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The Kolb Brothers Pioneering Landscape Photographers

IntroductionThe men must have felt some relief as they climbed up out of Separation Canyon. Leaving behind the tension of the expedition and the foreboding of that dark thundering canyon; constantly wet, cold and afraid. Now they move through the forest on the canyon rim and come face-to-face with what must they have thought of as savages. Weaponless and white they were set upon as retribution for some earlier atrocity on the tribe and quickly dispatched. 
Thus ended the journey for these men in 1869, some of the first white men to explore the Green and Colorado Rivers, John Wesley Powell and the rest of the expedition had carried on after leaving these men to their fates and completed the journey exiting the Grand Canyon near the Virgin River where Lake Meade is today. Really there was not that much further to go for the three lost men, but at the time nobody knew what was ahead. The perils of being first.
Not many years later and many fewer expeditions down the Green and Colorado late…
Recent posts

Lake Pend Oreille Print

We are getting ready for our summer holiday to Sandpoint Idaho to visit my Father later this month. This an annual event we always look forward to. Anticipating this I was reminded of last year’s visit and decided to look through some photos I took and found some I wanted to print.

The camera I used was my Fuji GSW 690 which has a 65mm lens and a 6x9 negative. In previous posts I have discussed the challenges of printing these negative on my 6x6 enlarger. Basically I can only capture up to 2/3rds of the negative. The photo in question was shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

Here is the original photo.
It was taken from the highest point in the house but has a lot of foreground distraction. What attracted me to the shot was the cloud and bright sky mixing with the Monarch mountains on the horizon and the water. So I settled on a severe crop to get what I wanted. A benefit of medium format is this ability to crop and enlarge without introducing a lot of grain. I started printing on Ilford MGF…

Large Prints, Apertures, Exposure Times, ND Filters...

I have noticed in my printing posts mention of various aspects of setting the base exposure for my prints. It is a mixture of familiar and perhaps not so familiar topics.

I have evolved my darkroom practice and equipment with an eye towards steady improvement. I am new to this and have a long way to go. Being new to this I see some value is recording what I have learned in what is hopefully a clear fashion. A lot of this was learned from different forums and reading what the old-timers have to say. There is a lot of good information out there.
The Enlarger With respect to my enlarger it has been through a number of changes which I have recorded in this blog over the years. It all started with my humble Meopta 6 enlarger I picked up on eBay for 15 quid and a day out in Norwich. My philosophy when undertaking a new interest or hobby is to start in cheaply and once I see I am sticking with it to invest further.
Big Prints At some point I wanted to make bigger prints like 12x16 and 16x20.…

Hand Colored Print: Arches Dead Cedar

After my previous post I saw the chance to try something I had read about when researching MG ART 300 paper from Ilford. I had found one person in a discussion whose wife found the paper ideal for hand coloring with colored pencils. The paper has a strong texture or tooth. Previously when I have tried hand coloring with pencils I had found normal photographic paper resistant to taking much color. Gloss paper... forget it. Matte or Pearl is a bit better but still difficult.

I was left to using oil-based tints which worked with some success. They are messy and I struggle with getting color into small areas using a cotton swab/bud. Here is an example I did a few years ago.
This time I took the lighter of the two prints I made on Ilford MG ART 300 paper reference in the earlier blog post. I used cheap colored pencils I got from a stationary store. The paper delivered on the ability to get the color onto the paper consistently. Since the color leads are hard I had to  be careful to go over…

Wall Mounted Paper Safe

My current darkroom is a utility room. I have to share space with the washing machine and dryer. It is small but I have a sink and enough room for my Meopta 6 enlarger a sink and my 12x16 trays which I use for 16x20 prints easily.

I bought a small 8x10 paper safe a number of years ago. It has a spring loaded door but I don’t like it too much. If I am not careful the door can get stuck open. This means the paper safe can actually ruin a whole stack of paper.

When I am working with larger paper it is a real hassle to open the box and bag for each sheet being careful to put it all back again. So I decided I needed a larger paper safe and in order to accommodate the larger paper. I decided it should be vertical and hung from the wall so it doesn't take up precious counter space. I wanted it to accommodate 16x20” paper and have 3 dividers so I could segregate paper types and sizes if I needed to. It had to be light tight of course.

I opted for a plywood and MDF construction. The end an…

Re-printing Older Work: Arches Dead Cedar

It turns out that once you print your work in the darkroom and decide you have the perfect or at least the best print you can achieve it is not over. Ansel Adams reprinted much of  his work even after a print became famous. I suppose he saw something in the subject that revealed itself later.

So it is with me. I periodically reprint past work. Mostly because my technique has improved and my taste in what I print changes. In some cases in the past I have printed much too dark to hang on the walls. This I have learned is because my lights in the darkroom are really too bright and not representative of typical lighting in the house when hung from a wall.

With respect to changing taste it is also interesting to explore a subject with both exposure and contrast. I have also taken more control of my prints and am more methodical and patient.

Arches Dead Cedar Back in 2013 my wife and I holidayed in the Colorado and Utah not far from where I grew up. Southern Utah is a favorite place and I …

Presentation Frames for Transparencies

Introduction Film photography is expensive. It doesn't get any cheaper as your negative size increases. This is especially true when you want to do more than scan photos for the web. Printing is expensive. I started out with an enlarger to handle 6x6cm negatives that I bought for £15. This has served me well.  print as large as 16x20 regularly but new paper (B and W) is about £4.00 a sheet, and I can use 10-15 sheets getting to a print I like.

When I got a 4x5 large format camera and I had to be satisfied with scanning and contact printing.  And despite claims that contacts prints in the 4x5 inch size can be 'jewels' it is not as satisfying as larger prints. Then I was given an old 4x5 enlarger for free. (Yes I know this doesn't sound too expensive. But I now have 2 dark rooms and I consume a lot of space!)

Next I get two new cameras both Fuji's, one is 6x9cm image the other is 6x17cm. Now 6x9 fits my 4x5 (10x12cm) enlarger but the 6x17cm negatives demands a 5x7 (…