Learning Colour? No Classes nearby, Book?
Hi, I'm in my second semester of photography at university, it's not my major, or even my minor, but I'm hooked.
Unfortunately, the local community college recently went digital, the university only does B&W, and I've got the fever.
I live in Northern Ontario, Canada, and I'm in school full time so driving somewhere else for classes isn't an option.
I've got the fever, so waiting for a few years until I'm out of school isn't an option either.
In fact, I'm trying to pick up a colour medium format enlarger as we speak, and am discussing a trade with another guy for a 5x7 large format colour enlarger.
But after I get it, then what?
How best to go about teaching myself how to do colour printing with aforesaid enlargers?
And what in blue blazes is a colour analyzer.
P.S. I'm Canadian and we do COLOUR photography, not COLOR photography. Will I still be using the same chemicals?
Kodak publishes a tutorial on negative and positive color processing and printing. It is a spiral bound book of about 100 pages with lots of illustrations.
It is the "Kodak Color Darkroom Dataguide", Cat # E156 9136. The latest edition I have is dated 1996, and it costs $22 US.
"Color Photography" by Henry Horenstein is a good book on the subject. It's available at Chapters online.
Thanks for the suggestions Guys.
I bought Kodak color darkroom guide on Amazon PE, I have high hopes, and I like the only other kodak publication I've read (the art of seeing).
Rob, I was thinking about Horenstein, and I just wasn't sure. I've got his Black and white basic manual, and I found it a bit of a heavy read. I'm not just saying that from a quick skim either, I was a motivated learner, and read it cover to cover twice, the second time I was taking notes. It's just that nothing seemed to pop for me, even though the text is professionally put together on quality paper and looks very nice.
I think he might be a better photographer than he is a teacher. I really liked the picture he has on the front cover of my text, a very high contrast image of some trees in snow. I hope to "copy" the idea some day, it's pretty neat.
Go to the Kodak website and download the document for the old Supra paper [Supra III?] It had more info on printing. Charts on which way to go when your test print has a cast.
Other then that I think the best thing to do is buy a roll of paper or at least a big box of 5x7s and just print.
1) Get a hairdryer to dry your test prints.
2) Get yourself a notebook to track everything. No matter how unimportant it seems when you write it down.
3) On the back of your test prints write down the filter pack and the exposure details. DO NOT THROW these out. The next day or later go back and look at them. Best if you can keep them in order. See if things really worked the way you thought it should.
Once you've gotten to the point you understand it all then just get a Jobo Colorstar 3000 or maybe one of the later models 5000/7000. The Colorstars or the later Colorlines really can figure out exposure and filter pack in no time once setup. The 3000 isn't very hard to setup either. BUT you'll never get much out of these if you don't understand the process to begin with. Also don't waste your money on many of the older boxes. The Colorstars are true stars. -)
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The only thing I find hard about colour photography is colour balance. The principles are easy to understand, the processing is a no-brainer, and the paper is cheaper than B&W! But I spent many an evening agonizing over 5CC of filtration, making test prints, changing one variable at a time, to make sure I was getting closer to the best possible result.
So get a set of Kodak Viewing Filters on eBay. Kodak does not produce them anymore, at least according to all the stores I called, but they are peerless for helping you with colour balance.
A colour analyser (not to be confused with a color analyzer!) does the same job, but it's another gadget to calibrate and hone. Some people find them invaluable, other people never need them. Start with the filters, because you must train your eyes first.
I'll second the Kodak Dataguide. Any recent edition will do, because you want it for the principles, not the product information. That information is available on their website. I like the old editions (60s-70s) because they are printed on stiff cardboard to allow all sorts of funky dials, calculators, and gadgets.
A general intro book to photography could also be helpful (Hedgecoe, Upton, etc) because they explain and illustrate well the principles of colour. For more advanced reading, pick up Ctein's "Post Exposure" but make sure you understand the basics first.
Get a good viewing light, a nice quartz halogen lamp for instance. It's likely to be the kind of light under which most people view your photos. Beware of metamerism.
BTW, whereabouts in this fine country of ours are you located?
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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The new edition of the Kodak book is also on heavy paper with lots of data and pictures. The interesting thing is that if you can get an older edition, it contains a set of viewing filters for printing along with the examples, and it also contains a Kodak standard negative for calibrating your system.
Kodak now sells very detailed color charts (for digital though) which work very well as test charts to photograph and then use as calibration instruments.
The Durst Colortrainer is also a good instruction tool if you can find one. It is a kit of programmed instruction to teach you how to evaluate negatives and print them as well as making test negatives.
If your searching for the old Kodak Color Darkroom Dataguide, my copy is dated 1989 - Publication No. R-19
The Kodak Color Print Viewing Filter Kit is Publication No. R-25. The kit includes 6 cards (Red, Cyan, Magenta, Green, Yellow, Blue) w/3 filters on each card - the filter factors are 5,10 &15. I was more successful using these - a color analyser and other methods were too much fuss for me. You'll find that accurate color balancing is done by comparative methods - comparing each consecutive print, or test strip, with the previous ones - I've tried a number of methods and this was the easiest method for me. When getting close to an accurate color balance by making small incremental changes in filtration, it becomes difficult to distinguish between Cyan and Blue, this is where the viewing filters help you to determine which color needs to be adjusted. Red and Magenta can also be confused, but not as difficult.
The two step color rule:
For prints with bluish cast (assume the color cast is blue): Step 1. correct for blue. Step 2. correct for green. If the original print was too blue, Step #1 will result in a good print. If the original print was cyan, step #1 will result in a green print, which can then be corrected by step #2. Note: blue + green = cyan.
For prints with a reddish cast (assume the color cast is magenta): Step 1. correct for magenta. Step 2. correct for yellow. If the original print was too magenta, step #1 will result in a good print. If the original print was red, step #1 will result in a yellow print, which can be corrected by step #2. Note: magenta + yellow = red.
Last edited by panastasia; 02-24-2008 at 04:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
Well, an easy way to get a good balance is to expose one frame to either a neutral gray card or a MacBeth color checker. Then when you start printing, make a proof sheet with the gray card or step scale and balance to match the original. This will sync the rest of the roll. Having the original with the checker is a big help as the colors are clues.