Tuesday, July 19, 2011

1978 was an interesting year a mix of good times really bad times making some of my first really great friends but still falling in to toxic relationships.  Still I remember the house on 41st street where I lived with several art students from the Museum School and enjoyed exploring Mt. Tabor Park.

Scan of first print heavily cropped made in 1971.

New print from the old negative uncropped.

I worked in the darkroom yesterday.  Channeling the Annie Dillard quote about artists needing rooms with no views where imagination can meet memory in the dark.     Using my old negatives with my new skills developed in my not so new anymore darkroom that I have been working in for the last 7 years.  I took the above picture on January 2, 1971 while walking through the South Park Blocks on a gloomy Portland day. 
Portland probably wasn't near as gloomy as I was when I took that picture over 40 years ago.  1970 was a closed chapter in my life and 1971 had just started.  I would be finishing High School and going on to College.  It was the first winter of my discontent but I was still dreaming of  the previous summer.  Remembering too brief a time when I was not so alone and the air was bright, warm and fragrant not dark, cold and musty. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

A couple of recent colour photographs taken on lunch hour walks.

Dueling Victorians.  Much of Portlands earliest sturctures were made of wood because of all the lumber.  Easy to tear down and get rid of.  Heres a couple that have survived several city renovations.  Interesting that both are owned currently by law firms which is probably why the city leaves them alone.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ilford Multigrade IV matt surface coldtoned FB(fiber based)
Ilford Ilfospeed Deluxe Grade 2 Pearl Finish RC (resin coated)
Same negative two different papers.  Both developed in Dektol 1:3 dilution.
I don't use RC papers but I have found this particular brand and grade to produce a print  I really like better than a print done with a variable contrast paper or a similar grade fiber based paper.  And I accomplish it with a minimum of effort since I am only concerned with the proper print exposure.  The bottom print just looks "right" to me.  I have been using matt paper for awhile now and I just recently ordered some gloss which usually to my eye improves print contrast just enough. 

Monday, July 04, 2011

Another print from 1970.  I liked the sign over the door, "You need not walk alone".  I notice in the upper left corner there is a sticker placed on a sign that I think says "Work for Peace".  This was probably left over from the May protests in the South park blocks around PSU after the Kent State shootings.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tri-X Pan and HC-110

I have for years now been using Agfa Pan ASA 25 and 100 with Rodinal as my film of choice but I think I am going to go with Tri-X Pan and HC-110 for awhile.  I am finding the Agfa a little too slow for me except in bright sunlight which we are not getting a lot of lately in Portland.
I thought this image was pretty good by my standards in 1970 when I was 16. I revisited the negative yesterday in the darkroom.  I still had my original 11x14 print of it that was severely cropped to fit in to a rectangular format, straighten up the composition since the camera wasn't exactly perpendicular when I took the picture but this time I worked on a smaller print about 7x7 that used the entire negative which reveals all of its flaws.  I'm not sure if that light area in the upper left is lens flare, or a light leak or a screw up in the development. 

Friday, July 01, 2011

Soft contrast light

Hard contrast light
Finished print a combination of a 17.5 time units of soft contrast exposure and 3.4 time units of hard contrast exposure on variable contrast paper.

(Top) Test print done with soft light. Highlighted 17.5 unit exposure.
(Bottom) Test print of hard contrast light exposures done on top of 17.5 unit soft light exposure.  Highlighted 3.4 unit exposure.

After a year of working with the Zone VI enlarger I've settled for now on this printing technique. My first test print will use only the soft contrast (green) light. After making this print I look at the exposures looking for an area where I want the darkest tone to be around Zone V middle gray. I will then expose a second test print using the soft light exposure, in this case 17.5 units and then follow with gradual exposures using the hard (blue) contrast light.  In this case making exposures "over" the 17.5 unit soft exposure with the hard contrast light starting with 2.2 units going to 4.2 units. I want to purposely "under expose" with the soft exposure because when I use the hard contrast (blue) light over the soft contrast exposed paper for the second exposure all the zones will  shift downward.  The Zone V, gray, with the soft contrast light will move to a Zone III or II closer to pure black. The most exposed part of the negative which may represent a reflection of light or light source will hopefully remain at Zone IX, and zones VII & VIII will shift to VI and VII. Multiple contrast papers have layered emulsions of different contrasts that respond to different light wavelengths which can be manipulated by filters, or in this case varied exposure from two different colored bulbs.  This technique of exposing multiple layers of different contrast emulsions rather than just one allows you to tap in to the full potential of multiple contrast paper.  After looking at the second test print I will then choose which combination of the two exposures should produce the best looking print.  In this case I used a 17.5 units of exposure with the soft contrast bulb and 3.4 units of exposure with the hard contrast bulb. 

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