Archive for 2010
Friday, November 19th, 2010
LUMAS Launches Alan Ross Portfolio
SANTA FE, NM, October 2010 – Lumas, the world’s leading publisher of affordable art editions, recently added Alan Ross to its collection of prestigious artists. A select number of Ross’ most iconic images are now available as limited edition, high-end digital prints in two sizes, 13.5” x 16.5” and 25” x 31.5”.
The photographs are all scenes of the American West, taken primarily in Yosemite National Park, a place Ross has been photographing for more than 40 years.
Dallas Gallery to Feature Ross
SANTA FE, NM, October 2010 – An exhibit of Alan Ross’ photography opens January 20, 2011, at the Sun to Moon Gallery in Dallas. Twenty-five images, including much of Ross’ architectural and abstract work, will be on display through March 5. An opening reception is slated for Saturday, January 22, from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. A one-day workshop is also planned in conjunction with the exhibit. Details to be announced.
Sunday, November 14th, 2010
In a recent newsletter, I mentioned wanting to do some testing – something I feel I ought to do regularly. One of Ansel’s favorite quotes (attributed to Pasteur) was “chance favors the prepared mind.” Having started his creative life as a musician, he brought that musician’s discipline to his photography – the equivalent of a regimen of playing scales.
The first thing to test periodically is your light meter. Except for one old Nikon, none of my cameras have meters in them – so my meter(s) are the foundation of every exposure I make. The only requirement I have of a meter is that it be linear – that is – if I expose a gray or white card in dim light, bright light , medium and dim again and expose exactly as the meter indicates, each exposure should yield the same density on film. If the densities match closely, my meter is good, but if one exposure doesn’t match the others, the meter needs to go to the shop. This test is well worth the time and cost of a roll or few sheets of film!
Incidentally, this is a great way to test your meter’s color response. Instead of photographing subjects of different brightnesses, photograph a neutral card then do it through strong-colored filters – you’ll likely see reds underexpose and blues overexpose!
Once I’ve verified my meter’s linearity, I re-test for film speed and development time. I’ve switched to a new processing timer in the last year or two and changed some timer calibrations (see New Darkroom Timer, below) so it’s time for a double-check. I’m also going to compare my current “standard” film, TMax 100 with Ilford’s Delta 100 and FP4+. A friend recently showed me a test he’d done with TM100 and FP4, and the tonal renditions were quite different, so I want to take a look for myself. He also had some interesting results comparing Kodak Xtol and Ilford’s ID11 – so I think I’ll look into that, too.
All this testing doesn’t really need to take a lot of time – I don’t worry about making “art.” I can expose two sets of film and develop in separate developers – or expose a whole roll of film the same, cut the roll in half and develop separately. I can expose three different films the same and develop appropriately in the same developer and see the differences between the films themselves. I do use a test target and a densitometer (got it on eBay for $100!) and that saves a lot of time – for me – but it’s not essential by any means.
When I’m done with all this I’ll feel more up-to-date – prepared for the “chance” that may come my way.
Friday, September 17th, 2010
“Lost” Adams Plates – a brief update from my point of view. My last newsletter of July 27 stressed that those of us close to Ansel did not believe the work was his. In the ensuing time significant issues have come to light suggesting the work is really that of a Fresno, California photographer named Earl Brooks. Having had the chance to make careful comparisons of three “Brooks” images to three of the Norsigian plates, I do not believe there can be any question that the photographs were made at the same time by the same photographer with the same camera.
Not being daunted by all this, the “Team Norsigian” has steadfastly contested the position of the Ansel Adams Trust, myself, and others that their Adams claim is bogus – however they have added the following caveat as a condition of purchasing one of the “lost” images:
DISCLAIMER TO PURCHASER
THIS DARKROOM/DIGITAL PRINT (OR POSTER WHEN APPLICABLE), IS SOLD AS IS. THE ANSEL ADAMS PUBLISHING RIGHTS TRUST (“ADAMS TRUST”) HAS NOT ENDORSED, CONDONED, SPONSORED, PARTICIPATED OR OTHERWISE APPROVED OF THE SALE OF THIS PRINT (POSTER WHEN APPLICABLE). FURTHER, THE ADAMS TRUST HAS NOT AUTHENTICATED THIS PRINT TO BE AN ORIGINAL, OR DERIVATIVE WORK OF ANSEL ADAMS OR ANYONE AFFILIATED WITH THE LATE ARTIST OR HIS TRUST.
THE EXPERT REPORT CITED ON THE “LOST NEGATIVES” WEBSITE (WWW.LOSTNEGATIVES.COM)
IS AN OPINION OF AUTHENTICITY AND IN NO WAY REPRESENTS A JUDICIALLY ENFORCEABLE OR GENERALLY ACCEPTED CERTIFICATE OR WARRANTY OF AUTHENTICITY. SELLER MAKES NO GUARANTEE AS TO THE AUTHENTICITY, OR PRESENT AND/OR FUTURE VALUE OF THE PRINT THAT YOU HAVE AGREED TO PURCHASE.
THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND AUTHENTICITY OF THE PRINT DESCRIBED ABOVE IS WITH THE BUYER.
I DO AGREE (continue to purchasing)
I DO NOT AGREE
Um, gee. Certifiable prints that I make from Ansels negatives are available from the Ansel Adams Gallery – and you don’t even have to sign a release! And they are $240, not $7500!
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
Get Total Consistency from Print to Print
Over the years I’ve evolved a technique I have come to refer to as Selective Masking. I use the term “selective” because it is a physical, hands-on method of tonal control in analog printing, rather that the photometric “unsharp masking”. In its basic form, it’s not techno-anything; it simply is a means of solidifying your own dodging and burning preferences into a “package” which remains absolutely constant from print to print. You can change your mind about how you want that package to perform; you can dodge and burn in greater detail than with traditional methods and with absolute consistency from print to print. It works with either a diffusion enlarger or in contact printing. It does NOT work with condenser enlargers.
Carried to the ’nth degree, Selective Masking can transform the job of printing a challenging negative from one of agonizing difficulty to the mere push of a button: a “straight” print from the untouched, unmodified original negative. Any size print. Local contrast changes can be made, and that oh-so-smooth gradual sky burn can be built into the mask package.
Available in my Online Store: Want to turn a difficult negative into a straight print? This technique has worked well for me in the over 20 years I have been refining it and has been updated to reflect more sophisticated digital techniques. Selective Masking Articles on CD and download
Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Making Film Negatives from Digital Files.
Last year I had a wonderful assignment photographing gnarly, twisted zinfandel vines for Ravenswood Winery in California’s Sonoma and Napa Valleys. As the project took shape, it was decided that because some of the vineyards had a lot of irrigation tubing and other unsightly distractions, the final output would be high quality inkjet prints so that unwanted features could be edited out in Photoshop. That all worked out fine, but Joel Peterson, Ravenswood’s founder, wanted some 16×20 silver prints for his office. Two of those images, alas, had tubing and re-bar included in the scene which were impossible to just touch-out in a print. It was either print the lovelies, “warts and all” or get a crash course in going from film to digital file and back to film. So I chose “crash course.” I knew one of my student friends in Southern California had been getting into this field and we conspired to use my project to work out the details. After a few false starts, we succeeded in going from my original 6×7 BW negative to high-res RGB scan and on to a new 4×5 T-Max 100 negative! Lovely 16×20 silver prints were the final result. Bonus: they needed virtually no spot-retouching because that was all fixed in the digital file!
Next I’m going to work on making a BW negative from a color digital image I made in China when I didn’t have access to my 4×5!
The bottom line is that I now feel it is realistic to make repairs and adjustments to images that otherwise might be set aside as unusable for silver printing. For pricing and further information on the process contact Ludo Leideritz at Reflective Image Studios.
Left: scan from original negative; Right, scan from silver print from digital negative.
Barricia Vineyard, planted 1888.
Friday, March 26th, 2010
On February 25th, 2010, technology writer David Pogue posted a thought provoking commentary for the New York Times on the subject of Photoshop and Photography – What is a Photograph. I replied with some thoughts of my own, and David graciously gave me his permission to quote him in my news letter and on my site. (I added the photos, they weren’t in the original article).
By DAVID POGUE
In the March issue of Popular Photography magazine, the editor’s note, by Miriam Leuchter, is called “What Is a Photograph?”
You’d think that, after 73 years, a magazine called Popular Photography would have figured that out. (Ba-da-bump!)
Actually, though, the editorial is about the magazine’s annual Reader’s Photos Contest. This year, in two of the categories, the winners were what the magazine calls composites, and what I call Photoshop jobs.
One photo shows a motorcyclist being chased by a tornado; another shows a flock of seagulls wheeling around a lighthouse in amazingly photogenic formation. Neither scene ever actually existed as photographed.
Now, in my experience, photographers can be a vocal lot. And a lot of them weren’t crazy about the idea of Photoshop jobs winning the contest.