Monday, October 30, 2017

Digital Platinum Workshop

New York, New York

Snaps from last weekend's digital/platinum workshop. I was too busy keeping up with the group to make a series of story-telling pictures about the action, but here are a couple shots. A productive group of four produced negatives from 29 shots, and almost forty Pt/Pd prints during the weekend at Penumbra.

As an additional note, because of very stormy, rainy conditions on Sunday, the workspace (which is not quite finished remodeling/construction) couldn't maintain ideal temperature/humidity conditions for the Hahnemühle Platinum Rag paper we were using. In conditions above 50% humidity print quality suffers compared to around 40%. With the prep area running 65% Rh we experimented with drying as much as possible with cold air and then switching to hot air from a hair dryer, trying to get the paper to "feel right" —as it would prepping at 40%—and the results were excellent. Another nice versatility feature of this paper.

Legs like yours

New York, New York

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

More Printing, Plus Upcoming Workshop

Couple prints today, Pt/Pd on HPR, 11" wide picture area, M-4/3s capture worked up as digital negative. Pictures made recently at Macedonia Brook State Park, near Kent, CT.
Also, there are still one or two spots available for my "digital platinum" workshop this weekend at The Penumbra Foundation / Center for Alternative Photography in NYC.

Rite Aide

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Today I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to make web JPEGs from copy shots of recent prints. Platinum prints are incredibly difficult to approximate (reproduce is out of the question) either online or on press. Scanners go nuts and make the paper texture vastly more obvious than it is in actual viewing. Copying with a digital camera (or process camera for press) does a lot better, but still presents problems. Even with a perfect custom white balance for the digital captures, the print color looks much too warm, which it turns out can be fixed by a fairly severe saturation reduction processing the Raw file. (I've found a saturation reduction is also needed for copies of oil paintings, though only about half as much).

These now come pretty close to what the actual prints look like (would look like when matted to the image area), at least on my calibrated display. Who knows what they'll turn into on the plethora of devices in use today. If you're at all interested, click on one of the pictures to get the larger and more accurate (not that it's accurate at all, just more) view.

The series is from the past couple of weeks, looking at special parts of Steep Rock Preserve, experimenting to see how far I can take the hybrid digital/platinum process.

One Way, Twice, with Weeds

Waterbury, Connecticut

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Another Print Session

This morning's printing, five more Pt/Pd prints from my new 'Steep Rock Autumn' series. These are snaps of the prints as they cleared. The dozen pictures that I wanted to see as a series, edited down from several hundred captures, are printed now. The next step is to live with the finished prints for a while and decide what I think of them as a group. They might end up getting edited down, or I could end up adding or replacing pictures from another dozen that I ranked just below this set in on-screen editing.

As a technical experiment the digital/platinum series has worked well. These are all first prints from first negatives from the files (all exposed at four minutes with my UV lightsource and vacuum frame) and they've all come through very much as I intended while adjusting the files in Adobe Camera Raw. It's also feeling like a successful experiment in using a digital camera (which of course is making color pictures) to produce a set of pictures intended specifically to be presented as platinum/palladium prints. Maybe I'll have more thoughts on that after I've spent some time with the finished set of first-prints.

Two Hearts

Torrington, Connecticut

Saturday, October 21, 2017

More Platinum/Palladium Prints

More snaps of prints in progress, another six from the 'Steep Rock Autumn' series I've been shooting over the past few weeks. These are from this morning's printing session. With another session tomorrow morning I should have a first look at all the selected set of a dozen pictures.

Brookside, Autumn

Macedonia Brook State Park, Connecticut

Friday, October 20, 2017

New Prints in Platinum/Palladium

This Autumn I've been working on a set of pictures at nearby Steep Rock Preserve. The subject is the forest and the Shepaug River that runs through it, using the special conditions and light as the leaves brighten and thin out. The forest can take on a glow in the soft light before or after the rain and I'm trying to capture that. It's also an experiment in working with digital capture to produce a set of pictures intended exclusively for platinum/palladium printing. This morning I made the first two test prints, 11-inches wide. They indicate that file prep has gone well but I'll wait until they are completely dry to evaluate and continue printing. Here are the first two, working their way through the clearing baths: