Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lining up the negs to print.

  Plenty of new work from Shiprock and CDC to make prints from.  I've got nine 5X7 proofs up in some of Jackson's precut mats to see if they pass the wall test.  Fun to look at.

  Bought a used Ebay Nikon 210mm/F5.6 enlarging lens.  Still working on mounting the 240mm Schneider I got, but it won't make images as large or small as I hoped.  Focus problems, the old Omega 5X7 lens turrent has the focus built in.  So far the lens doesn't fit it.  Just details.

  Nikon was a great deal at 150.00.  I think I have it being mounted on another long extended cone.  No retaining ring for the Schneider though I am closer, I think.

  Either of the longer lenses ought to help my uneven illumination field problems from the enlarger head.  Negatives contact cleanly, but the enlarger projects hot spots.  I don't think they ever thought that folks would be printing the whole negatives and not cropping.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mystery negatives.

Pulling out the Hasselblad as a snapshot camera for the Canyon de Chelly adventure and taking film out of cold storage, ordering new film, et, et.  Somehow when we got back and I was running film, plus some from school, plus Jacksons...I ended up with one roll of TX shot of a pregnant woman and her young son.  I couldn't remember it.  It was shot through a Hasselblad so it was mine or Jacksons.  When I processed it this morning it finally came to mind.

  I shot a portrait session for a very pregnant young lady almost ten years ago.  Before I was using digital.  She was just a few days away from delivery but I was impressed with her personality, the way she handled her five year old son.  Seemed like a great person.  The week and then the month went by and she never contacted me about proofs or prints.  I figured she had her hands full.A few months later her parents tracked me down...she had died in childbirth!  I gave them the color film and proofs, might have even had some prints made.  No charge of course.  This must have been a roll of Tri-X 320 from that session that somehow evaded processing until yesterday.  The negatives are in good shape.  Base+fog density a little higher than normal but nothing serious or lethal.  Her son must be a teenager by now and her baby, (who survived), a grade-schooler.

  I offered up the appropriate prayer but it is still quite a shock to have this memory come roaring back out of the fixer tray as I made roll film proof sheets this morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sheet film in trays.

  Finished all the Canyon de Chelly trip sheet film, 5X7 and 8X10.  I've got a medium sized darkroom, plenty comfortable.  Ran the film in trays.  Timer on the wall.  I take the sheet off the bottom and put it on the top with constant agitation during the development time.

  Here's the process:

1. Lights out.

2.  Pre-soak in 68 degree water.

3. Develop for full time with constant agitation.

4.  Back in pre-soak which is now stop bath.  Just water.

5.  Over to fixer for a minute.

6. Lights on.  Complete fixing.

7. Rinse.

8. Perma-Wash to break down fixer.

9.  Tray wash at 68-72 degrees.

10. Kodak Photo-flo and drain.

11.  Hang to dry.

  I run six to eight sheets at a time for 5X7.  12 ozs of X-tol and 12 ozs mixed one-to one.  8X10 I ran 4 sheets at a time.  Usually do three or four runs and hang it up.

5X7s sitting in the fix.  Developer tray is tilted a bit to have a deep side.

  There's not anything fancy or unusual about any of this, it just gets done so rarely these days that I thought I would review the obvious.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I like getting UP, in general, for landscape compositions.

  This has rapidly become a lost art: using a tripod to actually set your composition mechanically.  I've got a set of old Gitzo carbon fiber legs and several heads, though the one that lives on the tripod is a number 3 heavy metal job that weighs nearly as much as the rest of the rig.  It can handle the 5X7 and the 8X10.

Setting your composition with a ground glass or viewfinder manually and having to lock it down through image after image makes you watch the framing very carefully.  Nobody wanted to give up film any more than they want to give up pixels.

  Digital, evolving ever faster, smaller and lighter, plus the high ISOs makes tripods seem like the relic they probably are.  Folks won't miss what they never experienced.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Three days in the canyons with view cameras, film and iphones.

Hard to beat for a vacation as far as I am concerned.

Wish I had looked closer at this whole mass.  Was noticing the eroded cut-out at the bottom with Jackson turned into it.  Should have backed up a bit and looked at the big picture.  Looks like something there though it could be this beautiful afternoon light.

Jackson checking an image on my 5X7.

First shot of the trip.

Little Deardorff at work with a hanging polarizer.

Kids on the road.

Only one camera problem on the whole trip: my rebuilt 250 wide-field Ektar on the 8X10 wouldn't fire with a cable release.  None of the releases seemed to be long enough.  It worked fine in back home in the studio.  I fired it manually anyway, but worried about camera movement.  I sorted through the five or six I had with me and nothing worked.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Check out Blackfork.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


  I harp and harp on this to students and drive myself a little batty watching for it, but LOOK at the two different photos.....everything the same except lighting.  The canyons have spectacular light on the shady side...often aided by the light bouncing from the far sunlit wall, especially late.

Early in the day.  I'd noticed these trees on a night drive out of CDM.  The light was chattery and the sun would be behind a cliff in an hour or so.

Couple of hours later.  It kept getting better until the light came off the cliff to the right of the image.

Can't say this too much.  Same subject, different lighting: completely different image.

That's a little group of Navajo kids hiking the canyon going down the road.  They had come down off the rim and were walking to a campground.  Great place for kids.

Update.  5X7 HP5 negative just out.  On the meter I use, (Pentax 1 Degree Spot), I rate it at 600.  X-tol 1:1 for 9:20 @ 68 degrees.  Looks good.

Help from the iphone.

We were all iphoning like mad -with the camera functions. ( No bars and no signal in the canyons.) I used mine to roughly select lens length- (I figured out about where on the zoom my various focal lengths were), and also to preview shots and make notes.  Fun to have along.  We worked three 12 hour days in the canyons, twice on the Muerto side and once on the CDC side.

Hubbell trading post house kitchen- full of wonderful light.

Spider Rock overlook undercaves.  Kind of hard to find.  Whole series of caves under the rim to the right of the trail as you are walking out to the overlook.

First shot of the trip with view camera- this is my iphone note.


Martini-rock drive on Canyon del Muerto side.  Got to shoot this scene on two different days.

Standard stuff.  I don't remember if this is 12 inch, (300mm), or 450mm.

Hanging raincloud abstract iphone note.

Actually put this one in iphoto and did some editing.  It was way up on a wall in CDM.  Had to go at it with 450 on 5X7.

This tree, shadow and crack fit in the 8X10.  First time ever for that.  It's almost always a struggle.  I was shocked!

Jackson working a corner with Hasselblad.

Blue Bull Cave area.  

Stripe-hunting up CDM side..

Jackson and I waving arms at CDM.  Katie is doing the six things that happen in a photograph.....pretty dadgum well!  Subject, background, viewpoint, moment, framing, lighting.

Katie and I in front of a strand of wire anchoring a fence corner.  It was such a great set that I ran everyone by it.  The wiring was so rigged up that I entertained the notion that even I could be a Navajo.

Guide and I climbing old Navajo trail.

  I'm huffing and puffing.  Flatlander finding myself at 6000 feet.  I also was doing it one-handed with my little coolpix set on "movie."  Wonderful bounce light from across the canyon.  Mid-morning.  I took a Hasselblad up for some handholding.  Canyon del Muerto.

My Hasselblad shot is something like this.

Guide Thurman from Antelope House Tour company.

Climbing log shortcut.  Very old.  There was a little ladder up the crack at the top.  For this shot I am climbing up and holding my iphone way up and way out.  Very tough to get this shot with a real camera.

Now I wish I had hauled my 5X7 up there for the trail shot.  Not hard- it's basically a staircase with exposure, though if you fall there's no bannister.

Working the 8X10 in CDC

Photographing a half mile up from White House Ruin on the Canyon de Chelly side.  The road runs through an open spot and along the base of a huge North-facing wall.  Could photograph here all day. Using a gray card to make sure I wasn't getting fooled by the wall color.  I've had troubles in the West with running slightly overexposed on my film.

  Pretty cool in the shadow that time of morning.  While I was fighting little bits of Russian Olive the group walked up the road to stand in the sun.