Friday, December 20, 2013

While I have to wait to build a new darkroom here, I've been having fun scanning negatives and 'playing' with them in Photoshop Elements 11.  That play always directly emulates what I can do chemically and with light.  Photoshop makes things convenient, comparatively easy and immediate, but not unique.  It's not that Photoshop is limited, it's that I choose to impose limits on it to do only what will translate directly to darkroom possibilities.  For this image I would use a higher grade filter...maybe even a 4, and give the paper a very minimal pre-exposure (called flashing) to not let highlights burn out.  There would be considerable dodging and burning, but also bleaching.  That's a technique I learned from reading Bruce Barnbaum's book, and have learned to do well.  Using a Q-Tip soaked in potassium ferricyanide and fixer, I can brighten areas that are rather sketchy to dodge.  Then I'd tone with thiocarbamide after a very light over all bleach in pot ferri, and, after a half hour's rinse, further tone in selenium 1:4 for three minutes or so.  It's surprising how similar to this PS'd scan the print would look, and I get to rehearse what to do sitting at a desk with my laptop.  Fun!

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