Hi, I'm Jill.
Just before 9-11 I bought an aerial and pre-press (b&w only) photolab which had lost all of its pre-press business to digital and was using a 60year old damaged enlarger for its aerial printing, very ugly. But oh my gosh there were these two HUGE cameras (ACTi copy cameras) and I decided I could have some fun! So I bought the business having exactly zero experience in any sort of photography or lab work.
First I contacted ACTi and we designed numerous rigs to accomodate the 10" x 300' rolls of aerial film I have to use. Six months later all of the black and white looked great all the way to a 3500% enlargement. Great! Time to try color....
Well the light decks on my cameras are flourescent and the dichroic head I should have purchased was going to run upwards of $10,000 which I didn't have because I spent every penny I had buying the business. So I went in search of other solutions. Besides the cool temperature (here I do not refer to the color temps although the has been as issue) of flourescents do not harm the film, some of which is dating back to the 1950's and yet is still printed almost weekly. The flourescents gave me flawless light coverage for negatives up to 12"x18". After some effort and tweeking, keeping in mind that I did NOT want the color filters between the neg and the print (ie I didn't want to use the available filter slot in the lenses), I resolved the issue and actually print color with flourescent lights which I gather is somewhat unheard of. Also I was able to rempve any interference between the neg and print. Only the lens is between.
Anyway, my reputation in the area is growing amongst professional photographers who are in search of an analog shop, being unhappy with the digital output which is all they can get now from the fellow they used to use. Since I did all of this in a relative vacuum, I am potentially a bit too proud of myself and it may show from time to time. My shop's (and my) claim to fame revolve mainly around the concept of extreme enlargements and mosaicing (I put out a 4' x 8' aerial mosaic of 250+ images of our valley as well as many smaller one of other locales in the state.) Although the also tell me that my cameras are bringing up much more shadow detail than they have ever seen before.
It is nice to meet you all, I hope I don't drive you all as crazy as I am!