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 »


Printer Calibration Using the SpyderPrint

written by: Steve Anchell

The dilemma: pleasing colors you see on your monitor may not look the same as those that come out of your printer or match what someone else sees on their monitor. Color calibration allows you to recreate what you see on your monitor, either in a print or on another calibrated monitor, assuming that the other monitor is also calibrated. Good color management has three components, calibrating the camera, the monitor and the printer. Printer profiling involves using either a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer to create a custom ICC pro- file for your device. Both Datacolor and X-Rite make color Read more »


Using a Hand-Held Light Meter for Landscape Photography

written by: David Saffir

How many photographers wrestle with exposure issues in landscape and scenic photography−whether it’s backlighting, wide dynamic range, or an uncooperative in-camera meter? And yet, how often is a hand-held meter overlooked? A hand-held meter can be a wonderful tool in landscape photography. In this article I’ll cover some of the fundamentals involved in using one for primary exposure evaluation, or as a supplement to an in- camera meter. I’ll limit this discussion to working with digital photography, and not dive into metering with the Zone system (Figures 1 and 5 are examples of images made using a hand-held meter). Light Read more »


Simulating Large Format Photography with a Digital SLR

written by: Scott Hendershot

For most of my life I have been in love with the rich potential of large format photography. Compared to other methods, well-executed large format images seem more real, detailed, subtle, textured, delicate and more alive. Sadly, it seems that the natural evolution of photography, combined with the evolution of technology, marched large format photography in the direction of obsolescence, or at least, through increased costs and diminished availability of supplies, has made it much more challenging to pursue. With the advent of digital photography, I heard a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the “death of photography,” Read more »



written by: Wendy Erickson

Devotees of the Polaroid emulsion lift process will remember the fun (?) of lifting off a Polaroid emulsion by soaking it in hot water, removing the emulsion, floating it in a tray of cool water, and attempting to get it successfully stuck to a piece of paper beneath it in the tray, all the while trying to stretch it out with fingers or a paintbrush. Results were as flat or wrinkled as desired. Photographers were limited by the size of the instant film, and practice made perfect. Now there is a new way to lift emulsions off digital inkjet transparencies, Read more »


Balancing Focus for Peak Sharpness in the Presence of Field Curvature

written by: Lloyd Chambers

Careful choice of focus can help or hurt image sharpness. This is a companion article to Zeiss Touit Lenses for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X  (PT Sept/Oct 2013), but the discussion here applies to lenses in general on any camera.  See also Field Curvature in PT Sept 2009. Most lenses exhibit field curvature, which can result in less sharpness than expected across the frame, often in the mid zones or corners.  A typical complaint is “soft corners”, but with many lenses the lack of sharpness is entirely due to focus, not inherent lens unsharpness. Typically, a focus position can be Read more »


Zeiss Touit Lenses for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X

written by: Lloyd Chambers

DSLR users know that “good glass” is necessary no matter the sensor size, and that’s where mirrorless cameras suffer most, with limited lens selection that is often of marginal build quality and too often modest optical performance. Yet demands on optical quality tend to be higher for smaller sensor cameras due to the greater photosite density, at least for similar levels of high quality detail in the same number of megapixels (e.g. 24 megapixels from full-frame vs the smaller APS-C). Enter the Zeiss Touit lens line for Sony NEX and Fuji- film X. The optics in the Touit lenses are Read more »


Considerations and Limits of Z-Stacking In Macrophotography

written by: Daniel L. Geiger

In a recent article in photo technique Magazine (Nov/ Dec 2012), Dan Burkholder provided a helpful overview of focus or z-stacking. The technique is most frequently applied in macrophotography. In this article I share some special tips and hints that may not be apparent and may even appear counterintuitive to anyone interested in trying this technique. Lighting should be consistent both in directionality as well as intensity in all frames of the stack. Accordingly, light sources should not be mounted on the camera or lens, which is moved in the process of z-stacking. The changed position of the lights can Read more »


Alien Skin Exposure 5

written by: Steve Dreyer

I often look at my twin lens Rolleicord and old Kodak and Nikon F3 film cameras that sit proudly on the shelf in my office. The shelf is situated to my left as I walk towards my desk where I have all my digital equipment−almost to remind me of the way it was! There was just something special, even magical, about the feeling I had when I picked these cameras up to photograph something and later went back to my darkroom or over to a custom lab to see the images come to life. But now I use DSLRs and Read more »


How to Perfect Digital Techniques by Understanding Film

written by: David H. Wells

As of this year, I have been a photographer for 40 years. In that time, a lot has changed and yet in some ways, certain things are still the same. I was reminded of this when my friend Michael Colby told me I was “…the most analog digital photographer in the business.” He went on “…you are an analog photographer in a digital world. A film photographer who uses digital technology but only adopts as much of digital as necessary. Goodbye slides and goodbye prints, hello digital workflow! But, it is essentially a digital workflow that is not too dissimilar Read more »