Daily Archives: August 25, 2015

In Lou’s Words: Processing your Prints

Your paper is coated with an emulsion of gelatin and silver crystals that is light sensitive. After making an exposure in your camera there is –––if you’ve given it enough exposure–––an image on your paper that is invisible to the eye that’s called the latent image. In order to make the image visible your print will need to be processed in chemical baths that convert the silver crystals into incredibly small particles of actual silver in exact proportion to the amount of light they received. Therefore, the black areas on your paper negative received the most amount of light, and white areas indicate no exposure at all. In an ideal image you will have a range of tones from black to gray to white. If your negative is too black it indicates too much exposure, if it’s pure white to little.

There are two basic types of Black /White photo paper; one has a resin coated base (plastic) and the other has a fiber base. For our purposes try the following processing times. (You have resin coated paper, I brought some fiber paper as well…we’ll stick to RC Paper and processing times to begin).

RC Paper Processing

Developing Time              30secs – 1.5 minutes

Rinse                                     10 seconds

Fix                                          2-3 minutes

Wash                                     5 minutes

Fiber Paper Processing

Developing Time              2-3 minutes

Stop                                       30 seconds minute

Fix                                          5 minutes

Wash                                     20 minutes

Assignment for TUESDAY!

Assignment for today, Tuesday.

  • Take notes on everything.
  • Learn how to load your film holder, expose, paper and process prints.
  • Determine your basic exposure. In bright sun yesterday it was between 8-25 seconds in bright sun. In more subdued light your exposures will be longer.
  • Make portrait of your partner(s) at a distance of no more than one foot.
  • Once you get control of your exposures photograph a scene that includes: you, your object and your image.
  • Scan at least two of your best images and create digital files ready for printing. (We’ll help…)


Considerations for Good Photos!

  • Always know where your light source is coming from. Ideally you want sun behind you at an angle…. Coming over a shoulder but not directly over your back.
  • Look at your subject carefully. Where is the light falling? If you photograph your partner is there any light on their face or does it sit in shadow? You must learn to look for light. Your cameras record light. It’s all they know. If there isn’t any or if your primary sits in deep shadows there is nothing for it to record.
  • Keep in mind the brightest areas in the scene will reflect the most amount of light and therefore create more exposure on your paper. Therefore, when you look at your paper negatives the black means exposure and white means no light was reflected.
  • An ideal negative has a range of tones from black-gray-white.
  • Trouble-shooting light leaks with your cameras. Remember to push the top sliding plate against the back of the film holder first, then GENTLY slide the bottom plate against the front of the film holder. If you push it back with too much force you will unseat the film holder and create a light leak.
  • Light travels in straight lines. The bottom of the scene you photograph will appear at the top of the film holder and the top of the scene at the bottom. When you have big dark streaks of black sliver on the bottom of the image it actually indicates a light leak at the top of the camera and most likely at the film holder.
  • Movement: when making an exposure be very careful when you pull the slide and take your finger off the pinhole. If you move the camera the image will be soft. (ON the other hand you can choose to exploit movement if you know what you’re doing).
  • After making an exposure make sure to take the film holder out of the camera and turn it around to avoid double exposing your negative. (ON the other hand you can choose to make double exposures.)
  • If you get a lot of small spots all over you negative it means that there’s dust in your camera or film holder. Make sure to clean out any dust from your camera.


Getting Started with Your Camera

All cameras consist of four basic parts: a light-tight box, an aperture (controls volume), a shutter (controls duration), and a film or focal plane (where the image comes into focus). For this workshop the aperture will be a pinhole drilled with a needle through .002 of inch thick brass shim. (These cameras can also be modified to take a plastic or glass lens). The shutter will simply be an index finger covering and uncovering the pinhole. The camera is constructed to fit precisely a 4×5 inch, large format film holder.

The focal length of the lens or the distance between the aperture and the film plane is roughly 1.5 inches long. The shorter the focal length the greater the angle of view.

Angle of view refers to the number of degrees out of 360 that the camera will record (think of it as a slice of pie). For example: human vision sees approximately 47 degrees which is why a 50mm lens is considered normal for a 35mm camera. Anything more than 50mm is considered a telephoto, and anything less, a wide angle. Your cameras are extreme wide-angle cameras and take in almost double what normal human vision sees.

To maximize what your cameras are capable of recording make sure to use all of the space available to you as an image-maker.

  1. Find out–––by placing objects to the left and right of primary subject
  2. ––– how much space your camera records from side to side (angle of view) in both vertical and horizontal positions?
  3. Take a horizontal and vertical image of the exact same scene and take note of the differences.
  4. Also, determine the number of inches from the camera where you can first begin to see an image. After looking at your prints from yesterday my guess is about eight inches (it will be different for vertical and horizontal images). Therefore as you test your cameras today. Place images and objects in front of your camera beginning at a distance of no less than six inches.