Category Archives: photographs

examples of latest photography i have been involved in

peroxide based photographic reversals

im back at attempting to making direct postive reversals again.

there have been a number of different ways to do these over the years,
some use toxic chemistry ( sulfuric acid dichromate bleach ) some use a somewhat dangerous process
( wet plate ) and others are rather finicky ( silver gelatin ferrotypes ).  there used to be a direct postive paper made by ilford
which was a single step, use normal photographic chemistry ( reglar old developer ) and it would develop a postive, instead of a negative,
these days when one says direct positive that is what comes to mind first …  the good folks at galaxy have come up with their version of direct postive
( not sure what is in it, probably sulfuric acid ) i havne’t tried their chemistry yet but from what it seems in their website/video it seems pretty fun and easy.

there is another reversal process that uses permanganate instead of sulfuric acid …

i’ve tried a few of these processes ..  the ilford paper is by far the easiest …  the permanganate one worked OK but i messed up the PH of the clearing bath.
i love making silver gelatin tintypes, but it is a finicky process …

a few weeks ago ( maybe a month ago ) joe van cleave posted a video that was reposted on photrio.com ( neé apug ) that detailed
his experiments with a reveral process he discovered someplace online, and through conversations he had with the person who posted it.

the process uses hydrogen peroxide and citric acid as a bleach, no clearing bath and if you go to joe’s website ( strongly recommend lots of fun stuff there ..
he is a paper negative artist, afghan camera user and an avid typist ! )  you will see his 3 videos and the images he has made with the process.
be advised he uses STRONG hydrogen peroxide, about 15%, which can be purchased at a variety of places,it is not the weaker less concentrated hydrogen peroxide
you might find at your local pharmacy.  i am kind of a scardie-cat when it comes to concentrated chemistr.  its not that i don’t have good lab-technique, or
a rubber apron, gloves or a respirator, its just that if i can get away WITHOUT using peroxide that strong, i’d rather do that.  it is one of my reasons
not currently doing wet plate photography …  if i can do without collodion i am good with that, and if i DID do wet plate work, i would definately use
speed fixer instead of the traditional Potassium Cyanide.

so the other day i went to big lots and got a few cheap quarts of hydrogen peroxide ( 89¢ each ) and i headed over to whole foods
to get some citric acid.  and i made a few exposures and attempts. first i was unsuccessful.
i was using coffee developer with a little d72 powder ( home mixed ) to boost the contrast and shorten development time.  the negative looked great.
into the weak citric acid stop bath, short rinse with water too, and into the hydrogen peroxide ( about 1/2 cup ) and citric acid ( abou 1 tsp ) bleach ..

it is supposed to take about an hour but it didn’t do anything and by the end of it all, even after i waited a couple of hours, and then turned the lights on to fog the paper
( part of the process ) nothing happened.

i did a 2nd try, and still, it didn’t want to work.

so  …  i consulted someone who i knew would have a clue.  he’s a photographer in california ned lewis,  he’s a brilliant photographer a goes by the handle NedL ( on ipernety, photrio ).
i know he would know what was going on, he’s the guy who discovered how to fix lumen / retina/sun prints and he’s a paper negative artist who makes calotypes
( like the original fox talbot process ! )
has also been working the past week to get this 3% system to work, and he has had fantastic results.

he thought that maybe there was carry over from the sodium carbonate rich developer that was killing the bleach.  makes sense to me.  so, i changed my print developer
and mixed up some sprint print developer great developer, great chemistry, great folks !

and  ..  i exposed a 3rd paper negative and it worked great !, so i exposed another one.

instead of beng on a tiny scrap of paper stuffed in a 35mm camera, i put a 5×7 sheet into a graflex 3a and photographed the
dining room window.  it took forever to bleach ( i had a 2nd 5×7 exposure n the same bleach bath ).  1 change of bleach, and about 6, maybe 8 ( i left and came back so i don’t
know exactly when it happened )  the paper negative was completely white, so i turned the lights on, fogged it and redeveloped it and it came out great. ( the 2nd one not so great bt that’s OK )

about a 8 hour process

ned and joe’s peroxide reversal

basically here is how it works:

 

you expose a paper negative and develop it in print developer,

you short stop bath it in a little bit of water and citric acid

and then put it in about 1/2 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with about a teaspoon of citric acid.

( there are actually gram measures and real volume measures he and joe use but im just tinkering to see if it works )

with joe’s recipe the print bleaches to white in a short amount of time, with NedL’s it takes about an hour, maybe a little longer.

after it is bleached so it looks like a white piece of paper you expose the print to light ( joe and ned both have the kind of light, time and filtration )

you redevelop in print developer, and it turns into a postive print ..  stop and fix and there you have it !

stay tuned !

 

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late summer photographs

just a taste of what i have been doing lately.

it includes using a cyclone #3 and empire state …

as usual, i have been off the beaten path, i ended up in west greenwich at the plain meeting house

and also found myself at the abandonned and partially redeveloped lonsdale mill complex.  i’ve been to both places

before, but its been months.  i also found myself at home photographing closely.

tinted

cyclone #3, caffemol C + faux dektol

tinted in PS

trailer truck along building, overcast sun peeking through

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a few hand tinted images

first ..   i probably have said this or explained my “terminology”
if i add colors by hand with paints &c i call the images hand painted, but if i
add the colors in photoshop i call them hand tinted.  these negatives
were made last fall, even before that sometime, but only processed recently.
i have had a real backlog of film to process, and luckily i have some D72 and Sumatranol C
all mixed up so it is pretty painless.

i’ve posted a few images from this group already ( last entry ) but here are a few more…

rocks and grass

4×5 negative, delmar camera, dektol+d72 and colors added in PS

the cove

4×5 negative, delmar camera, dektol+d72 and colors added in PS

fake mountains

4×5 negative, delmar camera, dektol+d72 and colors added in PS

the cove

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

 

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this is a great piece of writing !

The Last Photo

 

i’m a little late to find this, but i did and i am posting it here.

i’ve made a lot of last photos, looking back at them they kind of make me feel sad.

but life goes on ..

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far away places

so many people need to go to far away places.  they save their money and materials and buy tickets or gas they sign up for workshops in the desert or to someplace remote.  they  photograph for a week or a few days, return and loved their experience.  i’ve never been able to do that, and part of me is jelous of photo-safarians.

when i go to someplace i am not used to, i am struck by what i see, the unfamiliar sometimes overwhelms me.  that isn’t to say i can’t make any photographs, but i’ll be on auto pilot and make exposures of what comes to mind, what might remind me of the familiar, things i am used to, things i am comfortable with — the usual. a lot of what i photograph for the most part is the unfamiliar familiar.

i am usually within a short distance from where i live, or have spent a lot of time and i am familiar with the scene that i am able to read it differently and notice things i hadn’t noticed before.  very much like a portrait photographer might make a portrait.  there are only a handful of head and face shapes, ways of making a portrait, and even if the person is a complete stranger, a portrait photographer is able to not only make a familiar light and head position and camera position but make the person feel at ease.

its no too late to photograph things close by, things you know by heart, things you see every day but don’t bother because they are too familiar, sometimes the familiar make the best subjects.

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wait 9 month or a year and see what happens …

i admit it, sometimes i don’t want to process film.  i get tired of standing there and agitating, or shuffling sheets in a tray in the dark.  i started doing stand development because i didn’t want to deal, my version of stand development only lasts for maybe 1/2 hour if i remember to come back in time, sometimesit lasts even more.  i use the same develop my every day film in, sumatra coffee, washing soda,vitamin c and some dektol.  i shake the bubbles off and leave.  sometimes i put of processing film for a few weeks or sometimes i am not very good and put it off for a few months, 9 or 10 months this time.

 

the film sat in a ziplock bag for all this time.  i would process sheets, i would develop paper negatives, i would make contact prints,  even make emulsions and developers from scratch, coat things, and develop them, but i wouldn’t process the rolls of film.  i’d think about it sometimes

painted cyanotype with watercolors

film reels cyanotype with watercolors

finally i processed the film, at least, some of it. i had about 15 or 20 rolls to get through, and i made it through 9 of them.  i loaded the film into the metal reels.  it took a while since i was out of practice.  some reels roll easier than others, and for the first time in a long while i had a few areas touch and not develop.  that’s ok.  after the film was hung and dried and sleeved i began scanning them.  i will eventually print them but i figured scanning is as good a way as any to see what i have, so i scanned, and scanned and scanned. i remember most of the photographs, sort of. but not really.  it was a nice feeling to have distance.  there wasn’t any sort of importance or need or “i have to see this or that”  they were just negatives.

i remember seeing a show on garry winogrand years ago and how he exposed the film and left it for a year or more before he processed it.  ( i think there were 10 thousand rolls of film to process after he died. )  and i can see why he did what he did.  the distance adds to the editing process.  there isn’t a ” this exposure is going to be SO GOOD !” and process the film 20 seconds after it was unloaded. the film is just there and ready when you are, if it is good, its good, if it is bad, you probably don’t remember even making the photograph, so it is OK.

these photographs are from a handful of long walks i took.  sometimes they were made walking home from my mechanic;s place abotu 5 miles away.  i took 3 differnt routes home.  some were taken on the way or way back from picking up beer making supplies.  it was a road i used to travel often with a camera but no so much anymore.  time sat still and the places were virtually the same.

anyways … it’s ok to leave film for a while before you process it,

it mght even be a good thing.

 

colored black and whtite photo

colored black and whtite photo

shadow and textured wall

shadow and textured wall

retina print

retina print

run down fieldstone buildingjakes antiques

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writing about photography

in a recent interview with on the onwardphoto blog, jorg colberg spoke about the importance of writing about photography.

http://tinyurl.com/qalulvr   i couldn’t agree more with what he said.  often times people who make photographs have trouble talking about them.

i am guilty too … it is HARD to write about photography, but with a little practice it gets a little easier.

i have a series of portraits i have been making since i was 19 ( more than half my life ).  the project began years before and i didn’t even know it … when i was reading studds turkel’s book “working”, a book about people talking about what they do for work …  i began my project by cold calling businesses and asking if i could photograph people who worked there.  i was a fly on the wall, sometimes, other times i would have conversations with the subject to learn about what it was they were doing, and i would photograph where they worked too.  i documented  people that worked in slaugherhouses, were gravediggers, machineshop operators, mechanics, factory workers, butchers …  people from all walks of life.  i enjoyed talking with these strangers and learning about who they were, and creating almost a story that surrounded each portrait i took.  eventually i began photographing people on the streets as i wandered their neighborhood with a camera,  or where they had a late night snack, or breakfast.  i continued with these portraits, even letting them lead me into paying jobs photographing people for magazines and newspapers, and i never stopped interviewing my subjects to learn a little bit about them.

when i worked for a eileen mcclure, she told me tricks she would do to get her subjects to loosen up a little bit.  she only had seconds to do this seeing she had appointments every 20 minutes all day long …  and she said she had it easy because she was a little old lady, and people don’t feel threatened by little old ladies.  my trick ended up being just having a conversation, and because i was no longer a guy with a camera but someone else.  over the years i think the project has taken a different shape, and really tells more about me than it does my subjects.  if i wrote about the project,  i would write about who my subjects were, and how meeting them changed how i look at portrait photography in general, but how i have learned that people are pretty much the same, whether they are rich, poor, a corporate titan, leader of a state, or someone sitting on their porch, who didn’t remember who i was or who she was a few weeks later when i returned with a print.

i couldn’t agree more with the idea that one should be able to write something, anything, about what it is they do or did with their camera.

 

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what did i mean by paper negative test?

i recently mentioned something about a paper negative test.

i suggested bracketing exposures and judging your negatives …

here, i have uploaded 3 images

 

the first

not photoshopped

cyclone #3 maybe f11

as the caption reads ..  it was taken with a cyclone #3 which i guess is around f11

light meter was set to iso 6 and it suggested  5 seconds

i count fast …  so i counted to 6.

the developer was 2 day old dektol, it is cold in my darkroom but the image appeared at around 20 sconds

so from previous experience, ( making prints in dektol ) i let it develop out fot at least 1 minute.

the negative looks ok.  there is a roundness to it because the lens has a big hot spot,

the edges are light the middle of the negative is dark.

the inversion ( #2 )

straight inversion, of a straight scan

f 11 6 seconds 15 year old polymax rc

the inverted positive looks OK

( kodak paper has writing on the back so i don’t bother contact printing kodak paper negatives )

the center of the image is light, the sides are dark, the background blown out.

this is expected.

today was an overcast day

this was about 145pm

the sky has a lot of blue light but where i was ..  was filtered a little so my meter gave me

a false reading.  for the deck where i was it was OK, the wood, the deck chairs and flower pots

seem to be OK exposed  …  if i was to multiple expose or burn in .. while making the exposure

i would under expose the sky and trees

with a little PS – love

it doesn’t look much different ..

i adjusted the woods a little bit, evened out a little bit the roundness and brightness / contrast

brightness, lightness burning in selective contrast

cyclone might have needed a few seconds fless or the woods maybe dodge out ..

 

next exposure will be tomorrow …

maybe i will try 6 seconds and in camera dodge out the sky

the developer might be a little easier to work with too …

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