Re: [OM] What do SUVs and Darkrooms have in common

Subject: Re: [OM] What do SUVs and Darkrooms have in common
From: Philippe Amard <philippe.amard@xxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 19:20:02 +0200
Buy a mini  ;-)

Ken Norton wrote:

>First of all, this post has SUV content because it is an important element
>to the story--you have been warned.
>Saturday was the first time in about two years that I've been in my darkroom
>actually making prints. It was both a joyous time and a very frustrating
>time.  Joyous, because of the beautiful results of silver-gelatin on fiber
>prints that result.  Looking at the prints I was utterly amazed at the glow,
>the sharpness and the overall aesthetic of the images.  Oh, and the
>tonalities.  WOW!
>Several observations on film:
>1. Ilford PanF really does have one of the smoothest tonality sweeps I've
>ever encountered in any film and the tonal separation is simply amazing.
>Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, it is impossible to get the same
>when scanned.  It's something that can only be seen with a chemical print, I
>2. Ilford Delta 400 pushed two stops (ISO 1600), works extremely well
>(processed in Ilfotec DD-X) and although not grainless is outstanding for
>event work. I've never liked 1600/3200 films as the grain is not only the
>size of golf-balls, but the films are generally not sharp.  Delta 400, when
>pushed, maintains the sharpness and grainsize of it being shot at ISO 400,
>just that the grain contrast (acutance) is increased.
>3. Fuji Neopan 100ss is a nice film and everything, but definitely does not
>have the PanF tonalities. It seems to be a good general-purpose film for
>people and street photography where you can hide a multitude of sins in the
>shadows, but for landscape work, the film is a bit unrefined.  That said, it
>does scan quite well and isn't a bad film, just not the best film.  It was
>dirt-cheep, though, and served its purpose. I think what really bit me is
>that the color reponse of the film is dramatically different than what i am
>used to and exposure variance when using filters gave me some underexposed
>shots as well as overexposed shots when I was overcompensating.  Would I buy
>it again if I can find it?  Maybe.  We'll see. I won't commit right now.
>But, like I said, for street photography, it's terrific.
>So, back to the darkroom...
>I had several things really different.  Instead of my normal Ilford
>Multigrade IV developer, I was using Dektol.  Instead of my normal Ilford
>Rapid fixer, I was using Kodak fixer.  I didn't realize till later that my
>Dektol was not diluted properly.  Grrrrr.  But that was the least of my
>worries.  Way too many things different to have any semblance of a system.
>But that's ok, I wasn't expecting to do anything more than proof prints this
>weekend.  Oh, and did I mention that the temperature was almost 80 degrees
>in the darkroom?  Talk about active developer!
>I was chasing exposures all over the place.  Absolutely miserable.  My meter
>was worthless for giving me proper exposures. Finally, out of disgust I
>reprogrammed the meter with exposure and contrast calibration data that
>looked closer to what was coming out.  But then the next set of prints were
>all over in another neighborhood!  Finally, I noticed something, so I took a
>little piece of paper, placed something on a corner of it and set it on my
>counter for a minute.  When developed, I saw my problem.  Light pollution.
>I looked at my safelight and discovered that it was causing me problems, so
>i moved it and pointed it up at the ceiling.  Took care of some of the
>problem...  But it didn't address all the light coming in through the door.
>Later, in the evening after the sun went down, everything returned closer
>to, uh, normal...
>Which brings me to the SUV...
>To use the darkroom, I had to drive my wife's Jeep out of it.
>Yup, you guessed it--I'm set up on a workbench in the garage.  Light leakage
>through the gaps between the panels in the garage door made for enough light
>in the "darkroom" that you could almost read a newspaper.  So, to address
>that, I set up the photographic backdrop to create a bit of a "wall" in the
>Oh, for my own dedicated workspace again....  We moved to the condo to save
>money--which we did and are. Fortunately, we sold our house before the
>meltdown and reduced our mortgage payments by about $700 per month. The one
>sacrifice I had to make was the loss of my darkroom space.  I'm really
>wanting it back somehow...
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