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  1. #31
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    I have the opposite problem. I can't make a print I don't love.

    I'm not saying I'm great or anything. On the contrary, when I go into the darkroom to print I always worry that I am not sensitive enough. I know from reading Fred Picker's accounts working with Paul Caponigro that you should toil over prints until the "water looks wet."

    Sometimes this worry about being insensitive overwhelms me so much that I get out the D-76 and develop negs instead of pouring Dektol for prints. I did that several times in a row past few weeks before finally mustering the courage to print. What finally got me going was all these negs that were just burning to be seen.

    Last weekend I made one print on Grade 2 from a contrasty negative. Highlights were hot enough to dry down and I know I dodged the shadow just enough to make it hold. Got what I wanted. Next negative was supposed to print on Grade 3 (N+2 developed to N+1) so I did a test strip on Grade 3 and picked a result I liked. Went to pick out a sheet but the Grade 3 box was empty so I pulled a sheet of Grade 2 and printed using the exposure from the Grade 3 test print.

    Came out quite different than what I picked from the test strip. Lighter for sure. But I think what I got perfectly captured what I saw in the original scene. So what do I do? Take credit for the beautiful print? Or just humbly admit that I would have ruined it if I had been in control?

    Lately I've been on a bit of a dark kick that started when I read a Wynn Bullock quote to the effect that you can make a straight print and it would be a good record. But if you print it down a bit it loses that pedestrian quality. Well, this wasn't Wynn Bullock's Palo Colorado Road which looks great printed down, it was granite. And granite looks great interpreted literally.

    Looking at the dry test strip, I see the darker result might be interesting. But I am sticking with what I got this time, and will consider maybe giving the darker treatment to the next negative.

  2. #32

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    Bob,

    Right now, I am not thinking too much about efficiency. It's a least of my problem. A box of paper costs $50 or so and these days, you can't do much of anything else with $50. Since this is my hobby time is not money either.

    My goal is to make a print that reflects my thoughts and do so predictably. I'm perfectly willing to spend an entire box of paper for one image or spend a months in darkroom - if I think I was going somewhere and my success doesn't depend on luck. I'm an engineer by trade. In order for me to say "I can do this", the process has to be repeatable and document-able. The skill has to be generic enough that I can apply to "an image" not just that image. I'm far away from that....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #33
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    I think you are too hard on yourself, you depend too much on the theoretical aspects and expect a 100% return from that theoretical thing, which never happens.
    You already have all the basics needed to print. Just take pleasure and "feel it". To make your own vision, your own print.
    I'm looking at your last post and you need to drop your engineer background when you enter the darkroom. You will feel much liberated.
    That kind of logic doesn't apply with printing.

  4. #34
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I think G is onto good thoughts here. Art is something that's an expression, something that isn't easily calculated and engineered.
    My own work flow is a lot by feel. Even though I make notes for every print I make, next time I come back and re-print the negative, I want to print it differently anyway, based on the mood I'm in. To feel what's right for the picture is definitely the style I ascribe to. There is absolutely nothing calculated about it, other than having negatives that easily fit the paper I use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume Zuili View Post
    I think you are too hard on yourself, you depend too much on the theoretical aspects and expect a 100% return from that theoretical thing, which never happens.
    You already have all the basics needed to print. Just take pleasure and "feel it". To make your own vision, your own print.
    I'm looking at your last post and you need to drop your engineer background when you enter the darkroom. You will feel much liberated.
    That kind of logic doesn't apply with printing.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #35
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    I was just thinking something simple... here's hoping some of my problem will rub off on tkamiya... and vice versa...

  6. #36

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    Obviously, there are many different ways to approach a lot of things. Some people just "feel it" and some people analyze it. Sometimes, it's combination of both. Cooking, for example... (which is another one of my hobby...) Creating a great dish is an art. But, creating that same dish the same way, every time, is science. I tend to work mostly by analysis rather than "feeling it". I'm sure some people feel more and analyze less. I can't change 40+ years of doing many things this way.

    I actually "feel" what kind of treatment might work for the image. Sometimes, I play around until I get my thoughts straight. Sometimes, I know what I want right off the bat. That much is "art."

    My problem starts when this concept needs to become reality and I have to actually make it happen. That, I think is mostly experience and science. Doing tests, making samples, and repeating that result on the product. I don't ask for 100% return on my "calculations". But it needs to get me close. Otherwise, how do I make the same image twice?

    Anyway, I'll be going back to my darkroom in a few days to try few things out. Let's see what happens..... I got some more paper left in my box, I think....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    Yes I do amaze myself in how incredibly talented I am...Dinesh will probably jump in here about now.
    WHO is Dinesh?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #38
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    WHO is Dinesh?
    You may regret asking that question.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Creating a great dish is an art. But, creating that same dish the same way, every time, is science.
    Science? Substitute the word impossible. If it's a great dish. Each time is a new work.
    If it's created the same way, every time, it's fast food.




    Otherwise, how do I make the same image twice?
    Why would you make the same image twice?
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  10. #40

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    Hey, go back to RC! No drydown, no fuss, no extra wash... Just plain old plastic.

    Ok, FB is totally worth the hassle, after all!

    I have wasted almost an entire 16x20 Forte elegance FB box (50 sheets) on a single negative. The drydown effect was so steep I just couldn't understand it. 200$, countless hours and countless frustrations down the drain. The only lesson I learned was that it's best to stick with a known combo. And that the darkroom is not a place to go crazy on new techniques and overly artistic/fabcy stuff.

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