Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Was Wrong

So yesterday I stepped back into the darkroom to make some more prints. I made a couple simple, straight prints that came out ok. Then I went to print the above photo. The day I shot it I was using my Minolta X-700 with a red 25A filter on my lens - I purposely under-exposed by about a stop to try and get as much contrast as possible. When I scanned the negative and saw the results I was quite happy - I had been going for a super-contrasty sky like this ever since I came across a black and white portfolio in a photography magazine by a photographer whose name I wish I could remember. Anyways - I made the above enlargement and instantly knew it wouldn't do. So yesterday's post about keeping things simple for a while is worthless - as the great Hunter S. Thompson said, "if anythings worth doing, it's worth doing right".

So anyways I started thinking about what it would take to "burn in" the sky(give it more exposure than the rest of the image to darken it). I grabbed the piece of cardboard that I use to make my test strips and held it at an angle over the image so the bottom half and the tractor canopy where obscured. I knew I would have to keep it gently moving the whole exposure length to keep the image from having a hard outline of the cardboard. I first tried to burn in the sky for 15 seconds - it wasn't dark enough so I tried again at 30 second(a second exposre of 25 seconds was then used for the whole image). Definitely more what I was going for. It might be a little over-dramatic for some people's taste but it is what I "previsualized" - as my boy Ansel Adams would say.
Then I realized I could pull a little more detail out of the highlights in the tractor wheels and the planter. So I cut a hole in a sheet of black paper and burned a few more areas - the final result is the above image. I'm pretty happy with it - it is the best I've done yet - not quite perfect but now I'm on the right track.
Sway This was the first print I made yesterday - I should have used a higher contrast filter(compare it to my scanned and Photoshopped negativebut I didn't realize it under the dim light.
So if I'm going to print anything from now on I figure I should be learning all the processes and techniques at the same time - anything else would be a waste of paper.


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great article. You're right about doing things right....

Tim Fitzwater said...

You are right about me doing things right!

Anonymous said...

It was worth it!!!