Sunday, March 27, 2011

This post is a bit unusual in that I've made the actual print below before scanning the negative.  As traditional a photographer as I may otherwise be, scanning negatives beats the hell out of making contact sheets, and I haven't made one in years. Once a negative is scanned, it's incredibly easy to see what's possible in Photoshop so that darkroom work then becomes considerably more direct.  It's just a matter of figuring out how to make the print look like the best rendering I've created on the computer.  With experience, that translation gets easier and knowing what will and won't work and why is invaluable.  The biggest difference is viewing the image by transmitted light on the monitor rather than reflected light on the print, and that distinction would apply regardless of whether the actual paper print were made in the darkroom or the lightroom.

The scene here is by a path along the Wallkill River at New Palz (NY) in the early winter of 2008. The water is from heavy recent rain, I think, and not an overflow of the river. I have no idea why I've neither scanned, nor printed this before.  It seems like a pretty good image to me. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's the first full week of spring.  Obviously, that called for a snowstorm. And so it proceeded, but with paved surfaces too warm for snow to stick until the overnight when the air temperature dropped into the 20's.  It's really rare that I am available when both weather features are visually interesting, and when what I'd like to photograph is accessible.  So often a good snowfall makes all the road pullouts impossible to park on, but this time everything came together. These two photographs are the result of a really enjoyable hour in the wet, falling snow.

(I've had my Pentax 67 kit for over a decade now, and I am still delighted by the bulletproof build of that system. Getting it a bit wet didn't phase it in the least.  I know everyone admires the Hassie outfits used by many prominent artists, but I'll stick with this gear as long as it lasts. The 4x5 just wasn't up to the wetness!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the ongoing lookback at older negatives, I found this one from a few years ago.  It was made at a beach in Florida that, sadly to me, allows vehicle traffic.  Many photographers make pilgrimages to the western American deserts seeking the perfect composition with flawless sand and gorgeous light.  I haven't been so fortunate, but have been happy to have access from time to time to the sand dunes at our Atlantic shores.  As we will be moving to this area in several years, I'll probably not think too much of this image when I will have made innumerable and perhaps much better ones, but for now, I like it. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's been a while, but I finally had a chance to get out with the Pentax, and was able to trudge around the little pond at GPMSP wearing a black and less expensive version of "green wellies" (rubber boots) to slog through the slushy snow, mud, and puddles.  It's amazing how often I've visited this place, and I've made a lot of photographs here.  I didn't think I'd see anything I hadn't seen or photographed before, but I was mistaken.  The ice changed the entire image from merely reflecting the trees and bushes, to evidence of itself as a design element.  It pays to continue to look at even the most familiar, because it may reveal itself in an entirely unexpected way.

These two photographs are titled "End of Winter?" 1 and 2.  It's hard to convey how much I hope that's more than an idle wish! We, of this area, are impatient to enter spring as soon as possible.