Friday, July 30, 2010

 A Night at the Museum.

My friend and fellow photographer Lorita and I went together to last nights reception for the new Photo Curator, Julia Dolan, who will now be in charge of Portland Art Museums extensive collection of over 6000 images.  It was a well attended event and many of Portland's Photo luminaries were in attendance.  I hope this is the beginning of a new era for the collection and that the Museum will now make more of an effort to display it's photographic treasure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A few prints made yesterday in the darkroom from the recently developed roll of Tri-X pan.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Developed a roll of recently finished film.

Tri-X pan developed in HC-110 developer.  I had never used this before and was very satisfied with the results.  It's a concentrate that pours like syrup so mixing is critical.  I followed directions of 6 1/2 minutes at 69 degrees.  I use a water bath rather than stop bath, allowing the film to sit in the water for about a minute before changing the water.  I do this 3 times than fix.  I use a perma-wash to reduce rinse times, soak in photo flo than hang to dry.  I do not use a squeegee to take away excess water because I think this risks scratching the film.  I allow the wetting agent and gravity and evaporation to remove all water from the film and for it to dry.  Any water spots on the negatives I will clean away with a Q-Tip and some negative cleaner if there is a problem..

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Floral Pictures taken around the neighborhood recently.

I always have at least one roll of color film in a camera especially when things are blooming.

I went to the Art Museum yesterday to check up on the gallery of photography to see if after three years they still have the same work up.  They do.  This link still holds true about the insipid and uninspired use of what I have heard was one of the largest collections on the west coast but you sure will never in a lifetime get a chance to see it. PATHETIC.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Been there and done that. 

This picture cracked me up of a bathroom/darkroom.  It brought back not so fond memories of trying to use our families only bathroom as a darkroom when I still lived at home with my parents and younger brother.  This set up seems to have an elaborate rack support for development over the bath tub on the right that can be taken down when not in use.  I like the close proximity to a sink on the left and a toilet of course can be handy but not essential.  If this were a second bathroom or you lived by yourself (and want to remain that way) and are very, very neat this might work.  I suspect this is a new set up or is infrequently used because the place looks so clean.  My darkroom after 5 years of regular use is a chemical stained and corroded mess which you hardly notice under safe lights.  Also the drawback to any darkroom that has to be put together before you start working can be a pain since where do you store your gear and chemicals when not in use, and how long does it take to set up before you can begin working?  Serious drawbacks.  This would probably be the only alternative for an apartment dweller sort of like that closet darkroom the weird stalker boyfriend that Elaine had on a Seinfeld episode.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My darkroom work the last couple of weeks has dragged.  I am waiting to finish three different rolls of film before I can process but this weekend I did manage to complete one roll of color film up in the Arboreteum shooting with friend that I hope to take in for processing today.  The last couple of times I tried doing some darkroom printing I was working with old negatives and none of them really got  past the test print stage before I abandoned them for the time being and never bothered to produce a finshed print. Ansel Adams mentions to keep a large garbage can in your darkroom and don't be afraid to toss out what you are not totally proud of. 

I saw this Madron up in the Arboreteum this weekend that intrigued me though I didn't take any pictures on film of it.  I made a print yesterday of this old negative from 71' of this bullfrog I patiently waited to photograph. I noticed the film from these pond shots were done with Panatomic X, great film that I wish was still available.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I noticed in looking over this first picture taken when my darkroom was just set up and a few years later how many more gadgets I'd collected.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It is hard to believe but it has been 6 years now since I started working on my darkroom.  Here is an early link when I first began my blog that I wrote about it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I was running low on Agfa 100 film, and a newly opened box of paper proved to be all fogged so I had to buy some more of my favorite ilford fiber paper.  I am enjoying the semi-gloss over the matte for the moment and rediscovering Dektol as a paper developer over the ilford product designed specific for warm toned papers.  Developing a picture in both Dektol and Ilford Warm tone developer I could not notice any difference in the prints.  The Dektol is also a bit faster. Now that I have my new print exposure timer I have moved my old Gra-lab timer over the paper developing trays.  Like I have mentioned before I have figured a time factor for developing prints rather than trying to develop the prints by "eye".  If a print seems a tad under or over developed rather than adjust development time I adjust exposure time.  In the long run this leads to more consistent results and the factor system (6 times the seconds when first development in the print is apparent) also allows me to maintain consistency despite temperature changes in the darkroom which can run from 50-80 degrees depending on the seasons and different paper/developer combinations.

Picture taken in 1972 of what was left of the Inter-Urban rail line that ran between Portland and Oregon City near Roethe Road .

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Downtown maybe 2007 or 2008. 

I've always kind of liked this black building it seems so Orwellian.  I even took a picture of in in 1972 when it was under construction.  I took this photograph from the top floor of the parking garage across from the Civic Auditorium.  In order to bring the sky out I had to make a mask to cover up the building but I made it too large, always trace within the lines (not on the line) of what you are masking.  I also guessed that the sky would take about 3 times as much exposure as the forground but the buildings around the dark reflective building are much more reflective.  Probably if I were to do this again I'd make another mask for the trees in the bottom third of the picture and maybe even one mask for the dark building and another mask for the more reflective buildings.  I don't know though if the picture is worth that much work.

Test Prints

Another method for test prints that can be done with variable contrast papers is to make two exposures using different filters or in this case, with my new enlarger, making a series of tests running from left to right using only the "soft" contrast light in 1.5 second intervals from an exposure of 1.5 seconds to 15 seconds.  Then a second series using only the "hard" contrast light from bottom to top again in 1.5 second intervals to form a grid.  The least amount of exposure is in the lower left corner square with a total exposure of 3 seconds, 1.5 using the soft light and 1.5 using the hard light.  The longest total exposure is in the top right square with a total exposure of 30 seconds, 15 seconds with the soft light and 15 seconds with the hard light.  If you were using filters you would use the lowest contrast filter 0 or 00 for one set of exposures and the highest contrast filter of 5 for the second set of exposures.  I'll then review the squares and see which exposure combination seems to give the more balanced print.  This negative was shot from a roll of old infrared film taken in 2008 that after developement looked to be fogged and I found the results from some of the prints to be of such poor quality, lots of grain, little detail I put them aside and decided not to waste any paper on them.  This negative looked as though it might yield something interesting so I decided to try and make a print and used this dual exposure test print as a route to figuring out what the proper contrast setting and exposure might be. I wanted the highlights, the upper windows picking up the sky, the waterdrops and the lamps ( lit up during the day for some reason) to be close to paper base in zones 9-10, I wanted the face of the statue  to show up so I wanted details in the shadows with zones 2-3 and the building behind to be in the middle around 4-5. The first print I made was too dark in the shadows so I scaled down the hard light exposure and increased the soft and came up with a reasonable print but still decided the negatives were just not good enough for an enlargement much beyond a post card sized image.  This print was my standard 5x7ish printed out on an 8x10 sheet of paper for the big border which I like best.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Yesterday I was printing using the "scraps" of paper I had left over from various packages and accidentally printed the same image on a piece of cold tone and then warm tone paper.

I was looking at this picture  taken in Spring 2007 up in Seattle.  Taken with color film, with a 24mm Nikkor lens.  When I get my color film developed I have a high res scan of all the images made so I can post them easier on my blog or make additional digital prints.  Sometimes if a picture lacks something I play around with the controls in the photo software and "enhance" it.   More dramatic but less photographic if we define photography as an "independent" view of reality. I believe that was perhaps the greatest ability of the first cameras to record rather than interpret. The photographer points the camera at a subject and allows the camera to record it in a fraction of a second.  To freeze the moment and hold on to it as it was.  Something a drawing no matter how quickly rendered could  do.  In theory a more objective perspective because it was rendered by an instrument rather than the artists hand.   Photography in the beginning had it's limitations especially the inability to render colors but it did have an ability no matter how crude to quickly and without embellishment render a static view of the world which for me anyway remains it's most valuable feature. 

"...for in spite of the vagueness of most of them, they had a damnably suggestive power which was intensified by the fact of their being genuine photographs-actual optical links with what they portrayed, and the product of an impersonal transmitting process without prejudice, fallibility, or mendacity."

H.P. Lovecraft

The Test Print

Now that I have my new timer I do test exposures in 1.5 sec. increments and from there .5 sec. increments for the middle exposures to fine tune the exposure further.  From there I'll experiment with different contrasts and papers looking for the right combination that comes closest to what I think look bests.  I record on the back of each print all exposure details, the date the print was made and reevaluate once the print is dry and I can study it in better light.  Sometimes I can get excited over a print as soon as I see it and later become less enthusiastic about it and sometimes I dismiss a print the first time I see it but see something later that I think makes it worth reprinting.  Usually what I think is my best work falls in this second category that certain images take time for me to fully appreciate them.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I worked on these prints yesterday from negatives exposed on a gloomy day in early June as they were setting up for the beginning of Rose Festival. I used Agfa 100 developed in Rodinal 50:1 dilution.  I like the perspective from the Morrison Bridge.  I should get a new box of paper next week to replace the one that I bought that was ruined.  I was using some Agfa paper that I developed in Dektol.  Dektol seems to work much faster than Bromophen the Ilford product that I haven't been able to find locally.  Citizens Photo used to carry a pretty good supply of Ilford Chemicals but now all they seem to have is old Kodak stock.  Too bad but I can always order online from B&H. When I print I watch for the first sign of development mark that time and then calculate the total developing time by multiplying that number by 6.  Perhaps it's been the rise in temperature lately but it seemed in early June when I was printing it was taking about 60 seconds for the first sign of developement so I would develop the paper for a full 6 minutes (6x60=360/60=6).  Yesterday it was taking more like 25sec. for a developement time of 2 1/2 minutes (25x6=150/60=2.5).  I was diluting the dektol 2 to 1 but then went to 3 to 1 to try and slow it down a bit. 
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