Sunday, April 19, 2009

Further Developments in the Darkroom

Saturday was the 3rd day in the Darkroom, and of course, like previous days, it was GORGEOUS weather outside. Nonetheless, I brought my iPod and we all listened to music while developing our next photos.

We learned to Dodge and Burn when developing photos, a technique where by you can expose different parts of the photos to light at different times. In portraits, for example, by making the face a bit lighter (with less exposure) and the hair slightly darker, it focuses on the face more.

So, to start off with, I had to pick one photo from the 3 pages of contact sheet to develop. I wasn't sure, so I started off with two photos. The first one is a test strip from some Piopino mushrooms I took at the food market on the Nieuwemarkt:

The test strip is used to expose the image at different exposure times to try and find out which one is the correct exposure time. Once you pick the exposure time, you 'Fine Tune' the exposure,, then you come out with the final print. I wasn't completely happy with this photo, so I spent more time on my second choice, but here is the photo above at , I think around 12 seconds:

The second photo I chose to develop was a portrait of a classmate named Katerina. One of our assignments on the day we shot photos was to take portraits of 3 of our classmates. This was my favorite one of her. First the test strip:

The exposure time on the far right is 32 seconds, then 16 seconds, then 8, 4, 2, 1, 1. I (along with the assistance of my lovely teacher Desiree Vroeman, who has much more experience in these things...) determine the correct exposure to be between 8 and 16 seconds. After some more fine tuning, I think (if I can remember ) the exposure time was 8 seconds. The the Dodging and Burning begins. The result was this photo of Katerina:

I worked through lunch and developed another portrait of another classmate, Elaine. First the test strip (notice the clever use of a cover paper with holes in it...leaves an interesting effect!)

This after consultation with Desiree, and some fine tuning, this photo was exposed for 7 seconds. The negative was damaged (which you can see from the black spot to the right of her face), so I reframed the photo...did a little dodging and burning and came out (after a few tries!) with this photo:

Unfortunately Saturday was our last darkroom day. The next three classes will be 'Digital' focused. We are going into the studio and will learn about working with studio lighting. We also have an assignment to recreate a famous photo. It was recommended that we try to recreate a photo called The Fork by André Kertész. I need to get busy with that!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Next Photo Assignment and Spring in my Garden!

Today was the 3rd class of the Basic Photography course I am following at FotoFactory. I wasn't sure I was going to make it to class, as I had minor surgery yesterday...but I made it and glad that I did.

It was a beautiful spring day in Amsterdam, so naturally we went into the darkroom.

The first step was to develop a Test Strip to check the exposure on the enlarger I was using. This was my result:
The next step was to make a Photogram, which is quite an art in itself, but is essentially placing an object on a piece of photo paper. The exposed portion will turn black and the area covered by the object will turn white. Being my first attempt, my photogram was relatively simple. I used Artis de Partis from my keychain (The mascot of the Amsterdam Zoo, Artis). I like the look of it and made a series of him in poses (you can see the complete series here). I won't bore you with all of them- but here is one:

Once we made the photogram, we got made contact sheets from the negatives we made in the previous class. From the contact sheets (my photo partner Elaine and I took 3 rolls of film from our shared camera) we need to select one photo to develop for our first print I couldn't decide, so I picked two. Both were taken at the Nieuwemarkt in the center of Amsterdam. the first one is a young boy and his puppy:

I used this photo to check focus more then anything. The light on my enlarger was nearing it's end of life and wasn't very bright so I was having trouble seeing the details when trying to focus the negative on my other chosen print. I didn't really fine tune this print, I mostly guessed at the exposure time (which I think I was about 10 seconds). The puppy is perfectly focussed, which I am happy about, alhtough his little paw coming up in the bottom of the frame looks like something else at first glance.

My second print was for the assignment to take a photo of police officers at the Nieuwemarkt. However, it was a rainy day and there weren't any about, so I chose some other men in uniform: Scottish football fans visiting for the Holland vs Scotland game:

I like the composition of this one. They were very polite and posed for me as I asked if I could take a photo of their legs for a photo class. This one took me a few tries to get the right exposure, but I finally was satisfied with a 12 second exposure at f5.6 on the enlarger.

So that was my adventure in developing, part two. I am really enjoying the development part of the class.

Yesterday afternoon I wandered into my garden and saw my Magnolia tree was blossoming. Beautiful. This is my favorite of the (undoubtably hundreds) of photos I took yesterday:

Next week, more photos to develop as well as fixing some of the (many) problem photos.