Sunday, September 27, 2009

A couple of interesting flower pictures taken with a digital camera this morning of things blooming and dieing on my front porch.

Another Hollywood Camera find
Daylight tank for 4x5 sheet film. Now I won't have to work in total darkness with three different tanks. I saw this a couple weeks ago and kind of balked at this 35.00 asking price. Old bakelite probably made back in the 40's, it was showing it's age. Two weeks later he offered it to me for 10.00.

Photographing a Moon Flower.
I've been wanting to take some "serious" photographs with black and white film of these beautiful delicate Moon Flowers which open up at night, and wilt soon after the sun hits them. Usually the flowers are buried in amongst the vines or are high up on the vines out of reach. This one opened up in a nice convenient place for me to set up a camera and tri-pod. I've been meaning to take some photographs of these against a black background downstairs but with the foliage as background and low natural light illumination this might make a promising picture. A breeze though kept interupting the session, I'd have to wait for it to die down a bit to take a picture because I was shooting at around 1/15 of a second at f5.6.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I just got this photograph accepted in to a small photographic show to be held in November at The Flying Cat Coffee Company. The show was jurored by Cheri Hiser and Laura Russell. Above Magnolia by Imogene Cunningham.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On a lighter note, my cardinal creeper blooming over the front porch. Watch out for low flying hummingbirds.

Mid-Life crisis vs adolescent angst.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

1 and 1 and 1/2 contrast filters 2 and 2 1/2 contrast filters
I worked on this photograph yesterday printing on warm tone ilford glossy. I did test exposure prints with four different contrast filters. I looked at the test prints to determine what I thought was the proper exposure and then made a print with each contrast filter. For this particular image I thought a 1 and 1/2 filter yielded the nicest range of tones. I will keep all of these test exposure prints in a folder with the negatives and the contact sheet so that when I work on this negative in the future I can further tweak the print.

Moonflower Vine (Ipomoea noctiflora)
I got one flower out of this plant last year. It doesn't like the cold so in theory we have about 4 more weeks for this plant to bloom if this is a typical Portland autumn, where the temperatures change dramatically after October 15th.

The flowers open up yellow, then turn white, then take on this nice coral color within a few hours.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ansel Adams and Walker Evans

I just finished a fascinating biography of Walker Evans by Belinda Rathbone first published in 1995. It was the second biography I had read about him the other one being written by James R. Mellow and published in 1999. The James R. Mellow work was written with much more detail, perhaps a little too much detail but unfortunately the author died before he could finish it. He covered Evans life from his birth in 1903 to 1956. Evans went on to live another 19 years of a very interesting life. He was also lucky enough to live long enough to enjoy his recognition as one of Americas most original photographers.
Ansel Adams is certainly Americas most well known photographer. He spent a lifetime perfecting his technique and teaching it to others in workshops and in his books. His basic photography series 1-5 which has been in publication since the 40's explains in great detail his approach to pre-visualizing the landscape to determine exposure, proper film development and finished print. It's a wonderful guide to learning the techniques of fine art analog photography. He believed in the well crafted print and subject matter worthy of the time and effort to make that print.
Evans also worked very hard to produce the beautiful finished print and like Adams he worked with an 8x10 view camera but what they chose to preserve could not have been further apart. Adams loved the dramatic and pristine natural landscape untouched by civilization. Evans was fascinated by the cluttered human landscape the essence of civilization.
Adams and Evans were born the same year but thought little of each others work. Evans on Adams; "...disappointing. His work is careful, studied, weak Strand, self concious, mostly utterly pointless...Wood seasoned, rocks landscapes, filtered skies. All wrong." Adams on Evans; "I think the book is atrocious. Just why the Museum (MOMA) would undertake to present that book (American Photographs) is a mystery to me. Walker Evans book gave me a hernia. I am so goddam mad over what people from the left tier think America is."
It's an oversimplification but I believe Adams was more photographer then artist and Evans more artist then photographer. Adams believed in the medium of photography itself and his photo-secessionist movement, the F-64 group, was about conquering the medium and fully understanding the physics, the chemistry, the architecture of camera, light, film and print.
Evans was more about using the medium to illustrate a point of view.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just got in a couple hundred sheets of glossy paper, a new bottle of developer and enough fixer for awhile. I just got through using up several hundred sheets of matt paper which I have a little over 20 sheets left. I actually have a pretty big collection of all kinds of photographic papers in all kinds of sizes but I like to have a good supply of a paper I prefer, which for now has been ilford warmtone fiber based in either semi-matt or gloss. I'm not sure what the Zone VI paper VCIII is all about. It is probably an ilford paper but I'm not sure if it's warm or cold toned. I was out of this warm tone ilford paper developer and mixed up a big batch of Bromophen another ilford paper developer similar to good old Kodak Dektol. I'll use that up first before I open this up.

An old print from 1971.
Showing it's age in the bottom left corner. I don't think I have the negative anymore. I remember though taking the picture in one of my darker moods that I dealt with a lot in my teen years. Push processed to bring out the grain which I thought added something to the image. It may have also been super enlarged and cropped which might explain why it looks a bit like it was taken with a telephoto which I don't believe it was.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Once again I submitted work for a show and once again I regret it.

It's complicated. There is something kind of unhealthy about wanting others approval because you may be setting yourself up for trying to please another persons aesthetic. Submitting pictures you think will be accepted rather then pictures you think represent your best work.

At this point in my photography I'm also working more from the technical rather then the aesthetic. I judge my pictures based primarily on the quality of the print rather then the content.
There is also the submission process in the digital age which I think is unfair to the analog photographer. A digital photogaph exists as a jpg file and the print eventually shown (but not judged) is a representation of the file. A analog photograph exists as a print and the scanned jpg file (which is judged) is a representation of the print so you are comparing apples to oranges.
In most juried shows that I've seen silver gelatin prints are included as a kind of token sub-class represented by a couple of prints that get lumped in with the desaturated digital print as just another "black and white" print.
I think analog photographs should be judged against other analog photographs and the work submitted as a print rather then a scan. Better yet just have seperate shows for analog work and that other stuff.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I never really had much of an interest in joining Facebook but I started one a week ago and all the people in these pictures have facebook pages. I knew one of the subjects but just recently found out the names of the other two and how that cat ended up in Math Class that day.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another School year about to start. Makes me nostalgic for that little world within the world. I recently started a face book page and have actually found pages made by some of the people in this picture taken 50 years ago of our 1st grade class and others from High School.

Monday, September 07, 2009

I have not worked in the darkroom for a couple of weeks now. Having to restock up on some supplies which usually means shopping on e-bay or craigslist looking for someone selling off what's left after taking a class or getting bored with the hobby. Couldn't find any deals that way so I had to break down and send an order to B & H Photo which is an excellent source and still stocks what I need though I hate to pay retail. I have been working with Ilford warmtone semi-matte for awhile since I have pretty much used up my supply and switch to a glossy surface for awhile. I should be up and running again in another week.
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