Arches National Park - 8x10 Paper Negatives

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by Joe VanCleave, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Shot some paper negatives in my 8x10 box camera last week at Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah. All images using Freestyle's Arista-brand grade 2 RC paper, post-flashed prior to development, developed by inspection in Ilford Universal paper developer mixed 1+15 at 68f. The paper I rate at an Exposure Index of 12. Exposure times varied from around 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on the light.

    ~Joe

    Delicate Arch:
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    [​IMG]

    Skyline Arch:
    [​IMG]

    Fiery Furnace Overlook:
    [​IMG]

    Turret Arch:
    [​IMG]

    Courthouse Rock:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I bow to you, you are the master, Joe. Wow, very nice indeed. Did you take your portable DR and process there or wait until you got home?
     
  3. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Well done! Very impressed. The Courthouse Rock and Fiery Furnace overlook both have something beautiful and intriguing about them.
     
  4. jon.oman

    jon.oman Member

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    Very nice set of images Joe!
     
  5. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Rick, I waited to get home to process these. The camera has storage slots in the back, behind the film plane, for exposed and unexposed sheets; I took about 40 sheets, but exposed only 18. Alas, my portable darkroom box is a bit too small for processing 8x10.

    ~Joe
     
  6. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    Wouldn't the use of paper as a negative result in laterally reversed images? With transparent film negatives we look from the non-emulsion side to see the picture right-way-around, so why should that not apply to paper? And how did the images shown here become positive? Did you use a reversal process? Sorry if my questions appear to display ignorance, but I am just not familiar with the use of opaque paper as a negative.
     
  7. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Actually, paper isn't all that opaque, you can print right through it if the developed emulsion faces the target print. I could easily picture doing contact prints. The only hazard might be paper that has some sort of watermarks or imprints on the back.

    Joe's images are great. I'm following these threads with interest after my first feeble attempts at pinhole paper negatives.
     
  8. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    Wonderful set of images. What focal length is your camera?
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    But then you get a left-right reversal, right?

    [Question: If 4"x5" is 5"x4" in the UK, does the left-right reversal become right-left reversal? I am so confused!! :blink:]

    Steve
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I dont even want to think about how that works in the southern hemisphere.:sideways:
     
  11. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Um, methinks I'm missing the problem here - the emulsion faces the lens when we shoot the picture and the negative emulsion faces the print paper emulsion when we print a negative? I think of a paper negative as converting a condenser enlarger to diffusion by laminating a (translucent) sheet of paper to the base side of a regular negative.

    As to the other question, how about a 90º rotation, direction depending on which side of the equator, which crops the ends and prints them on the back .... :blink:.

    (And in the next few days I need to dredge some fiber based graded stuff out of the depths and try it all. :whistling: )

    DaveT
     
  12. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Dave has nailed it. The only significant difference between paper and plastic-based silver gelatin medium is that the RC paper is translucent, and the spectral sensitivity of the paper's emulsion is actinic with an additional bit of green.

    To see what a sheet of print paper would see with a paper negative sandwiched on top, place a paper negative face up on a light box, you can see that the entire range of tones within the emulsion is clearly visible.

    When contact printing a paper negative, the print paper is emulsion side up, on top of which is the paper negative, emulsion side down. Thus the two sheets are emulsion-to-emulsion. The light source diffuses through the translucent RC-coated paper negative's backing, giving a similar effect to that of a diffusion enlarger.

    Paper negatives made on FB paper typically show the texture of the paper from a contact print; contact prints from RC paper negatives are generally free from such artifacts. I use Freestyle's Arista brand grade 2 RC paper for my negative media.

    I don't know of any specific paper being made today with a watermark. They may be out there, but I'm not aware of them by specific brands. I think this is an "old wive's tale" (or rather, old man's tale) that's floated around the photography community much too long.

    The images posted here were scans from the paper negatives. However, they contact print very nicely. As for the direction of orientation when contact printing, the reversal of the image, left to right, happens the same as when contact printing a plastic-based film negative, which is also contact printed emulsion-to-emulsion with the print paper.

    The only additional manipulation required for scanning a paper negative (other than reversing the tones) is to perform the left-to-right reversal in post, to simulate what happens during the contact print process.

    ~Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2011
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Got it! No left-right or right-left reversal in English speaking Northern Hemisphere nations. So, to get it correctly in the Southern Hemisphere since liquids drain in the opposite direction, the paper must be put into the developer with the side down first opposite of the way one would do it in the Northern Hemisphere. Thanks, now that is clear.

    Steve
     
  14. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Some, if not all of Kodak's RC paper had "Kodak" written all over the backside of the paper. Some of the Agfa fiber paper also has "Agfa" written on the back.
     
  15. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Joe - have you given up on trying to retain detail in the sky while keeping exposure almost correct for the shadows and midtones? I noticed that in all the shots you posted the sky is blown out or almost all the way blown out. I always try to expose my paper negatives so that I can keep information in the sky while keeping information elsewhere, but this has screwed me over a couple times. What's your take on it?
     
  16. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Having a wide-angle-of-view camera helps to retain some detail in the edges of the sky due to under-exposure caused by the extended focal ratio at the edges (i.e. the focal length gets longer toward the edges and corners), but for the most part attempting to retain detail in the sky through under-exposure usually results in under-exposure of the landscape, which is my primary interest in these images.

    Keep in mind that paper's emulsion is UV/blue sensitive, extending a bit into the green, but many landscapes are lacking in UV and blue reflectivity, hence the exposure required to gain significant detail in the landscape usually blows out the sky. That's okay, it's part of the aesthetic of the medium. It reminds me of 19th century landscape photography that used plates of similar sensitivity, whose images you'll recall appear to have blown-out white skies.

    As an experiment, a few years ago I did a series where I was taking pictures of the sky and white, fluffy clouds using paper negatives in a pinhole camera. Whereas a normal landscape exposure in this particular camera might require a 30 second exposure, I found exposures less than 10 seconds would give "normal" appearing skies.

    I've also found that photographing landscape images under cloudy conditions gives favorable tones, muting the harsh contrast and in many cases permitting one to retain some detail in the sky (albeit cloudy detail). Of course, the exposure times will be longer under cloudy conditions, which can be an issue, especially if it's windy and the camera begins to shake.

    ~Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2011
  17. dfoo

    dfoo Member

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    Nice shots! I'm not sure, however, that I'd go to the trouble of carrying around and setting up an 8x10 camera to such a great place to come back with a bunch of paper negatives :smile: An ND grad would sort the skies out...