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  1. #11
    Joe VanCleave's Avatar
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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 Joe VanCleave; 04-10-2011 at 01:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #12
    Vaughn's Avatar
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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.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #13
    aaronmichael's Avatar
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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?

  4. #14
    Joe VanCleave's Avatar
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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 Joe VanCleave; 04-11-2011 at 09:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #15

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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 An ND grad would sort the skies out...

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