evening light in the woods

martin-f5

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and a second one,
I'm really should reactivate my darkroom asap, I miss that so much
It's still the print on paper which is my thing

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Joanna Carter

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I'm really should reactivate my darkroom asap, I miss that so much
It's still the print on paper which is my thing
I don't miss the smells, the mess and the interminable test strips necessary to make just one print.

Get youself a decent scanner and an A3+ (or bigger) printer and experience the joy of prints, without the worry of whether the weather is too warm/cold. What's more, once you've prepared the image in (software of choice), you can make as many copies as you need without having to go through all that printing plan stuff every time.

Unless, of course, you're a masochist :rolleyes::p
 

blnoli

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Hi Martin, looks great.

I have done something similar recently.

evening light in the woods, Foma 100 in D76 1+1

1657
 

martin-f5

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I don't miss the smells, the mess and the interminable test strips necessary to make just one print.

Get youself a decent scanner and an A3+ (or bigger) printer and experience the joy of prints, without the worry of whether the weather is too warm/cold. What's more, once you've prepared the image in (software of choice), you can make as many copies as you need without having to go through all that printing plan stuff every time.

Unless, of course, you're a masochist :rolleyes::p
never ever I'll move to digital printing. Even with finest paper it's never the same.
 

Ian Grant

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never ever I'll move to digital printing. Even with finest paper it's never the same.

I have an Epson A3+ printer, I've used the best papers. I can and have made excellent Inkjet prints using archivally permanent pigments. However the process is boring and less creative than darkroom printing, takes longer, costs are about the same. Repeatability isn't an issue I can go back later and make more prints and maybe even re-interpret if I want to.

I'm not limited by the size of my printer, or even tray sizes in the darkroom, I've made 6ft x4ft prints easily in the past, much larger with more specialist emulsions and equipment. The great thing about darkroom prints is the flexibility.

You don't need to own your own darkroom there's plenty for hire at reasonable costs.

Ian
 

David M

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Are we going to go down these well-worn tracks? Does anyone have something new to say?
 

Joanna Carter

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never ever I'll move to digital printing. Even with finest paper it's never the same.
In that case, do what we do: scan the neg and adjust it in Photoshop (other software is available), then send the file to Ilford's excellent Lambda printing service - we have nine 30" x 24" prints done that way and they are simply "gob-smacking".

What's more, because they are printed on silver paper, nobody can tell that we "processed" the image on a computer.

I have an Epson A3+ printer, I've used the best papers. I can and have made excellent Inkjet prints using archivally permanent pigments. However the process is boring and less creative than darkroom printing, takes longer, costs are about the same.
The only thing I find boring about the hybrid workflow is de-spotting the image in Photoshop. But then I would have to do that with inks to every wet print after it was printed.

Less creative? No. The process that I believe Martin refers to as contrast grading gives the possibility of endless renditions of an image, just as dodging and burning over multiple exposures would on an enlarger. The big difference is in the amount of paper and chemistry required for test strips and prints - with the digital route - none.

If I wanted to, I could even reset all the adjustments for each print and start again, just like using a printing plan in the darkroom.

Digital printing is every bit as flexible as the darkroom. With large format printers, I can create any size of print I want - see my comment about Ilford's service - silver prints up to 50" wide by whatever length will fit on the roll of paper. I could print up to 64" wide with an Epson SC-P20000 printer (if it weren't for the cost ;)) but then I would rather simply send the file or take it to a pro lab on a memory stick for that kind of size.

I simply don't have the room for an LF darkroom, so would have to rent a darkroom but those are not easy to find within less than two hours drive here in rural France - so I might as well prepare the image myself digitally and take or send the file to a lab. Or, for the really special images, send them to Ilford.
 

martin-f5

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have you guys seen the ILFORD film? the grain holders in the gelatin?
Hey it's not the same scanning this and printing it, yes I can do that too, it's beautiful but something different.
Having good light from above crossing the negs and hitting grain on paper again is so different.
And what counts is the image on paper in your hand.

Printing with inkjet is not too bad, but there are digital cameras for :)
 

Joanna Carter

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If you mean holes rather than holders, then, yes, I have come across that with Delta 100. Which is one of the reasons I would rather scan than use an enlarger, because, with a scan, I can get rid of the pinholes for once and all when preparing the image, instead of having to spot every single print I make. Or do you make a feature out of dark spots in your prints? :)

Martin, I think you, like many, have a fetish for sniffing hypo, coupled with a masochistic tendency that makes you want to do things the hard way, even if the easier way produces identical results (when sent to Ilford anyway) ;)

Even with non-digital photography, things have moved on - there are easier and better ways of making images, or do you still use glass plates rather than this new-fangled film stuff?

Unfortunately, digital cameras don't (yet) produce 300Mpx images like a 5x4 camera can - at least, not without laboriously stitching a load of smaller images together.

I think some also underestimate the level of skill and expertise required to produce a high quality digital print from a sheet of film. In my experience, having talked with a master (wet) printer, we go through very much the same process. It's just that the digital route wastes less paper and chemistry - but definitely not time and effort.
 

David M

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There is no accounting for taste.
For example, some people find cricket interesting and devote whole, irrecoverable days of their lives to watching it. Not playing, just watching fifteen people wearing special clothing and standing in a field. If you've ever seen some cricket, you'll know that sometimes, some of them move. By comparison, the smell of fixer seems entirely tolerable (and odourless fixer is available).

In this digital/wet debate, everything that everybody says holds an element of truth, but in creative work (we do think we're creative, don't we?) personal preferences are important.
 

Ian Grant

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I don't think anyone under estimates the work needed to make high quality scan and subsequent Inkjet print. However steps on a computer are reversible and a lot of experimenting can be done without incurring material costs.

Darkroom printing is definitely more challenging, it becomes easier with experience to the point of being second nature, actaulayy subsequently scanning to make prints becomes very easy with darkroom experience. This is why almost all Photo degree course have re-installed darkrooms and require students to learn to print again.

There's nothing archaic in making silver gelatin prints, using glass plate, alternative processes etc. It's not for everyone but that has to be respected for those that do.

One option which a friend who had no darkroom used was shoot LF, scan, make digital negatives and Platinum/Palladium print. Edwin Land predicted the hybridisation and Analog/Digital crossovers over 30 years ago, I have a Platinum print made from a digital camera file. We all choose our routes individually.

Ian
 

Joanna Carter

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… By comparison, the smell of fixer seems entirely tolerable (and odourless fixer is available).
My guess is that the odourless stuff is for those who have to convert their bathroom and the rest of the family don't want to mix perfumes :p
In this digital/wet debate, everything that everybody says holds an element of truth, but in creative work (we do think we're creative, don't we?) personal preferences are important.
Absolutely!
I don't think anyone under estimates the work needed to make high quality scan and subsequent Inkjet print. However steps on a computer are reversible and a lot of experimenting can be done without incurring material costs.
Not always. Helen is very particular about how her prints look. Not being particularly tech savvy, she will stand behind me, issuing edicts as to how to dodge, burn or change the contrast of a part of the image.

Sometimes, even after she deems herself satisfied with the image on screen, we will print it, leave it to dry and, upon re-examining it in the cold light of day, will end up going back to Photoshop to correct some part or another and doing another print.

As you have mentioned, there really isn't that much difference in cost.
Darkroom printing is definitely more challenging, it becomes easier with experience to the point of being second nature, actaulayy subsequently scanning to make prints becomes very easy with darkroom experience. This is why almost all Photo degree course have re-installed darkrooms and require students to learn to print again.
I learned the basics of darkroom printing nearly fifty years ago. Without that, I think I would not have the same skills for the digital side of things.
There's nothing archaic in making silver gelatin prints, using glass plate, alternative processes etc. It's not for everyone but that has to be respected for those that do.
Indeed. My beef in some conversations I have had, is that some "wetties" come across as having the opinion that, if it's digital, it can never be as good as silver gelatine. Thankfully, Ilford have given the lie to that assumption :cool:
One option which a friend who had no darkroom used was shoot LF, scan, make digital negatives and Platinum/Palladium print. Edwin Land predicted the hybridisation and Analog/Digital crossovers over 30 years ago, I have a Platinum print made from a digital camera file. We all choose our routes individually.
I think that is an excellent idea.

I teach at our local photo club and find that getting people to set up their digital cameras is far harder than teaching LF. All those interminable menus, together with the assumption that, if you leave it in automatic, the camera will produce good pictures. What's more, you shouldn't need to do any post processing :rolleyes:

In the end, it is all down to "what turns you on". Somewhere in the back of my head, I would love to go back to a non-digital approach but, honestly, after so many years of hybrid work, I find that I prefer sitting at a screen to faffing around in a darkroom. Which more than likely makes me just a little bit weird :oops:

Oh, and I never could get the hang of spotting prints :p
 

Ian Grant

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I learned the basics of darkroom printing nearly fifty years ago. Without that, I think I would not have the same skills for the digital side of things. . . . . . . . . . .

In the end, it is all down to "what turns you on". Somewhere in the back of my head, I would love to go back to a non-digital approach but, honestly, after so many years of hybrid work, I find that I prefer sitting at a screen to faffing around in a darkroom. Which more than likely makes me just a little bit weird :oops:

Oh, and I never could get the hang of spotting prints :p
I started teaching photography nearly 50 years ago :D

My personal work has always been fully Analog except for one University MA project which was fully digital. However having worked professionally producing graphics alongside photographs I've used digital in one form or other since the early to mid 1990's, often output was for print in terms of leaflets, catalogues, posters etc. So I fully appreciate what's possible either way.

For me darkroom printing is an escape from dependency on computers, as is LF, but then I made my first print in the early 1960's and just over 10 years later began using LF.

Ian

Maybe if I didn't have a darkroom and enjoy wet printing I'd use digital print output for my personal work. I'm currently having to make high quality digital files for a printed project and find I have no trouble matching my darkroom prints and initially made inkjet prints to compare (I'd also made Platinum/Plalladium prints of the same images).
 

martin-f5

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Well, it depends... as always.
I don't need hyper prefect shoots in points of crispy sharp, well balanced and perfectly developed.
I try to catch emotions, blur, moving elements in the wind and stories to be told.
Evening light in the woods was made at 34°C with the late evening wind, bees were humming and daily work has been done.
It's not too easy with LF and it forces ones mind, calm down try to wait as long as to be needed for the shadows and light.
Printing this in darkroom on unknown paper, listening Schubert or jazz on the radio is like traveling far away.
 

David M

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Joannah's Ilford process seems to be doubly hybrid. A wet negative is scanned and adjusted digitally and then printed on wet paper, (although not sloshed in trays of course.) Have I got that right? I'm not quite sure what this says about the ultimate qualities of either method.
For a well-made print, (and that's important) I've found that the only thing that always distinguishes wet from dry is that so far, inkjet printers can't do curly edges as well as darkrooms. When framed or matted, it's pretty well impossible to tell.
On further thought, I've realised that there is another difference. There are many more paper surfaces available for digital printing and some strongly textured surfaces might be a clue
That subject probably needs another thread. Does anyone here use textured papers?

Even more thought (while getting a fresh cup of coffee) suggests that this discussion seems to assume monochrome images. It's a long time since I made a darkroom colour print and nowadays, I'm quite happy to bang off the occasional digital colour print without being concerned about ultimate quality. I did find there was little joy in darkroom colour printing.
Perhaps I missed that magic moment when the image begins to form in the developer. No matter how often it happens, like rainbows and sunsets, the magic is still there. By contrast, colour was all done inside a machine, very much like a digital print.

A small note on odourless fixer. I think I was mistaken. It's the stop bath that some people find intolerable. Citric acid is an acceptable substitute and there may be others. I hadn't thought of family bathrooms, but it's a good point.
 

Joanna Carter

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Joannah's Ilford process seems to be doubly hybrid. A wet negative is scanned and adjusted digitally and then printed on wet paper, (although not sloshed in trays of course.) Have I got that right? I'm not quite sure what this says about the ultimate qualities of either method.
Essentially, yes. Ilford have a "laser" printer that exposes silver gelatine paper that is then developed as per a traditional darkroom print. As I mentioned earlier, the quality is superb.
For a well-made print, (and that's important) I've found that the only thing that always distinguishes wet from dry is that so far, inkjet printers can't do curly edges as well as darkrooms.
Heheheh. Although Ilford do return their prints in a tube, which can emulate that ;)
On further thought, I've realised that there is another difference. There are many more paper surfaces available for digital printing and some strongly textured surfaces might be a clue
That subject probably needs another thread. Does anyone here use textured papers?
I have used matt photo rag papers before but have settled on a satin or lustre finish that is neither glossy nor matt. IOW, as similar to traditional paper as possible. For B&W, I have settled on Baryta paper for digital printing as there really isn't anything quite like it to my mind.
 

David M

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I have friends who have tried to explain the fascination. It seems that you have to be caught early, as the Jesuits say. One sensible explanation was that it is pleasant to spend a day loafing about in the sunshine with your friends, a couple of bottles and a picnic, plus a ready-made explanation for getting away.
Some people may regard large-format photography as... (what can I say?) ...a non-standard occupation. Would it be more widespread it was featured on television?
Now I mention it, although there are occasional photography programmes, would it be a welcome thing if there were a regular series, perhaps aimed somewhere between cooking programmes and Sky at Night? Photography is now very widespread, despite the bicycling craze.
 
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