Friday, September 25, 2009

It's that melancholic time of year when mid-afternoon's sunlight dancing on golden leaves too soon gives way to deep sylvan shadows, and redolent misty air. Evening encroaches ever earlier. It has been noted by those who are the gatekeepers of art that "unalloyed beauty" is suspect....too easy, and not intellectually challenging. Such writers fail to appreciate that the "alloy" can be a union of the viewers spirit with the image that brings him to a private, personal, and unique place. Each of us is original, hence each of us experiences art uniquely. Perhaps that is really all that is necessary.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything here, and even longer since I've posted a photograph, but I am posting the one below because I want to be able to look at it away from this 'puter. It's a place of great solitude, and natural stillness, and to visit it online during a stressful day at work is a genuine treat. It's of a boardwalk that is suspended over a small section of the wetlands at Goose Pond Mountain State Park. This summer has been unusually wet, and there has been an absolute riot of growth in these fields of rich soil and abundant moisture.

The 5 PM sun was quite low here, and there's a slight lens flare hot spot on the near planking even though I used my hand to help shade the lens beyond what the actual lens shade was able to do but I don't think it intrudes too much. I've toned this negative scan in PhotoShop to more closely approximate the actual rich warmth I'm getting in my prints now using the thiocarbamide and selenium prescription I wrote about below (September 2nd).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This post is for the eleven people on the planet who care about such things, but here goes nonetheless: my current toning regimen with thiocarbamide and selenium . Tim Rudman's excellent (and currently out of print and expensive to buy used) "The Photographer's Toning Book, The Definitive Guide" has been a bible of sorts for this exploration.

To achieve a chromatic tonal pallette more or less like the PhotoShop filter I've used on the more recent negative scans below, a variable sepia toning process can be used. It involves purchasing the chemicals: thiocarbamide, potassium bromide, potassium ferricyanide ( won't kill you unless you're stupid careless), and sodium hydroxide (which will burn your skin off in a trice if you don't wear protective gloves, goggles, apron and magic's commonly known as lye), and those were purchased from Photographers' Formulary. Dr. Rudman's book gives a recipe for a stock solution of the bleach, toner, and activator, but the adventure lies in tweaking the brew till it suits one's taste (aesthetic taste, of course). Here's what I've settled on for the moment, which may change a bit as I get familiar wtih it on different images:

Pot Ferri bleach: 10% solution for 30 to 40 seconds
Thiocarbamide toner with Sodium Hydroxide activator" 950 ml of 9 to 1 dilute toner with 50 ml of activator for 2 minutes or until full redevelopment seems to have been achieved.
Thorough washing need to be done between each step, and then a 4 minute bath in selenium 1:10 and a final 30+ minute wash.

Serve with coffee or scotch depending on the time of day.