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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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Hyped on Depth

Understand what's in focus and why by investigating hyperfocal distances
written by: Patrick Gainer

The concept of hyperfocal distance (or hfd), is known and used by many photographers.When a camera is focused at the hfd, depth-of-field is maximized and everything from half that distance to infinity is acceptably sharp.The depth-of-field scale found on many lenses with a self-contained focusing barrel is easily used to set the lens at its hfd by aligning the infinity distance mark with the index for the f-stop in use. It is not so easy with view cameras, which may use any of several different lenses and different film formats.The darkness of the view screen at the apertures where hfd Read more »

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Coloring Monochrome Images Digitally

written by: Tony Worobiec

One of the possible drawbacks of abandoning the darkroom is the danger that some of the more quirky techniques risk being lost, and the hand-coloring of black-and-white photographs is a good case in point. Before the advent of color film, if a photographer wanted to present his work in color, he was required to apply subtle dyes to a silver gelatin print. This technique has enjoyed a revival in recent years, but it is a time-consuming exercise requiring a fair measure of skill. In order to recreate the delicate colors one associates with this technique, the pigments need to be Read more »

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Keep it Simple

The ideal print process should be invisible
written by: Al Weber

In 1980, on assignment for the Finnish Museum of Architecture, I made this photograph of Resurrection Chapel in Turku, Finland. Architect Erik Bryggman created what has become one of Finland’s proudest structures during what the Finns call the Winter War and what we know as World War II. To my taste, it is simple, but profusely elegant. The intentional quality of light and graceful, romantic carvings are but two of the buildings outstanding features. I decided to use the light that was there, with no supplementary assistance, to keep the carvings understated but visible. Existing contrast was great to the Read more »

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 »

Bond_MA_2007_1

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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Surpass the Darkroom?

create prints that rival – and perhaps surpass – the darkroom
written by: Mark Dubovoy

I believe that this is the beginning of a new era in inkjet printing, one in which print quality is finally equaling, if not surpassing, that of traditional prints. Part of this increase in print quality is due to a recent generation of printers with corresponding new ink sets. Equally responsible, however, is the latest generation of fine-art papers offering unprecedented levels of Dmax and dynamic range. While you need to buy an updated printer to benefit from their increased quality, you can probably use the new papers with your existing printer, so I’m going to focus on the new 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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Photoshop Selection Strategies with Color Range and Refine Edge

written by: Seán Duggan

Making good selections is one of the essential core skills for using Adobe Photoshop effectively. This is especially true for those projects that require more localized precision than what is possible in either Camera RAW or Lightroom. In this article I’ll cover some important concepts and techniques for making accurate selections. Manual vs. Assisted Selection Methods Selection tools in Photoshop are roughly divided into two categories: manual and assisted. Manual methods involve tools such as the rectangular and elliptical marquees, the Lasso, Polygonal Lasso and the Pen tool that require you to carefully guide the cursor to define the selection. Read more »