Understanding Lenses – Depth of Field

Where do you focus, and how does the aperture affect an image? In a certain way, the opening question should be the other way around!   There is a law of physics that governs the relationship between shutter speed and aperture (f-stop).  Shutter speeds are pretty easy to understand: 1/60 second is one half as much

Can the Zone System Go Digital?

In a word: YES! The Zone System (ZS) can be an integral and important part of any digital photographer’s workflow because it allows you to plan and predict an image’s tonal values rather than letting the camera make the decision. The computerized metering systems in modern cameras are really amazing, and a lot of the

Film Testing, Testing, Testing

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

Selective Masking for Printing Challenging Negatives

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

Film Negatives from Digital Files

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

Notes on the new Adox MCC 110 FB paper

When I “test” a new paper, or one I haven’t tried in a long time, the first thing I like to do is see how it “feels” compared to a paper I’m used to.

When I got my first sample of the Adox paper, I had just finished producing a batch of Ansel Adams’ Moon and Half Dome prints for The Ansel Adams Gallery. Since the negative (made on 120 Adox R17 12/28/1960) was still in my Omega D5500 enlarger, I had a perfect opportunity to see exactly how the paper would perform with a high quality image I had printed many many times.

The first result: an absolutely lovely image. It required no change in the “no filter” setting I usually use with this negative on Ilford Multigrade FB – so “normal” contrast seemed to be right on. It had a beautiful gradation of tonality from blacks to clean whites. It seemed a bit faster than the Ilford, but for the Adox test I was using a higher concentration of Dektol than I had used for the production printing.

New Darkroom Timer

CompnTempscreen_sWorkshop alum and Stanford scientist, Curt Palm, has created a new darkroom timer that significantly “one-ups” the popular Zone VI Compensating Developing Timer.

CompnTemp ® is software rather than hardware and is available for both Windows and Mac computers. I set up a small shelf in my darkroom for my Mac Powerbook and all I have to do to get going is plug in the accessory USB temperature probe and cover the screen with red plastic.

What sets CompnTemp apart from ANY other timer is that is completely user-programmable. if you want your target temperature to be 73 degrees instead of 68 that’s fine. If you want it to count UP instead of DOWN, that’s fine, too.

You can save profiles so you can toggle from one group of settings for prints to another set of preferences for film. It even lets you customize the compensation curves.  It also gives you a continuous read-out of the ACTUAL temperature.

Photo Spotter for Prints and Negatives

Print spotting is something none of us can avoid having to take to task on some level. Some of us are better at it than others, some just can’t get the hang of it at all. Some are good at it but just don’t have the time or patience for it. If you or anyone

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