extended sometimes to 7-8 minutes. The factor system works well when using different paper/developer combinations to calculate proper development and also can take in to account developer strength as well as temperature and how those conditions can impact proper print development. Since my darkroom can be cold in winter time my chemicals can be as cool as 60 degrees farenheit when I start working and not warm up until the darkroom warms up. If I keep track of the amount of time for first development which can take depending on the temperature from 30 seconds to a minute and a half or more and then factor that time by 4,5,6 or whatever amount of time gives me a print that I consider "correct". I tend to mix a developer solution and discard it after a printing session of around 24 prints so the developer strength is fairly constant.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Here is a link to a series of pictures of professional photographers darkrooms. I tried taking a similar type of photograph of mine but couldn't get that wonderful panoramic view. My darkroom is only 5 feet wide by 6 1/2 feet long and half of that space is taken up with a table. Still I see one common trait and that is the clutter.

I have enjoyed making photographic postcards using Ilfords photographic paper which is cut to standard post card size and has a postcard back for addressing and placing a stamp. A few years ago I found on ebay this set of antique photo mats used to make photographic postcards with a framed pattern around the image. The mats came in several patterns in oval, and rectangular frame formats and in a variety of designs some favoring a vertical and others a horizontal orientation. I thought it would be fun to make a series of antique looking postcards using my photographs but the process wasn't as easy as I had hoped and involved a lot of trial and error with the net result of hours of work being a few useable postcards and a lot of rejects. The first time I tried it I managed to make maybe a half-dozen cards. Last week I tried again with similar results. It was a two step process involving exposing different sections of the printing paper using the two different mats, one for the frame and the other for the image. Each step involved a different type of printing. I first sandwiched the patterned "negative" over the printing paper and held them together and flat under a sheet of glass to expose the bordered design on to paper. The patterned mat protects the center from light exposure so you have the unexposed center for your image. I used the enlarger for the second step which involved pre composing the image within the framed mat and then marking the papers position on the easel so I could align the paper properly and project the image on to the unexposed center. It was difficult to align the image correctly within the unexposed center. Shifting the paper from under the glass and on to the easel and then placing the second printing frame exactly over the unexposed area of the paper so the image and frame would be fairly seamless was hit or miss. If I practiced a lot I could probably figure out a way to get it right more times then not. Anyway here were the last results where I matched an image fairly well with the pattern.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another negative I had never printed before. Shot in the late afternoon exposing for the shade. I like the narrow range of focus with the fuzzy foreground and background.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is another negative I revisited printing with my cold light to see if I could improve it any. Taken with the Koni-Omega 200, using the 58mm wide angle lens.
Another lone fir grave stone. I had never made a print from this negative before.

Another great Hollywood Camera score. An excellent Saunders 11x14 easel all intact. I have been using a really beat up one for years that I bought on e-bay. This one is in cleaner shape and has that very handy brace on the left to hold the easel frame up while you position the paper. This is my favorite easel of choice. Ed let me have it for a very reasonable price compared to what they cost on e-bay and because the items are heavy I didn't have to deal with the extra 10-15.00 for shipping.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I worked with this negative last weekend. Taken with a Koni-Omega 200 and using one of the few rolls of 120 infared film I had. I shot this up in the Japanese Gardens probably in 2005. I was dissapointed with the negatives and at the time never went beyond reviewing the contact sheet. Infared film in an outdoor situation should be exposed with an ASA reading of about 10 so you want to use a tripod. This is hardly a subject that takes advantage of the special properties of infrared film. I thought I'd try making a print to see if I could save the detail in the reflections on the waters surface by cutting a mask and reducing the exposure in the lower 1/3. That area would have printed almost a solid black if I had wanted the fern to not be a solid white. I used a low contrast filter of 1/2.
I've been working more with my 120 negatives the last couple of weeks. I can get a 6x6 format with my Mamiya and a 6x7 with my Koni-Omega. I wish I had a camera that could shoot the film with a still wider 6x9 format which would be closer to the proportions of 35mm film. I prefer the pure square to the slight rectangular of the 6x7 format which is a just a little short of the proportions of the golden rectangle.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Today I worked in the darkroom on old 35mm negatives of family pictures taken by my Mother who was also an amateur photographer. She used an Argus 35mm camera and did experiment with developing film and making prints. Here is a photograph of her inlaws, my paternal grandparents taken in San Francisco in 1954.

Another close up of the old Kodak I bought yesterday.
Web Statistics