- The Master, Dan Winters (only kind of joking)"
— The Candid Frame interview
— The Candid Frame interview
I recently began to make silver gelatin prints and it’s been an extremely rewarding endeavor. There’s nothing like seeing a nice-looking print emerge from the developer as opposed to seeing it uploaded to a computer. Further, I’ve found that wet printing actually gives me more broader control over tonality and contrast than Lightroom/Silver Efex. The computer software are unmatched for their ability to precisely fine-tune parts of an image, but for “the look,” I’ve found that wet printing has the edge. Not surprising that many of the presets in the computer programs are based on emulating the silver gelatin look! Anyway, I’ve attached a series of work prints with quick explanations of each step. I’m happy with the results of this fascinating, iterative, analog process and hope to continue to add mini-tutorials about the process and my work in the future. Click-through the images to see the captions. Enjoy!
The digital version can be found on my flickr here.
Edit: in case the captions are hard to see on your screen, here they are:
1.This is the first test print I made (after determining my “base” exposure). I like to start with a low contrast filter, in this case a Kodak 1 1/2 (similar to Ilford’s Multigrade filtration system).
2. I then made the base, low-contrast exposure and then made test strips with a high contrast filter, to fill in the shadows without affecting the highlights.
3. This is my first split filter exposure, using my base low- and high-contrast filter exposures. I also burned in the sky, but the bright band means I did it poorly. That’s why it’s a test print!
4. I also decided that my initial base exposures were too dark, so I decreased each one by about 2 seconds. The sky was not burned in on this one.
5. I was happy with the new base exposures from the previous slide, so I tried to burn in the sky using a middle-grade filter and extending into the trees. Notice: no bright band! Ready for full size.
6. This is my first attempt at “full-size.” I like it and will make another just to be sure and so I can compare the two when toning.
7. This is the same exposure as in #6, but it has been toned in selenium. Toning increases permanence and also gives the print a nice purple/pink hue (not noticeable on this photo, unfortunately).
8. This is the final print. I decided to burn in the edges/corners to darken the left rock and the lower righthand corner. I also dodged the lake a bit to make it “pop.” This has also been toned.
Hello tumblr! I am excited to announce that my Etsy shop now offers handmade silver gelatin prints, from my darkroom to your wall. Silver gelatin prints offer unmatched tonality and archival qualities. Seriously, it’s amazing to hold a print that was just created from a negative that you shot and developed. It’s magic.
If you’re interested in purchasing a silver gelatin print from my shop (or one of my pigment-printed prints) follow the link above, or visit Dammel Photo Works directly via Etsy.
Hidden Falls Regional Park on Flickr.
Great Get-Together No. 3 on Flickr.
Great Get-Together No. 2 on Flickr.
Great Get-Together No. 1 on Flickr.
Gooseberry Falls, MN on Flickr.
Tettegouche State Park, MN on Flickr.
Out to sea on Flickr.
Birds on a Building on Flickr.
Shovel Point, Tettegouche State Park on Flickr.
I like panoramas and I like the dreamy images a Holga. In the past, I’ve experimented with in-camera panoramas using a Holga and with stitching two images (or more) together in the computer. Both have their charms, but I was really excited when I heard last year that Holga was coming out with a 6x12 (actually closer to a 1:2.35 cinematic aspect ratio) panoramic camera. It was initially priced at above $90, but recently the prices came down to the $50 range—-a steal for so much camera! I bought one for myself as a little gift for taking the bar exam. Anyway, it’s a perfect landscape camera, especially after a few modifications:
1. Velcro-ed half of a clothespin to the top for use as a long exposure trigger. There is no screw-in bulb shutter on the 120 Pan, but it’s pretty easy to shove a clothespin into the little space between the shutter lever (Holgas have a little lever on the side of the lens that you press down to activate the shutter, pretty simple).
2. Sprayed Plasti-Dip onto the shutter lever to provide added grip for the clothespin so that it wouldn’t slip out of place during a long exposure. Holga lenses are really easy to take off of the body (thinking about putting on on a 4x5 camera for a dreamy wide-angle; I think the image circle will be just large enough for 4x5 since it’s wide enough for 12cm film already). I just removed the shutter lever from the lens, sprayed it, and re-installed it.
3. Fit a 46-52cm step-up ring into the end of the lens so I can use my filters, especially my 10-stop B+W used in this image. The lens has no threads, but it’s plastic, so a step-up ring can be forced into the lens as a semi-permanent modification. This also allows use of a screw-in lens hood. I used a 28mm Nikon hood and there were no signs that it obstructed the image—-I think the field of view on the wide end is roughly 32mm (it’s a 90mm lens). I think the ability to use filters is really important for Holgas because of the one-speed shutter when not in bulb mode. Using the normal shutter gives you limited options as you are stuck with 1 film (give or take a stop or two depending on the film and the lighting), 1 shutter speed (about 1/100th), and 2 apertures (relatively small at f/13 and f/20). Use of heavy filters allows you to stretch out exposure time to seconds or minutes which expands the flexibility of the camera since you just need a tripod and some time for almost any lighting situation. Bright, bright sun is about 15 seconds with a 10-stop filter and ISO 100 film at f/22. The cool thing is is that you can shoot at high-noon and at dusk with the same film—-all you need to do is be a little thoughtful about filter use and have a tripod and be in bulb mode.
4. Created a chart with exposure values for situations I’m likely to encounter that I pasted onto the back of the camera. I measured the aperture opening and found aperture values of roughly f/20 and f/13 for the ‘sunny’ and ‘cloudy’ settings the Holga generously gives the user. I added shutter speeds for f/22 to my chart corresponding to the EV as well as the shutter speeds with a 10-stop filter. Now, I can keep the filter on the camera at all times (the viewfinder is separate) and don’t need a digital camera to meter or a light meter. For the above shot, I think I used an EV of 12 or so (cloudy) and had a corresponding exposure of 2 minutes. Fuji Acros has almost no reciprocity failure, so no need to account for that here.
This was a really fun camera to add to my arsenal. The images keep that dreamy Holga look, especially at the edges, but retain the detail and tonality inherent in a 6x12cm slice of film. More to come…
Gooseberry Falls on Flickr.