To RAP: I have a hard time understanding how it could take 4 hours to make a print. Even back when I used enlarging paper it took at the most half that time (now takes an hour for 5 prints from one new negative, but that's Azo--it is so easy to work with).
Thanks for the reply. I just saw it today.
That is about what it takes me, some more, some less, depending on the variables. I tend to use longer development times, 4 to 5 minutes which eats up the time. Plus I like to comtemplate between pilot prints to make sure I am heading in the right direction. When I was learning, it would take me days! But as Caponigro said, "The best way to do it, is to do it." You have do develope a feel for what does what and adapt it to what you want to say.
I went to a Zone VI Workshop in the late 70's. It was great to say the least. I ate like a pig (the food was great), worked like a horse and still lost 5 lbs. Before that, I really had no idea what a good print really looked like. My portfolio that I presented the first day had prints that were way over printed, too dark. Fred set me straight.
For some reason Fred and I chaffed, though we had never met before. During one fieldtrip I looked into a barn, and saw the textures of the siding contrasted to some sunlit chicken wire. Fred barked at me, GET OUTA THERE! On another driving in the car, Fred saw a shot of some flowers, jumped out of the car and took it the picture. Then I blerted, AWWW you staged that! The last day was a very emotional one, Martin Tarter did a very moving slide show that got a standing ovation. I just did not want it to end.
I spent the next few months reprinting, and also printed some negs from the workshop using my new found info. Then I made a sojern back to Vermont. My first stop in was the Putney General Store. Just as I was about to open the screen door, who should come walking out at that precise moment, no not Fred. But my cousin, who was attending Windam at the time. She blerted out, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!"
Anyway, I checked in and called the studio several times. Each time someone picked up the reciever and hung up. Some welcome! Maybe Fred knew I was in town. The next day I struck out, and somehow found Zone VI, walked in unannounced and saw Fred, Lil, and I think Bernie. I asked Fred to look at some prints to which he graciously agreed. The first comment from Lil was, "Oh! you have something to say!" Fred went through the box, asked a few questions, I mumbled some nerveous replies. Fred called one I took at the workshop "a beaut." I thanked him and left.
Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.
Sounds like the late Mr. Picker that I learned to know through his newsletters. Never at a loss for an opinion, never at a loss for words in expressing his opinion. Most times his opinions were summed up in several very distinct venues:
1. Buy a view camera
2. All of the good black and white papers were gone, with the exception of
3. Light meters were shoddily made and not to be trusted, with the
exception of Zone VI modified meters
4. Buy a view camera
5. Aluminum tripods aren't worth a damn...buy a Zone VI wooden tripod.
6. Hypo sinks, so buy a Zone VI print washer
7. Buy a view camera
8. No one knows what a good print looks like...buy Freds fine prints.
9. Buy a view camera
10. Anything other then a cold light isn't worth a damn.
11. Attend a workshop to learn to use the crap that I sold you, you aren't
smart enough to figure it out yourself.
12. Never forget....buy a view camera.
I miss Fred...We need more like him.
Actually, the late Fred Picker proved the saying that my dear late father was fond of using. "Just goes to show that there are more horses butts in the world than there are horses".
I have seen a number of Fred's "fine prints" and they are no great shakes. The fellow I stayed with in Tucson has a couple and they are muddy and poorly composed. Not something I would try and sell. Some of the equipment was pretty good. Some was just hype.
Hey Lee, Bring us up to date on your darkroom. How is it coming?
I actually bought a lot of that stuff (but not the Zone VI view camera) and now it's sitting in my garage waiting for me to start another chemical darkroom. I also bought a lot of Salt Hill stuff, which was extremely well made. Whatever happened to them?
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It seems that Fred Picker was, if not something else, the consumate pitchman. He did have some well thought out and built equipment, however his overbearing attitude seemed to grate on some of us. Fred was kind of like eating carp...the fish is not entirely bad once you get past the bones.
I don't recall Salthill. What did they build? Maybe that will jog my declining memory.
Salthill made high end darkroom stuff. They have been out of business for nearly a decade. They made an enlarger with optical fiber (never saw one) and a good archival paper and film washer. I saw some stuff for sale not long ago on ebay.
As to the darkroom, my darkroom partner and I finished putting the insulation and moisture barrier and sheetrock on the last wall this last Saturday. We have the little bathroom left to do and then the really heavy work will be done. I bought paint Saturday and that will go a long way to helping make it look like we are getting ready. After that, we can move in the sinks and connect to the plumbing we have already roughed in. The really good news is the roof repair that I did, worked and it does not leak. It rained all day Saturday and when I checked Sunday, it was dry as a bone. That is a big weight off my shoulders. The electrical is the real last thing before moving in. Oh we need to build some shelves and the like but that is minor stuff.
thanks for asking,
I never had the Salthill enlarger, but I had the easel and a GREAT film dryer that I still use. I have a lot of the Zone VI acrylic stuff...archival washer, film washer, paper flattener (which has never even come close to working), etc.
Too bad Salt Hill went out of business. I wonder why.
Sounds like your darkroom is getting down to the point of "seeing the light at the end of the tunnel". I imagine that you felt good about the roof repair. How long has it been since you worked out of your own darkroom?
I have a proposition for you, if you want to do a documentary of the folks at Yoder, Kansas...I will drive the getaway car when they run after you with horse and buggy...I prefer the protection of sheet metal over a dark cloth...Just a personal characteristic of mine...what do you think, huh?
Good luck, Later...