Author Archives: jnanian

i am a freelance photographer in rhode island, usa. i use a variety of cameras ( film and digital ) and even shoot hand coated paper negatives and glass plates. i use caffenol developers... roast my own instead of using instant coffee and i sell silver recovery units. ( silver magnets ).

latest tinted images

i have been exposing film without processing it for about a year now.  i had about 20 or 25 rolls of assorted black/white and color
35mm and a couple of rolls of 120 film.  i also had about 30 sheets of assorted expired color and black and white 4×5 sheets.  i had wanted
to process the film months ago, but i’d cut my finger or something random so i couldn’t.  i am not someone who wears latex or nitril gloves when
i process film, i know i probably should, but when i process sheet film i can’t feel the sheets to pry them apart, and it makes it extra hard to shuffle
them in a tray.  i suppose if i used a hand tank, or still used hangers / tank, or a unicolor drum it wouldn’t matter much, but i put film in a tray and shuffling them from bottom to top, over and over again, first in water, then in developer for whatever amount of time i need to, and then in water and then in fix  and while i have attempted to use gloves, it just didn’t work well.  i always use them when i make cyanotypes, both coating and washing.  and i sometimes use them when i coat stuff with liquid emulsion. …  anyways  …

so i processed about 5 rolls of film and all 30 sheets on sunday.

they were all from last fall.  some local stuff, some things i made when i was out of town.

there was a regatta when i was in boston that saturday.  i don’t remember which day it was, i just remember it was sunny and cloudy and cold.
i parked by MIT and walked across the street with my box and made a handful of exposures.  then i drove to magazine beach and did the same sort
of thing.

regatta

black and white negative, hand tinted in photoshop

regatta

black and white (4×5 ) negative, tinted in photoshop.

Posted in photographs Tagged , , , , |

quebec sun prints

a few summers ago i went to quebec
i have wanted to make prints from the digital files, and the other day
i finally got a chance to do it.

the images are from a contact sheet made via photoshop, and inverted
and saved as a PDF file.  i brought it to my local copworld
and they made me a handful of overhead transparency images.

i grabbed one and a sheet of expired photo paper put them both into a contact frame and
put them out in the sun.  i’ve come to the conclusion the longer the image stays in the sun
the less it will fade when i scan it.  after a day or 2 in the sun i peeled the photo paper from the xerox negative
and scanned it.  the image is dark purplish brown on the paper, and i barely adjust the levels to bring it to “normal”

my scanner glass is dusty and scratchy so most of my time is spent removing that …

a couple i hand tinted in photoshop the others are as-is.

 

copper tone added in photoshop

statue in quebec
hand and bowl

xerox negative sun print

cannons at fortification colored in photoshop

slack

graffiti

sun print

old buildings cobble streets

Posted in alternative process photography, photographs Tagged , , , , , |

ilex seminat

admittedly i might have a few too many lenses.  i don’t have curio cabinets full of them, or 4 shelves piled high but i am always a sucker for a cheap lens that might be interesting.    the merriam-webster online dictionary defines interesting as holding the attention.  its usually the cheap unwanted lenses that hold my attention.  i bought a speed graphic camera as my entry to large format photography back in around 1988 from an old camera store called e. p. levines.  i bought it back when it was still on lincoln street in boston

before it moved to 23 drydock in south boston.

back then it was kind of an unloved camera, every photographer back in the day had and used and sold one, and i was picking it up.  i was more than happy because not only could i use shuttered lenses ( it came with a tominon 127 in a polaroid press shutter ) it had a curtain shutter so i could use the camera with enlarger lenses, and cheap unwanted barrel lenses.  i still use the tominion and while over the years folks who know lens design and much more than i do about optics have told me that the lens does not cover a 4×5 sheet of film, i have used it for decades and never had dark corners or problems.  maybe i lucked out?  i’m not sure, but i do know that because there have been so many unloved polaroid mp-3 copy cameras flooding the online auction site over the years and people don’t believe the lens can work well with a 4×5 camera, the lens is an unloved lens as well.

so over the years i have bought and used barrel and enlarger lenses with this speed graphic.  if you are wondering what a speed graphic is or what i am talking about, its one of those old fold-up  newspaper cameras press photographers used back in the day.  they look like this

and the curtain / focal plane shutter makes them a great camera for playing around with.  you can fashion a lens out of pretty much anything, from a 5 and dime magnifying glass (cheap magnifying glasses) to a 18th century brass barrel lens that cost as much as a used car (brass lenses on google shopping ) …  i tend to shy away from things that cost very much money, but over the years i have bought these unloved lenses and years later they are loved which brings me to the ilex seminat.

i bought this lens more than a decade ago, before the soft lens gold rush had really started.  people really weren’t buying old brass lenses because no one really  cared much about how they might give a nice soft image if shot wide open, without much effort.  people hadn’t been bitten by the wet plate photography bug yet, so no one really needed a super fast large format lens so their portrait subject didn’t fall asleep during the exposure.  i’ve photographed portraits with slow lenses, and paper negatives and counted to 45 or 50 or longer than that.  while my subject was able to sit still and hold a pose, without a victorian head clamp, i am not sure how easy it would be to do on a regular basis, and if the subject was a kid, forget about it.  a guy on ebay.  he starts all his auctions at .77¢ and has a flair for selling great stuff.  anyways, the lens cost, i don’t know $40 or 50$, shipped to me from sunny california and it arrived a few days later.  ( sorry i don’t have a photograph of my particular lens but it looks kind of like this but mine is in an old ilex general shutter.  it was described as being elusive or mysterious, the seller described it to a T—elusive.

i usually don’t stop the lens down, i don’t see much of a point in stopping down a lens unless it is some sort of documentary project where some sort of context and extreme detail is required.  in that respect i live my photographic life by the HABS/HAER code. you might have heard of HABS, back in december 2015 a position opened up in washington DC to be one of the few photographers who work on HABS Documentation jobs full time.  the photography is straight ahead photographic documentation, no soft lenses, everything exposed at f22, descriptive views, architectural history/descriptions, and the images aresometimes used together with measured drawings ( tape measure measuring a structure and doing detailed renderings, elevations &c ) and a technical research paper about the building, its historial significance, the builder, style &c ….  while with the seminat i could stop down to f22 i don’t really use it for HABS work, i have modern coated lenses that do that job well, the seminat is for other”stuff”.   i like to put the shutter on TIME so i can just do a long exposure and not deal with short exposures.  i don’t have a lenscap so i use the focal plane shutter in the speed graphic.  it takes a little while to learn how to focus with this lens to get the most out of it.  while making portraits with it works great, and it does give a nice diffuse image i like photographing outdoors or through a window and letting the f3.5 and lens design do their things.

ilex seminat wide open

 

 

garage floor and tree

 

retina

multi hour retina image
reversed tinted with photoshop

 

leaves and branches and sky

seminat as a close up lens on a 5×7 camera.

seminat on a 5×7 camera.

over the years i have done research on the ilex seminat, there really isn’t much written about it at all.  i’ve read old photography magazines+ads on google books, sometimes they are there and available to look at (usually they talk about the cinema lens ilex sold with the same name)  but very little if anything is written on this seminat.  sometimes just buying a cheap lens on a whim works out.  it might take a little playing with to figure out what the lens is good for and what it can do, and usually, if you don’t want it, you can put it up for sale for about what you paid for it, and get your $$ back, unless of course you bought things ahead of the curve and in that case you will be getting the loved price for your formerly unloved lens.

Posted in Misc. Tagged , , , , , |

difference between lenses and images

there are all sorts of lenses.  some are meant to be sharp and corrected and some are not.  the ones that are not are usually soft focus lenses, which were made in the 1800s and into the 1900s some as pictorial lenses ( they diffused the image so if the user wanted to photograph romantic scenes, panterly scenes &c the softness would add to the quality ) some were sold as portrait lenses because they were fast, and with slow processes ( daguerreotype, wet plates, early dry plate &c  ) you wanted as fast an exposure as possible.  you’ve probably seen old photographs of people, and their eyes look kind of ghoul-like,  its because they blinked during a long exposure, not because they were dead or possessed by evil spirits.  there are a lot of old lens designs some of the oldest used in cameras were the wollaston meniscus lens and the achromatic doublet / french landscape lens, also called the acromatic meniscus lens.

you can check out an wiki article on it here  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_photographic_lens_design

if you have an old box camera, a falling plate camera and other fun stuff, you might have removed the lens from it.  you probably saw there was a “choke” that looked like a barrel with a hole cut into it infront of the lens that acted like a fstop.  that lens might be an achromatic meniscus lens or a wollaston meniscus lens.  if you ever tried to put it on another camera or your enlarger without the choke, you will have noticed that it is really hard to focus.  daguerre and others noticed the same thing so they put the same sort of fstop in front.  it brought things in focus.

over the years i have played around with modern lenses and made soft images with them.  the modern lenses might have been a modern G or D nikon lens or an older tessar, or zukio or pentax lens, or something i took off another camera and put on a 4×5 camera as a taking lens. i have a variety of images, some made with soft focus lenses ( veritar, and maybe verito and meniscus lenses ) as well as these other modern lenses but i won’t tell you which one is which.  if you can tell, that is great, i am sure if i was shown these images, in print form printed by a lab or in the dark by me i wouldn’t be able to tell which was which, and to be honest the only reason i know is because i remember taking them.

 

 

hurt finger

last one

3 of 4

2 of 4

first of 4

jim’s gift

soft , east france

off of route 1a southern ri

soft image of power lines

spft image in a parking lot

soft image from print

Posted in Misc., technique and style Tagged , , , |

make photographs like it is the last time

sometimes i make a photograph and it is the last time i see whatever it is i am photographing.

 

this is a gas station that was on this corner for decades, and it was torn down in 2011 to make way for a new gas station.  the new gas station was a giant self service kind of place, it has something like 10 or 12 pumps and a shack in the middle.  it has no ” character or charm ”   it is just a gas station.

 

before the station was built i wanted to photograph the old one.  i wanted to photograph the building and lights because when they tore it down i wouldn’t be able to remember what was there.  i’d eventually forget like most people what it was like how shabby, run down and  dirty it was.  the gas station wasn’t one of a kind, and it didn’t win any awards for uniqueness, but in this day and age of cookie cutter everything, it was kind of nice to see something that was from maybe the 1940s or 50s, from the last cookie cutter age.  this filling station lasted maybe 50 years, i don’t think the new station they put in its place will last half that long.

it will  look shabby and run down faster and that’s ok because it really didn’t take as much effort to make. there is no polished ceramic tile, or gull wing lights, its just a least effort gas station.  maybe in a few years when it starts to look bad and maybe have some character, i might decide to photograph it.

 

gas station sandy lane

torn down 2011

Posted in Misc., photographs Tagged , |

10 year old epson 4870 vs all in one epson xp-640

i do my best to listen to people who know more than me and try to be informed whenever i purchase something new.  recently i had to do a little research because our canon printer pixma 4200 stopped working.  it wasn’t a high end printer but not the bottom of the barrel and it lasted about 11 years.  i went online and tried to unclog the head but it didn’t do much good, so, after looking around to try to find something that might print “stuff”  decided to get an epson xp-640.  it looks about the same size as the canon but it is higher.  it has a scanner built in ( no transparency lid ) and works as a “copier” and scans to a file.  i have never really been a fan of these all in one printers, i thought they were a good way to buy something with “extra stuff” that might not even be useful, and i was wrong.  first off, the scanner uses wifi so i don’t need to deal with cables, which is great because i don’t really want all these cables.  the ink is pretty affordable.  no, i’m not being paid by anyone to say that.  with the canon, i was buying all the inks about once every 6 months.  it cost me about $70-80 to buy the ink, canon ink, not off-brand that might clog my printer head ( i know, it clogged the head anyways .. )  the epson printer cost less than the inks i would have bought for the canon, and the replacement tanks cost a fraction of what the canon was costing me.  when i asked the sales guy, and a friend at a camera store, what sort of lifespan i should get out of the printer and scanner i was told a few years, so i bought the extended warranty too, for a few dollars extra so if something does go wrong, it isn’t pro rated and i get a replacement/$$. i used to have an epson printer, before the canon, and i kind of liked it, so i was looking forward to setting it up and using it.  i had a little trouble with the wifi, so i called and someone at epson helped me set it up, and it was painless.

before i bought the printer i talked to a friend i trusted at a camera store and asked him about the scanner.  i have been using a 4870 for about as long as i had been using the canon, so i am used to it, and like how it has a transparency lid big enough to scan a 5×7 negative.  i have never really had trouble with scans not looking OK, and it has  treated me well over the years.  i have had problems with it over the years and had to take it apart from time to time.  i found information online that helped me when i  needed it.  i was able to wipe the schmutz out from under the glass and clean it, and i was able to lubricate the scanning bar when it was making a clunky noise.   that all happened a few years ago, now i just dodge the little marks on the scan glass and i am used to “dust removal” as a necessity (with photoshop).  anyhow i asked my friend what the scanner on the printer was like and he said that it was probably at least as good as the 4870, seeing it was old and the printer/scanner is new.  i wasn’t really sure if i should believe him or not, after all sales people like to sell things.

 

i have a cyanotype i made a few weeks ago and i scanned it with the 2 different scanners, and 3 different drivers.  the epson 640 / epson scan 2, ( the bundled software that came with it ) vuescan /640, and the 4870 / epsonscan ( the bundled software that came with it ).  to be honest, i thought the scanner was going to be weak, after all it is an “all in one that cost something like 80$ ” so i set the bar low …

i have to admit it scans as good as the 4870, and vuescan is fantastic, i can’t say enough nice things about that product.  i bought vuescan BEFORE i bought the 4870 when i had an acer scanner and no driver, so something like 12  years ago i bought vuescan and have updated it flawlessly, over the years.

i’ve made a collage of the 3 scans from the two scanners, and can not tell any of them apart.  i originally scanned the envelope at 1200dpi and enlarged the bottom of the glass that says “anchor” and they all looked pretty much the same.  i put the vuescan image as the base, the 4870 as the top of the glass ( bottom of the image ) and scan 2 as the bottom of the glass/top of the image.

 

i guess the moral of the story is that all in one scanner/printers can be pretty nice, even if they cost 80$, maybe have a 2-3 years lifespan and you are a skeptic.

 

scanner show down

epson 4870 and all in one 640

Posted in Misc. Tagged , , |

more providence ri

i live not to far from the jewel of new england and have taken up making digital photographs

of the skyline, and soon to be the pre 1950s architecture …  and making digital negatives at kinko’s copies i’m not quite sure which i like better small or larger i haven’t made a full 8×10 film negative yet, maybe with the right image it will look nice, as is, i have made contact sheets and  1/2 8x10s the camera has no issue, it would probably work OK even with a cheap cellphone snappy,  i’m certain film negatives would look great too.

 

here is the latest  …

 

1920s skyscraper, 1020s look

sun print digital negative

digital negative sun print

long view industiral natinal bank

sun print, digital negative

tower of the industrial national bank building

sun print digital negative

industrial national bank

digital negative

chimneys and roofs

kink

hybrid xerox negaive

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electric midnight blue

working on a new project i am going to call electric midnight blue it uses a varient of the sunprints i have been making these images were all made today in overcast sun in about 1-2 hours next group will be cyanotypes, and thinking of making them really big down the road ..  for now they will be small

 

sun prints polymax rc

electric midnight providence

Posted in alternative process photography, Misc., photographs, technique and style Tagged , , , , |

contact sheets

aside from sending rolls of 110 or 127vp to the local drug store or fotomat, or mail away to yorks i processed my own black and white film.  when i was in high school i learned about developing film, and putting the developed, procesed black and white negatives into those plastic sleeves.  for the better part of 10 years i put a sheet of photo paper under the developed film and exposed it in a bright light for  a few seconds, and then into the developer and fix and wash like a lot of people, contact sheets were my go-to way of viewing negatives after they were shot, processed and ready to print.

i’d look at the sheets, and circle or “X” the views to print or not to print, and keep track of things.  in some cases the contact sheet is all i have left after i had a flood and a bunch of my best negatives turned to clear film / emulsion soup.  as time wen ton for some reason, maybe it was becasue $$ was scarce and i wanted to save my paper for prints, or because so many of my exposures were all over the place that a contact sheet would only show part of the story, or maybe i just got lazy, and stopped making contact prints.  i got good at looking at the negative and seeing the print reversed.  i saw the contrast and somehow decided it was good enough.

i miss making contact sheets, but unfortunately 27 years worth of procesed film to make contact sheets of ,or 4×5 or bigger negatives to make contact sheets of is a daunting task and i would rather not bother.  back in the late 90s i bought a umax1200 scanner and it was fantastic.  it did everyting i needed, and i think i still have it in a box.  it was nice becasue i could scann all size film upto 5×7.  and i started scanning film instead of making contact sheets and it worked out as a good compromise.

i use a couple of nikon digital slr’s as well as film, they aren’t new but a d100 and d200,  they do what i need them to do, and i like that.  when i make a  bunch of exposures i still make contact sheets of them believe it or not,  sometimes they are postiiveprooof sheets, and sometimes they are negatives.  today i wandered around the streets or providence ri, and have plans for digital negatives.  i worked on the frames and turned them into contact sheets to bring to the xerox shop.  im not a machine gunner, i don’t click and look except once in a while to make sure the meter was working.   the camera is set to 1 frame at a time and i take my time as if i am using a film camera.  if i had a film camera i would have shot just as many views and sat on the curb or stone wall to unload and load the camera and maybe i would have runout of film.  i’ll be heading out to staples tomorrow to see what is what.  my local copy shop charges 10x what staples charges for regular copies, so whilei want to support my local shop im not that rich.  i’ll be getting paper as well as OHP film to see if there is a difference and making cyanotypes soon.

contact sheet

walkabout

contact sheet

walkabout

contact sheet

walkabout

contact sheet

walkabout

contact sheet

walkabout

contact sheet

walkabout

Posted in alternative process photography, Misc., photographs Tagged , , , |

TMY retina image

as i have been making long exposures again

here is another one on kodak tmax 400 film

this is a very long exposure, reversed negative tweeked levels and color removed and then tint added in photoshop

 

retina

multi hour retina image
reversed tinted with photoshop

Posted in alternative process photography, film development technique, Misc., technique and style Tagged , , |

stuff for sale

i typically buy, and never sell,

its time to sell off some of my stuff

 

polaroid procam  untested, $50

polaroid 1step with a bunch of old film $25

pentax auto110 “kit”  $100
winder, tele, wide and normal lens, teleconverter
bunch of filters
bunch of film
ratty-pouch

toyo cx “KIT”

camera, recessed lens board, flat lens board, speed graphic to cx lensboard ( RARE, NOT MADE ANYMORE ) bag bellows  $800

 

silver magnets – 70$

trickle tanks  – 216$

 

cameras made to order to make retina prints  ( prices vary ) $30 and up

reproductions of original photography ( http://jnanian.imagekind.com )

Posted in Misc., things for sale Tagged |

tmy 400 retina film negative

like the last image i uploaded this one is also on photographic film

black white kodak tmy 400.

great film for all around photography. it is also a nice film for making 2 hour long exposures.

2:30-4:30 sunday nov 27 made with a speed graphic and ilex seminat lens ( at 3.5 ) outside was bright, the plant was backlit, with very little room light on it after 2 hours i grabbed the film and scanned it and inverted it, and tweaked the levels a bit (i made a large slow scan and the film was extremely grey from the light beam) instead of cropping the junk out of the image, i cropped the image in the film.

 

here it is:

retina image (film )

2 hours, inverted+levels tweaked in photoshop

 

 

Posted in Misc., photographs Tagged , |

retina FILM print

yeah i know photo paper + retina print but i have made retina film prints before and even retina glass plate images too !

 

 

inverted, desaturated contrast-tweaked and a little brownish tone added

inverted, desaturated contrast-tweaked and a little brownish tone added

 

retina print

porch

 

today i made with ilford film  ( it seems  )

a retina print tinted.

 

you would think paper is so slow it would take a huge exposure for paper and none for film but this film was exposed for at least an hour.  unlike the color film or plate experiment it was not 1-4 hours …. and the results were OK but not like a super exposed image, unfortunately the sun sets early in the fall !

NEXT TIME i’ll do this in the am or early afternoon so i get more sun !

anyhow

here is the tinted ( photoshop! ) retina print

tweeted

inverted and colorized

Posted in Misc. Tagged , , |

cyclone negative cyanotype

a couple of days ago i was making some more cyanotypes i loaded up some contact frames with waxed negatives to see if i could get a better print than i did with my old coated paper some of those prints just didnt’ work out ..  and at the same time i found an old hand coated paper negative made with the cyclone #3 a while ago, that was just sitting on the tabletop.  i had cleaned up quite a bit a week or 2 ago:  i swept the floor;  i organized;  i put things away;  i stacked things;  i found things i hadn’t seen in a while.  the paper negative was a rediscovery, even though it wasn’t really lost.  it seems like it was coated on xerox paper, it is thin and durable.  not sure what emulsion is on it, maybe foma?  maybe my home-brew, not sure.  it has a nice contrast and look and i stuck it in the contact frame.  the waxed negatives took a ton of time before to expose, so i was banking on a day or 2 in the sun for all 3 of the cyanotypes.  it was a lot more diffuclt in late october because the sun is low, and it moves across the sky differently than before, so i had to really follow the sun around with the print frames. i did OK i suppose, but i was more in open shade than i was in the sun, and that is OK too.  the print is made from the same classic formula i coated the others with.  and after 2 days in the sun i washed it in water and added a little hydrogen peroxide to finish the development, and eventually i painted some areas of the print with dilute washing soda to give a yellowish hue to some areas. anyhow, its the kitchen table and window and chairs. not sure if i am going to add my own colors or leave it, the blue tones of cyanotypes are starting to grow on me.

 

classic, and blue

window table and chairs
classic cyanotype H2O2 to develop out faster as i always do, and a little washing soda to bleach and ad color

http://jnanian.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/e7b40dbc-7aba-4bf2-ae7f-355201cb53c4/RecentUploads

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper, using vintage equipment Tagged , , , , , , , |

the honey jar

there is a bee keeper on the other side of town i like to buy honey from.  i usually drive down his drivewaywhich looks like it isn’t really there from the head of the street, but you just make a left and follow the dirt road.  you arrive and there are honey bees flying around doing their thing.  if i was my younger self i wouldn’t be very happy, i’ve been bitten by bees or yellow jackets and wasps and hornets when i was a kid, and i have a healthy misunderstood fear about honey bees.  they just do their thing, its the other “stuff” that want to sting you.  just yesterday i was talking with an old friend who told me about how he moved a school desk in his back yard and a cyclone of thousands of yellow jackets came out and chased him inside.  he’s the same guy who told me a story years ago, when i mentioned we had yellow jackets flying out of a hole in the ground, he told me about hiking in california or someplace and stopping at an overlook of some sort and he heard the hum of high tension wires / electricity.  he looked around and there were no power lines but he noticed yellow jackets coming out of the ground.  he was standing on a giant hive …  he kind of kept walking and didn’t look back.

anyways, the bee keeper …

i’ve gone there a few times and told friends and family about him.  he goes by the name papa roger in case you want some, or want to buy some bees or bee keeping supplies https://sites.google.com/site/paparogersfarm/contact the first batch of honey i got from him was in a big quart jar, and it was black as tar, and amazing.  the 2nd batches were in smaller jars and the usual amber color.  we’re out now and i have to bring my jars back to papa roger to be re-filled with his local honey.  some say that consuming honey is good if you have allergies to pollen, hay fever &c.  im not sure if it is true, or not, i just like his honey.

this is one of the jars. i made some cyanotypes from it.  i used fresh mixed cyanotype emulsion, the “classic” recipe there are as many recipes for making classic cyanotypes as there are people who make them

the one i used:

50 g. Ferric Ammonium Citrate (8 oz. H2O)

Part B 35 g. Potassium Ferricyanide ( 8oz. H2O)

the blues are deep and dark and beautiful.  the cyanotypes i had been making the last few weeks were made with pre-coated paper from 7+ months ago, i could see the difference immediately the fresh coated, fresh made paper is more sensitive to light, and depending on the batch i used the blue can be more intense.  the contrast is really high so i have decided to use the sun in open shade if i can for at least part of the exposure and direct sun for part of the exposure, it gives a fuller image. anyways here are 3 honey jars

3 jars

hydrogen peroxide added to wash water, then a tiny bit of washing soda.

Posted in alternative process photography, images on hand coated paper Tagged , , , , |