Marloes SandsI have read some very good advice when making a print by David Kachel. Make a range of exposures and contrasts beyond what you would expect to create an acceptable print. The idea is a corollary of learning from mistakes and serendipity. Sometimes you discover something you didn't understand about the negative or the image and this can take you down an entirely different path in the image. This is difficult though to follow through on as it sounds like a waste of time and material. The answer is somewhat determined by the purpose of the work on the spectrum from documentary to art. (If you are new to the darkroom like me I recommend David Kachel's monographs as they are instructive and insightful.) David insists this be used to get the local contrast right on the point or points of interest in the print.
Towards this end I made some explorations on a couple of images from a short break on the Pembrokeshire coast late last year. The first is a rock on Marloes Sands beach. The day was dry but overcast and very windy. The rock struck me as a subject of isolation. I took the image with my OM1 on Ilford HP4+ film with a 28mm lens. It belonged to my father and had not been used in at least 20 years by the time it was given to me. I had to repair a corroded battery wire as the battery had been left in and it had leaked. A little cleaning and solder and it was right as rain.
The Olympus is a great camera probably the best 35mm SLR manual camera ever made. Smaller and lighter than others in its class it is reliable and easy to carry. I prefer medium format but sometimes I need an unobtrusive camera and the Olympus or my Yashica Electro fit the bill.
The original photo looked like this. For the effect I am looking for I need to crop out the background.
|Original Scanned Photo|
|Straight print at f8 #5 32 seconds #0 24"|
|f8 at #5 64 seconds|
Finally I tried the opposite. I only exposed with the soft #0 filter. Again a different aesthetic, here lots of creamy tones .
|f8 at #0 32 seconds|
Porth GainFurther up the coast is Port Gain, a small port once used to ship slate, stone gravel from. A small harbor and I took this photo.
Again I tried to use a high contrast image. This didn't work well as the midground and back ground are quite bright. Indeed even a straight print would prove challenging. Never-the-less #5 at 45 seconds.
|f11 #5 45 seconds|
I tried a normal print next and settled on f11 #5 27 seconds and #0 32 seconds.
|f11 #5 27 sec #0 32 sec|
|f11 #5 27 sec #0 32 sec white flash 4 sec 128 intensity|
|f11 #5 45 sec #4 flash 10 sec intensity 189|
|f11 #5 45 sec white flash 4 sec intensity 189|
|f11 #5 45 sec white flash 4 sec intensity 128|