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Photography as Fine Art

written by: Howard Bond

No doubt many PHOTO Techniques readers are interested in using photography to make art.Those who don’t sell their photographs have complete flexibility. Like young painters who sometimes copy the works of masters as a learning exercise, they might set out to duplicate a famous photograph. On the other hand, a photographer who subjects his or her photographs to the scrutiny of the wider world of galleries, museums, and collectors probably wants to avoid being seen as an imitator. Therefore, it’s important for anyone seriously involved in photography as art, especially those in the second category, to be well informed about Read more »

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Kodak & Ilford Black & White Films, 2013

written by: Howard Bond

Kodak’s discontinuance of T-Max films larger than 4×5 left my friend, Dick, an expert user of 8×10 T-Max 400, wondering where to turn. My suggestion of Ilford HP5 Plus was received a bit skeptically, but he tried some and was entirely satisfied. This article was motivated by that incident and the likelihood that others, especially sheet film users, will soon be making film choices. In May, 2013, Kodak and Ilford supplied lists of their current black & white film offerings, which are summarized in Figure 1. Kodak will cut any size for which Canham Cameras, Inc. can accumulate sufficient orders. Read more »

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Closeups with Artificial Light

written by: Howard Bond

After photographing outside in daylight for many decades, I began an indoor project last year— using artificial light to make 8×10 black-and-white closeup negatives of small subjects, such as flowers and weed vases. I will describe some of the considerations associated with photographs of this sort that aren’t usually of concern when subjects are larger and outdoors. The lights Multiple-head studio strobes containing modeling lights and possibly directed into umbrellas have always seemed attractive to me. However, I wouldn’t use that equipment enough to justify the cost, so I chose more economical quartz halogen lights for this project. A large Read more »

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Filters for Black-and-White Photography

written by: Howard Bond

A filter gets its color because it passes light of its color more readily than other colors. Colors that are distant from it in the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) are attenuated by the filter. This allows black-and-white photographers to use a filter to render parts of a subject relatively lighter or darker, depending on whether their colors are spectrally near to or far from that of the filter. To make up for the partial blockage of light by filters, manufacturers supply numbers called “filter factors,” by which the exposure time is to be multiplied. If these Read more »

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Going Negative

Some images work better as negatives than they do as positives
written by: Howard Bond

In books I bought in the 1960s, Minor White and Paul Caponigro included a few photographs shown as negatives. But it wasn’t until nearly 2000 that I decided that a couple of my photographs should be presented as negative images. Pleased with the result, I wrote an article called Negative Prints (PHOTO Techniques, Nov./Dec.2000). It included a detailed description of a method for contact printing a negative on film to get a positive from which to make a negative print and also, a procedure for planning the density range of the film positive. In recent years, I have made several Read more »

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Using a Dodging/Burning Mask to Precisely Control Contrast

written by: Howard Bond

This photograph shows the view to the east from the Aiguille du Midi, a 10,000-foot peak beside Mont Blanc, just outside the village of Chamonix, France. Chamonix is about 15 miles from the Swiss border and I like to go there whenever I visit Switzerland. The photograph includes a large shaded area that would be almost impossible to dodge in the usual way with enough precision to avoid being obvious. Ideally, we choose paper contrast low enough to allow detail to be seen in the dark and light ends of the scale without dodging or burning. Occasionally, however, because this Read more »

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Photography and Music:

written by: Howard Bond

Having had careers in both f ields, I have often thought about a parallel between photography and music regarding the way words affect the perception of the listener or viewer. I started doing darkroom work 65 years ago and began photographing weddings while still in high school. After workshops with Ansel Adams beginning in 1967, I turned from photographing people to photography as art. This increased to full time by 1979. My music background included playing in bands and orchestras, two degrees, and f ive years of conducting and arranging, followed by 30 years of singing choral works with symphony Read more »

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A LARGER Darkroom

written by: Howard Bond

A 10×15-foot darkroom and an adjacent 14×15-foot room for print finishing were part of the plan when our house was built 37 years ago. Since then, minor additions and changes have been made, but the overall design has proved quite satisfactory. The design benefited from my familiarty with many darkrooms over the previous 27 years, including those of Ansel Adams and the studio where I worked during high school and college. I would have made the darkroom larger if I had known I would soon begin teaching workshops in it, but its size is generous for one person. Figure 1 shows that the Read more »

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Exposure Corrections for Close-ups

PHOTO Techniques, Jan/Feb 2003
written by: Howard Bond

Have you ever thought of the similarity between moving a camera lens farther from the film to focus for a close-up and raising the enlarger for a larger print? The camera and enlarger lenses then project larger image circles at the film or paper plane, requiring longer exposures. Users of in-camera meters never have to give this a thought, since these meters sample the same dimmer image the film receives. However, users of separate meters ignore this at their peril. The f-stops marked on a lens become progressively less accurate as you focus closer to the subject. This is because Read more »

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Black and White Reciprocity Departure Revisited

PHOTO Techniques, July/August 2003
written by: Howard Bond

Most photographers know that when the light reaching photographic film is dim enough for the meter to suggest times of a second or longer, the reciprocal relationship between light intensity and exposure time breaks down. As a result, times must be increased to obtain the desired density in shadow areas. Those who think in Zone System terms want to know increases in exposure times that will keep the density of Zone III constant. Making a correction by opening the aperture—as sometimes suggested— doesn’t seem useful, since it changes the amount of reciprocity departure that needs correcting. Even if it were Read more »