Category Archives: technique and style

how do you do that?

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

Also posted in Misc. Tagged , , , |

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 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

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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

Also 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.

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

making color where there is only black and white

i’ve been toying with tri chromes, or tri chrome-esque photographs for a few years now.  i first learned about trichromes after reading and seeing the photographs made by the russian photographer before world war 1. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/29615/100-year-old-color-photos-pre-revolution-russia )

i knew this process existed, even before i saw those beautiful russian photos when i visited an uncle and he told me you can take 3 black and white negatives, one with a red filter, one with a blue and one with a green and print them on color paper together and make color photographs.  i never did this until a few years ago, and i was hooked.

 

i’ve even thought about buying an big old rickety camera that takes 3 exposures at once, but i’ve settled on an old polaroid camera called a portrait land 600 that takes 6 exposures at once on a sheet of 4×5 film.  its a passport camera and was given to me by my friend whitey, a collector of fun-stuff, and great photographer to boot !   well, this entry isn’t about making trichromes using black and white film, or black and white separation negatives in-camera but something i have been trying to figure out for a couple of years:  how to take a regular black and white photo and turn it into a  color one.  i figured it wasn’t one of those things that was super hard, after all ted turner colorized all those classic movies, but it was something that i couldnt’ figure out until today.

i frequent dpug ( digital photo user group ) and have posted the question there but i always got complicated answers.  i made the mistake of doing the 10 day free trial for afinity photo ( i didn’t get it, long story short, no customer support ! ) and didn’t get it, BUT i did manage to see interesting videos on how to do stuff, and one was a technicolor photo effect.  affinity doesn’t work completely like photoshop, and i have been using PS since the 90s, so i was looking for hints …  it was extremely complicated making layers and nesting cmy adjustment layers.  the guy made it look really easy though.

 

today i watched youtube photoshop tutorials for doing similar things.  one guy just gets rid of the blue layer and adds a green one it was kind of fun.  another guy showed how to make SIMPLE separatoin negatives. so i took what i needed from affinity ( what levels to put the cmy levels ) and the simple separation files and this is what i did … sorry i don’t have charts or graphs &c but it is pretty simple, and i have done it with b/w files and it was fun to turn them into color photos …

 

you open your image file and get your channel / layers dialog box, and click color channels.  there is a little arrow and click it

and use the ” channel splitter ” it will give you 3 identical files labled red green blue  and for each one go to mode and change

them each from grey scale to rgb.  go to hue / saturation  for each file and click “colorize”

for red put the top slider at 180 (cyan ) for blue put the slider to 60 ( yellow ) and for green put it to 300 ( magenta ).

now select the whole image edit>copy  and file new and go into the channel palette and drop each file

into the individual color channels r -g-b and at then … there you go, you have a color photograph

or, sort of a color photograph

 

trichrome technique

centerville mill

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waxed field and photograms

another from a recent slew of waxed negative cyanotypes

waxed and exposed, mottled sky

waxed negative 2 day exposure

one of the last coated papers from the winter/spring when i coated and coated to use up my sensitizer.  the  paper is yellowish from being bleached a little bit, maybe 10 seconds with sodium carbonate, but the reverse side of the paper has a clear image as if the cyanotype embedded itself inside the paper.  i almost scanned THAT side instead of the actual side i exposed on.

 

hair care tools

tools of the trade

broken glass and glass

desaturated cyanotype

 

the absolute last cyanotypes from last winter/spring,

and a few comments …

pre coated paper lasts a long while but gets slower every day it sits in a light safe.  even darkish weirdly colored paper still has some juice left in it and it just takes a little extra time in the sun.  waxed prints bleed through the paper but the image isn’t as clear or nice on the other side.  #10 envelopes make great cyanotype paper.  they are fun to coat and expose on and a great aspect ratio.  when they are washed all the glue that holds them together lets go and it leaves you with wings they can be ignored or included in the final piece.  this time i ignored them but next time i won’t.  cyanotypes are so much fun i almost want to stop using a camera and film and photo paper !  … almost.

as i type this entry i have some more ideas to do with photo paper and hand coated emulsion.  ideas that will give me black paper because the black paper i coated bled black dye all in my chemistry, because i dont’ want to deal with black glass, and while i have exposed and processed and re-coated with liquid emulsion regular photopaper in the past i might have stumbled upon something easy and fun to do that doesnt’ require double dipping in photochemistry.

Also posted in alternative process photography Tagged , , , , |

straight, untinted, unpainted cyanotypes

been making more cyanotypes lately … and have been using paper that is probably  gettng close to being dead.  it takes a long while to make exposures, and sometimes the color bleads out but that is OK, it is fun cheap and easy to make more sensitizer, something i will be doing probably in the next week or two.  i’m not quite sure what recipe i will use.  maybe i will use the 2x green : 1x ferri, maybe i will do something in between, i’m not quite sure.  here are a few from ongoing series – tools and things nearby.

hatchet

just a hatchet

1 flat, 3 not

hand wrenches some big some smaller

green leaves

before they changed color

 

i made this retina print while i was making the hatchet cyanotype.  they were both the same very long exposure.  i loaded the graflex 3a up with some hand coated paper as a negative ( 2 4×5 sheets ) ..  one didn’t make it, the one i fiddled with i was able to show the “invisible rays of light” usually talked about with the origins of photography

hatchet

photograph of a photograph being made

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emulsive

i thought i posted a link to this but i guess it got away from me.

i was interviewed by emulsive.org a little while ago about film and emulsion and what i am up to. in case you don’t know about emulsive org what i am up to here is the link what’s emulsive.org ?  feel free to go there, its a pretty interesting site

well worth the click !

I am John Nanian and this is why I shoot film

Also posted in film development technique Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

hand tinted

this is a hand tinted image of a tree &c down the road from me.  it was made with either a 8×10 or 11×14 paper negative, i can’t remember which one, but it was run through the empire state …  after scanning the image and inverting it, i added some colors.

hand tinted from large format paper negative

the wind blew at the coast, the leaves rustled and starlings flew away

Tagged , , |

more recent cyanotypes

if you have been reading my last few posts you probably know  i have been making cyanotypes.  what happened was i mixed a bunch of cyanotype chemistry and rather than get rid of it i coated everyting i could find …  14×17 xerox paper, butcher paper, velum (pierce and bristol ? ) mailing envelopes brown craft paper ..  some things work better than others …  i have done similar things with photo emulsion ..  just coated what i could to see what worked and didn’t …  and to be honest i am thinking that sometimes the stuff didn’t work because of how i use/ don’t use  whatever it is that i am using.  maybe it doesn’t like my negatives, maybe it doesn’t like my water source or developer …

anyways  here are a few more waxed paper cyanotypes

hot off the skillet !

 

cropped

on the way to vezelay walking up the hill

barely bleached

central france walking to vezelay basilica

saran wrap

dead plant and clothespin, classic cyanotype

 

i think the age of the classic formula gives it a weirdish green tone when i develop it out.  the saran wrap gives a nice wavy texture. the 2 waxed paper negatives are straight scans.  the negatives  are bleached a little bit to get rid of the blue, some areas turned brownish more. the way i bleach is that i put less than a thumble full of water logged washing soda ( calcium carbonate ) in a big beaker of water and it dissolves readily, then i pour the solution into the wash water and it dilutes as the tray drains ( it is a print washing tray i drilled holes in years ago for a water jacket )

a couple of fill and dumps the prints have bleached enough and i keep washing. the print has an area on it that is stained from the wax, but it is just the border, and doesn’t bleed into the print.  the waxed negative prints i usually leave in direct sunlight ( sun blasting on the print frame ) for 8 hours.  sometimes i don’t move it in time so it gets open shade or shady sunlight, sometimes it is shade before i remember to move it …  this time it started raining as i was exposing, so i brought in the frames and dried them and the glass off, and put them back out in the sun the next day when i could.  some water leeched in under the glass and messed with the print along with the blotchy-ness from the wax.  even thought some might view these as failures, and things i couldn’t do again if i tried, i see them as successes.  the waxed negative is great to work with and sometimes partial development by rain while the image is exposing can lead to interesting results.

Also posted in alternative process photography Tagged , , |

how you make waxed paper negatives

i’m no expert in this field, i’ve had fun making waxed negatives on and off for a few years.  it can be a messy job and it might not work out very well.  i first saw how to make them by viewing a short video i found in the cyanotype group on flickr.  i’m not sure if i am allowed to link to it here on my blog, but it was posted a while back in a discussion on using paper negatives for cyanotypes.  the  person who posted the video is james harr, and his work is fantastic.  here is a video link to how he explains waxing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7Fo8seMrFo  i dont’ do exactly as he describes.  i use cheap paraffin,  but still,  his post gave me enough information that i could improvise and have fun.

 

what i do is first get my paper negative.  i don’t have a xerox machine here, or a ink jet printer whose inks won’t smudge or a laser printer.  what i do is i invert whatever image it was in photo shop and put it on a canvas the size i want to have it printed.  most recently it was 4 images on 81/2×11 paper.  the images were digital files from a nikon d200, nothing fancy.  i just desaturated them and inverted them.  i don’t use chart throb or any other programs to make my negatives i just by the bootstraps invert, cut/paste …  and to the copy store i went.  copies are cheap so i got a few of them knowing i might screw up.

i took a small cookie sheet and put it on the top of the stove to get hot to the touch and i put the xerox page in the pan … then i take a block/rectangle of gulf wax paraffin and start rubbing .  the wax melts and i keep rubbing until the paper looks “wet” i turn it over and do the same thing .. then a piece of paper towel i rub as much of the excess of as i can.  it works OK but not very well, i still need to perfect my situation.  depending on how well you rub the wax it might streak or form a texture or just remain as a layer on the paper, that said, the paper  that was once white is now greyish and see-through ( sort of ).

i put the negatives one at a time in a small contact printing frame.  the cyanotype paper i am using was coated IDK 7 months ago so i am not really sure how good or bad it is, it works so i guess it is OK.  i stick it in direct sunlight for as long as i can.  and move it around as the sun travels across the sky.  the wax usually stains the paper a little bit and bleeds but after a long sit in the sun, it seems to do whatever it is that it needs to do.  usually the receiving paper wtih cyanotype chemistry on it is very dark and over exposed.  there are really no details or very few details from the negative.  but i wash it anyways.  i watch the image clear a little bit and a little bit more until whatever it was that i printed appears.  sometimes they look better than others …  after they clear and have been washed for 15 mins, or 35 mins, i put very dilute washing soda and water in the wash water and bleed some of the blue out of the image.  it turns a color of yellowish brown and a little greenish blue.  there are artifacts from the wax in the print and while sometimes they are distracting or might take away from the print  other times they give a layer of texture in the print that i like.  these are small, between 4×5 and 4×6 and i scan them.  and fix them a little bit with photoshop but i don’t do much.  i might boost the contrast/levels a tiny bit, but that is what you do with any scan because of the scan process.  i also might remove a weird blotchy stain or weird artifact from using wax but i don’t really do too much to alter what is there.

 

here are a couple of my last ones i have done :

 

 

window sill detail, vezelay basilica, france

window sill detail, vezelay basilica, france

windmills and field

windmills and field

waxed paper negative from a digital file

waxed paper negative from a digital file

detail of arches, waxed negative

detail of arches, waxed negative

central france, paper negative

vezelay basilica central france, paper negative

 

 

as you can see, these prints can hold lots of detail or none at all,

and they are cheap + fun

Also posted in alternative process photography Tagged , |

more recent cyanotypes

i haven’t been using a camera much these days.  i have film to be processed (probably 10 rolls ?)  some taken a while ago, some taken since the spring.  i haven’t gotten around to processing it.  not to mention i have some liquid emulsion ( foma and AG+) to use up and i eagerly anticipate making some of my own chlorobromide emulsion again with some nice hard bloom gelatin.  instead of camera negatives i’ve been waxing paper negatives made from rubbings ( like the last entry ) or things made as a photogram, ( always a favorite ) or better yet, paper xerox negatives that i wax and have fun with …

a few years ago i got a bad case of food poisoning while traveling in france and when i got home i had some film to process, and a few memory cards with images on them.  i was kind  of messed up from being sick when i got home  ( until i wasn’t ) and while i found one of the memory cards’ images, i am still kind of looking for the other.  i took some of these images specifically for converting to paper negatives and into cyanotypes.  i had done this with rubbings and digital images before, and it seemed like a great way to make digital images into hybrid black and white negatives.  so i desaturated some negatives, and inverted them in PS and put them 4-to a 8 1/2 x11 sheet of xerox paper …  heated up an old pan and waxed the paper  … in addition, to a big sheet of cyanotype paper, i had a handful of envelopes i coated a handful of months ago, and they were eager to be printed on.

 

i made some photograms using kitchen-stuff and crayoned and watercolored the images.  i don’t know what size envelopes are, but they are the perfect paper for making cyanotypes.  nice and long and narrow, like a panoramic negative !

 

anyhow her eare some of the images i made …

 

hand painted and black/white photogram

hand painted and black/white photogram

black and white + color photogram

black and white + color photogram

black and white + hand painted photogram

black and white + hand painted photogram

black and white+ painted photogram

black and white+ painted photogram

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recent cyanotypes

just made a handful of cyanotypes lately using paper coated and left in a light safe in a humid basement for the last 7 or 8 months.  the paper was not the best but it worked (sort of) made some photograms ( some i watercolored ) i made a contact print with a waxed rubbing and tinted it in photoshop and i also converted some digital images into black and white negatives on xerox paper and waxed and printed them.

i have some more negatives to print and cyanotype paper to use up before i mix new.

 

rubbing waxed negative

rubbing waxed negative

4 screwdrivers

photogram, watercolors

3 nails

photogram, watercolors

semicircle of stuff

photogram, watercolors

truck

waxed paper negative

vezelay

waxed paper negative

metal wire brush

photogram, watercolors

 

 

 

 

as usual most of my work is on imagekind ( jnanian.imagekind.com )  feel free to browse.  through the end of september

i will be donating a portion of every purchase ( 70% ) to relief efforts in louisana.

 

 

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