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  1. #21
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momus View Post
    That's the beauty of a darkroom print. The image actually is inside the paper, vs sitting on top of it like with an inkjet print. Plus, the image isn't made w/ ink. Of course, Ansel was a genius, and a master at all aspects of photography, especially printing. There's a lot of his books at your library I'm sure. You can learn a lot from them. His working methods were extremely top notch, and it shows in the prints. Keep in mind that silver gelatin is a $100 phrase for any B&W print made on real photographic paper.

    Years ago I was using a hybrid technique. I would shoot B&W film, send it out to be developed, scan it, then print it on an inkjet printer. Doggone it, I thought it looked pretty good, at least as good as what I was seeing locally. Then one day I visited a neighbor who shot 4x5 and darkroom printed the negs. My first thought was, I've wasted 3 years of my life. THIS is what it's supposed to look like. I never got on w/ LF, but I did finally start developing my own negs and printing in a bathroom (still do). It's a magical process, vs the scanning and inkjet printing, which was total frustration and stress. I learned so much from doing it myself. I still learn something new about photography every day. If there's a college that teaches a course, take it. Better yet, if there's someone locally that is good and will teach you the basics, even better. You can do it on your own. A lot of people did, including me. But it takes a lot longer.
    A little bit of an aside but if you "never got on with LF" do you shoot and print from medium format? A good 6x7 or 6x9 negative can yield prints from modern films that are very, very close to what you'd get from 4x5. I'd say with a fine grained film like TMX, Acros, Delta 100 or even TMY-2 that I'd be hard pressed to tell a 16x20 from my 4x5 negatives from one made from a good 6x7 negative. I'm not saying others can't or that there is NO difference - go larger, or crop more severely in printing and it starts to show up. But medium format today is very, very good and the jump from 35mm to MF, especially 6x7 or 6x9, is huge, a much bigger step up than from 6x7 to 4x5.

    Nothing else really competes with a contact print, so those who shoot 8x10 or larger and contact print will always get results unmatched by even slight enlargement. 4x5 contacts can look gorgeous, but they're just too small for my purposes most of the time.

    I agree about the rest. I work with computers all the time for my work. The last thing I want is to have them "invading" my personal art as well, though I recognize not everyone will feel that way. Darkroom printing feels like a magical act of craft to me, even when it's going badly.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Sattler View Post
    Nathan, I believe the quality you are describing in the Adams print may be Luminance. It is that glow, that shine in a high quality silver gelatin print that is very elusive. It is that quality that makes a print "sing". I have been aware of it for many years and chase it constantly. It it a quality that is not easy to produce. It is like that perfect golf swing that yields a great shot (maybe once a round) that brings you back to the golf course for another go at it. What is in that swing that makes it happen? Certainly the vision to "see" the picture, proper exposure and appropriate development, favorable lighting, the right contrast…….then lots of luck even after you have gotten adequate at the mechans.

    Cliveh, I believe you are way off base. The print is everything! The shot or picture itself is only one aspect of a great print.
    I think you may be on to something with this post as there was a bit of a "glowing" effect to the print. I'm not sure about the luck part though. A lot of very good photographers seem to get lucky time and time again.

    One thing I certainly gleaned after reading The Camera, The Negative, and The Print is that Adams was extremely detail oriented. He documented everything assuring he was able to ascertain repeatable results of a known quality.
    Last edited by Nathan King; 12-19-2013 at 05:29 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #23
    kintatsu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan King View Post
    ...he was able to ascertain repeatable results of a known quality.
    He was very meticulous in his printing. In a video I saw, he seemed pretty good at documenting things, especially printing. His prints were works of wonder. They have the magic, but allow for insight into the process. He had a great memory and was able to write things down later and recall so much.

    Reading his Examples impressed me with his recall. It also re-impresses the need for visualizing. By knowing what you CAN do, and your materials are capable of, you can make something great.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    Nothing to do with the original capture then?
    You're just not interested in printing and print quality. You've made that clear time and time again (whether intentional or not).

  5. #25
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    I saw an AA exhibition in Toronto a few years ago and while the content wasn't my particular cup of tea, the printing was top notch. Someone at the time mentioned that while not the only reason, the the cadmium in the papers helped the image pop.

    If you ever get a chance to see Bob Carnies printing skills, you too will be amazed at what he can do with some very difficult negatives.

    Just be sure not to catch his reflection in the glass as it can be off putting.
    Kick his ass, Sea Bass!

  6. #26
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Ansel Adams claimed that the best reproductions of his photographs ". . .came extremely close to my own photographic values." This also seems true of the books and calendars published by the New York Graphic Society, but less so for many books produced without the approval of the Ansel Adams Family Trust. I compared 28 of the images in Ansel Adams: Classic Images with the corresponding photographs in the large Adams exhibit curated by Ansel's daughter-in-law in Peoria, Illinois, last summer. Of course there were slight differences, but the feeling of the reproductions came close to the images in the exhibit. Anyone attempting to print the finest possible photographs should study originals by Adams and other masters. The rest of us can benefit from quality reproductions.

  7. #27
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Either with ink jet prints, silver gelatin prints or any 2 dimensional media, there are rules to show depth. While in college majoring in photography, some of the most influential classes I took are studio art classes where I learned composition. I don't necessarily think silver gelatin prints inherently have more depth, it still requires the artistry and technical skill of the photographer and printer to create the illusion of depth. Take a look here.
    http://www.proko.com/illusion-of-dep...spective-form/
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  8. #28
    kintatsu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Anyone attempting to print the finest possible photographs should study originals by Adams and other masters. The rest of us can benefit from quality reproductions.
    Well said. I also found it helpful to watch the videos of him, weston, and others, either working with the camera or in the darkroom. Seeing the approach seems to give insight into the process and consideration that went into the print. There's on video of Adams from 1958 where they show him making a contact print that I found revealing. The way he read the negative nad everything else.

  9. #29

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    I think that was wishful thinking on Ansel's part, Jim. Certain very expensive press techniques today can come close to fascimile, but that
    certainly was not the case with even the best halftone printing back in his day. I think I can safely say that because I've been nose to nose with more of Ansel's prints than most folks, though I was actually selling prints through a venue almost in his backyard before I had ever even seen anything of his. And actually, there are quite a few of us who can make better prints than he ever did - we've got better cameras, lenses, films, and papers, and know far more tricks (and we can thank him for teaching us a few of em). His own darkroom was relatively primitively equipped even for the era. But of course, none of us will have his historical impact as a pioneer, teacher, or environmentalist. Since I grew up in the Sierra Nevada, I happen to be very acquainted with its quality of light, and recognize just how sensitive Ansel was to
    it, within the parameters of high chosen medium. But he's relatively down the list in what I'd consider a great printmaker. Ironcially, the only
    major show I ever split was him involved just my color prints from the Sierra. I didn't even shoot black and white yet. It was that encounter
    that got me into black and white work myself, even though I have a different style, and frankly, wanted a financial break from the expense
    of printing color. But artistically, I was a lot more influenced by the Westons than AA.

  10. #30
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I find some of his offset lithography prints are pretty good. They use a 200 line screen with duotones or tritones. Just don't use a loupe. They're beautiful at arms length. Makes it affordable for the masses. For the rich cats, they go to the art gallery for the real deal.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

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