Saturday, December 15, 2012

Printing with Fred.

Fred Picker, curmudgeon, salesman, photographer, designer and general all-around visionary with a very dogmatic and practical side.  His Zone VI enlarger is now up and running.  Ebay.  Fred died in 2002.  Very sophisticated enlarger and electrics.  The enlarge is actually kind of cheap-feeling compared to the Omega 5X7 I was printing on.  Lots of stamped metal.   The timer, sensors and variable contrast head are amazing.  I'm HOPING it gives a better/smoother illumination field.  I really can't tell yet, but it ought to.  The head is a 6X9- much bigger on all sides than my 5X7 negative.  The negative carriers are exact to the negative size, but a little thin-feeling when you are used to your own museum board or Omega carriers.  I printed six negatives, made 12 prints and might have three that will survive.  Not very good odds.  I'm still in the learning curve though I have figured out all the buttons and switches.  The hanging focus knob is a trip, but very handy.

  Printed on 20X24 so it was some expensive lessons.  More printing tomorrow.

Enlarger set-up in the darkroom.  I was changing filters under the lens to change contrast.  Very nice to be able to move around in half-contrast grade steps.  Now I'm dialing it in on a control.  One know for soft and one knob for hard.  The timer measures the light the head is putting out and changes the timing interval to keep it the same for different colors of light, voltage shifts, et.  It has a beep so you can hear it speed up and slow down as things change.  Weird.  But accurate.

Happy with this print but it takes a lot of light.  That probably means its off a bit.  Scene was one of those negatives I kept "remembering" even though it was filed away in a box.  Shot off the side of the bridge at Butler Creek.  First time to print it.  Still sitting in enlarger for tomorrow.

Big copy of a rock wall from Shiprock trip.  Lighter print than it shows here.  Got it.  Just have to spot it.

Might be a little dark and soft on this one.  Very close.  Never printed before, though I have shot this scene several times on different trips.  I think I counted up six nights over the years on this ledge, one trapped behind the waterfall during a thunderstorm.  First light, so you have to sleep up there to see it.

Too dark in the shadows.  The rock has an incredible filigreed texture that I need to do more to bring out.

Completely missed on three other negatives.  Too dark on a little Anasazi rockwork in the Shiprock climber's cave and weird uneven printing in the other two.  It could be that this enlarger doesn't like dense negatives.  I'll find out more in the morning.

  Thanks for all your good works, Fred!

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