A large crowd gathered on the town green of Litchfield at eleven o'clock this morning, hundreds of people, for a rally in support of immigrant families, one of hundreds of rallies all across the country. Here are my first quick picks of pictures, concentrating mostly on the signs. The crowd included people of all ages and many families with their own small children. There was a lot of positive response from passing cars and trucks (including several big rigs that sounded their air horns) and almost no negative reactions.
This is the first in a series of six pictures I'm going to post, taken with the Leica Monochrom 246 that I had on loan recently. The point of the loan was for me to become familiar with the camera (I began using my first M Leica in 1967 but have never worked with the digital Leicas) and its files, ahead of a Leica-oriented variation of my "digital platinum" workshop planned for this coming October at the Penumbra Foundation. These are pictures that I think will come across better as direct digital prints on a top level paper like Canson Baryta Photographique, or Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta Satin. Here I noticed that the ballfield is quite well maintained though the bleachers are showing their age. But their's a brand-new shiny fence protecting the "dugout" bench. Signs of renewal.
Local artists given space in a restaurant's shop window.
UPDATE: Also, Blogger, which has been acting flakey in a number of ways for a while now, just turned up nine comments posted to the blog over the past three weeks without showing up at my end. So apologies for seeming to ignore people who posted notes or questions.
At 11:30 this morning there was a small, almost impromptu action (the organizers only came up with the idea on Thursday) on a public field in the middle of town. They used mylar blankets to symbolize the plight of children separated from their parents and detained at America's southern border. It was an affecting scene with no sign of counter protest, but it was disappointing to see no young people. Maybe there just aren't any on the network used to spread word of the action online.
More platinum/palladium prints shot with the Leica Monochrom camera I had on loan for a couple weeks recently. Mostly out in the woods and fields, but a couple of city subjects as well. The prints are 11-inches wide on 11x15 Hahnemühle Platinum Rag. Negatives made with my system on Fixxons film in an Epson 3880, coated with a mostly-palladium mixture, exposed in my vacuum frame and 20x24 fluorescent tube UV light source, developed in potassium oxalate. The two pictures of ferns were shot with my 50mm Noctilux, the others with my 35mm Summicron. These are probably the last of the MM-246 pictures that I'll print, at least for right now.
Steep Rock Preserve, Washington, Connecticut
White Memorial Conservation Center, Litchfield, Connecticut
Thought I'd put up copy shots of recent printing. Conveying what a platinum/palladium print looks like in a web file is kind of a fool's errand, but it's better than having nothing to show at all. As background to this work—I'll be teaching a workshop this Fall at the Penumbra Foundation in New York, in cooperation with Leica Akademie. It will be a variation on my "digital platinum" workshop, modified to specifically support Leica Monochrom users (or people who are Monochrom-curious). The one-channel files really are different to work with than normal Bayer-array RGB files. Finding that out and getting a handle on working with the files is why I had a loaner MM-246 for a couple weeks recently.
These eight pictures are the first that I've printed from the 1500 or so captures I made with the camera. I shot these with my 35mm Summicron and 50mm Noctilux, both lenses dating back to the 1980s. After adjusting the files in Adobe Camera Raw, they were output using my digital negative system, making negs on Fixxons film with an Epson 3880 printer. The prints are a Pt/Pd mixture with only about 10% Pt (I find that with most papers a small amount of traditional Pt makes a marked improvement over pure Pd, but that only a small portion of Pt is needed) on Hahnemühle Platinum Rag paper. Potassium oxalate developer, used at room temperature. Multiple clearing baths of a mixture of edta disodium and sodium sulfite.
I like the results with the nature subject matter a lot. The extremely high resolution of the monochrome sensor helps with highly detailed forest scenes. I like the urban subject matter pictures I made with the camera but I'm not so sure they do their best in platinum, though I like the results with the two shown here. There are more pictures in the folder I find interesting enough to print, so I'll be doing more of them in coming days.