Figure 1. a) heoriginalcolorcaptureof Castelluccio, Italy. b) The straight conversion from RGB to grayscale results in drab tones. c) Using Photoshop’s Channel Mixer and curves results in a much-improved image.

A Transition from Darkroom to Digital

A photographer's experience offers insights for both silver and silicon users
written by: Dan Anderson

I think my darkroom credentials are pretty solid: I have been making traditional black-and-white prints to the highest standards that I am capable of producing from my large-format negatives for more than 25 years. I taught darkroom workshops for many years, demonstrating the numerous techniques and processes I have learned that enable me to get the look and feel I desire in my work. Yet some years ago, when a friend showed me some early digital prints, they impressed me greatly with their crisp detail and resolution, qualities that I have always valued highly in my work. He also showed Read more »

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Matching Your Papers to Your Films

written by: Fred Newman

We have all seen images that don’t seem right— the tonal quality of certain areas seems too dark or too light. Recently, I was teaching a private Beyond the Zone System (BTZS) workshop where a student showed me a sample of his prints. My first impression was that the lighter tones were darker than they should be. I asked him what materials he was working with, and realized that the paper he was using, due to its response curve, was causing the lighter tones to shift darker. That might work for some images or films, but in this case it 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 »

Dealing with a Low-Contrast Negative

written by: Bruce Barnbaum

In 2001, I made a extensive tour of some of my favorite areas of the Southwest, from the slit canyons of northern Arizona, to Bryce and Zion National Parks in southern Utah, then to Death Valley and the Owens Valley (i.e., along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Mountains) in California. I previously had been to each of the places numerous times, but the trip was a vivid reminder of the unmatched splendor of the scenery in that concentrated portion of our magical planet. The real purpose of the trip was to show an exchange student from the Republic Read more »

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A SMALLER Darkroom

written by: Chris Woodhouse

A common dilemma facing the amateur printer is creating a dedicated darkroom space within the domestic environment. Like many amateurs, I initially used a spare bedroom, hastily converted, with a simple work surface suspended between bedside cabinets, trays, buckets, and a nearby bathroom for washing. The inevitable family expansion prompted a re-think. This article looks at my two successive solutions, which provide a permanent space dedicated to computer and photographic work. The first solution combined office and darkroom equipment in a loft conversion over my garage. This 8×8-foot space contained a full wet darkroom, a computer system, and storage for Read more »

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Making Pictorial Prints

Techniques popular from 1850 to 1949 provide ways to put texture and mood into your photographs
written by: Barclay Travis Cook

Photographers don’t have to be limited to strict recordings of what’s in front of our lens—we are entitled to use both imagination and creative strokes. The enhancement of an image can bring it to a state beyond what a camera can capture. This is the fine art of pictorial photography, where imagination and talent are coupled to produce original hands-on work. Texture-screen printing and chiaroscuro are the essence of classic pictorial photography, while Photoshop manipulation is a direct descendant of the pictorial photographic artist. A pictorial print can be of any subject; the main thing is that the artist has Read more »

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Who Says Film is Dead?

Kodak's New T-MAX 400-2 Film Shows an Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks

I was one of many surprised when Kodak announced an improved version of T-Max 400 f ilm. I thought that T-Max 400 was a really good film and wondered how were they going to improve it—and why? Kodak found in a 2007 survey that there was an ongoing commitment to black-and-white film. They decided to improve both the grain and sharpness of T-Max 400, and it took them 18 months to do it. Large-format photographers who used a UV light source to print platinum/palladium were bothered by the UV dye layer on the back of the old T-Max 100 sheet film (it Read more »