Archive for November, 2008
In my last post I asked with regard to photogravure: “Are there any shortcuts that work?”.
I’m happy to report that there is a shortcut, and it’s called … (more…)
This will be a rather longish and heavily pictured post about my first experiences with the photogravure process. My son and I have been going through it once now from start to finish, the results being unimpressive but instructive.
One word of warning: if you’re an experienced printer and don’t like to see amateurish behaviour and cruel use of materials, stop reading now!
That being said, we’ll start quite harmless:
These were easily made from the medium format negative on 5×7 inch Adox halftone sheet film, developed in Tetenal Eukobrom.
Here, as promised, are further impressions from the first few rolls of film done with the new-to-me Nikon S3 LEB. It is refreshingly uncomplicated to work with. No built-in exposure meter means you meter the light with an incident meter before you go into a scene and keep it at that, possibly eyeballing it for vanishing light, opening up the f-stop as you go. That’s taken care of, now we dispense with focusing. It is advantageous to do an estimated focus by turning the lens barrel to the approximate distance your subject will be in. Fine focusing is done with the middle finger on the wheel at the front of the camera, the index finger falls naturally on the shutter release, making that operation and image taking an instant and one-handed operation.
And oh, seeing the subject: just keep both eyes open, it’s a 1:1 viewfinder! You remain concious of your subject’s environs up to the limits of the field of view of your left eye.
Everything on the camera being mechanical, there is no perceptible shutter lag. Could I have captured my son vaulting over our dog’s leash otherwise?
In fact, the Nikon S3 LEB is so conductive to taking fast impressions of fleeting moments (aka snapshots) that I’ve declared it my people camera.
The new version of Google’s Mobile App has voice search and reminds me of nothing more than the computer of the Starship Enterprise, albeit crammed into a cellphone. Had a lot of fun with it this morning!
Now beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here.
These stained glass windows in the former hospital (now a geriatric rest home) in my hometown Waltershausen have always fascinated me. What a strange contrast between the clerical style of stained glass windows and the socialist aesthetics! On the other hand, they appeal to me because in my day job I’m a doctor, and you don’t get that kind of adulation today. In both instances, it’s an attraction-aversion conflict, I guess.
What’s your take on it, dear reader? There must be someone …
Technically, this is from the first color negative film exposed with the Nikon S3 LEB. I tried the new Kodak Ektar 100, and the claims of extremely fine grain are fully justified.
The exposure was 1/60 at f/1.4. As I wasn’t standing parallel to the windows, the left one unfortunately lacks a bit of sharpness. But boy, do I like the colors of this combination of Nikkor-S f/1.4 50 mm and Kodak Ektar!
What’s all this then?
A thread counter, a burnisher, a scraper and the moon reflected in a glass tabletop. Representing my anticipation of starting to work with photogravure this weekend. The printing press arrived on Monday, copper plates, tools, etching agent, printing colors, gelatin and various other materials came in from an artist’s supplier yesterday.
I know I’ll be messing around making gelatin paper, using dangerous chemicals to sensitize it, exposing a negative onto this gelatin resist, prepping the copper plate, transfering the gelatin resist to it, etching the plate through the resist, inking it up and printing it.
As easy as any darkroom procedure you could think of …
But still, I’m excited.
Just in from the darkroom: One of the first presentable pictures out of the Nikon S3 LEB. Of course, it is not one from the Japanese Garden in Bad Langensalza as I promised earlier. You can’t barge into a japanese garden with little time and failing light and expect to come back with a masterpiece.
Instead, the print in the picture below is part of an ongoing project called “Pattern Recognition”.
Sorry for the harsh flash on the print hanging on my probatory wall! In the original print, I can make out some characteristics of this camera’s Nikkor-S f/1.4 50 mm lens that I quite like. Even at f/1.4, it is sharp to the corners, the bokeh is smooth and the highlights have a certain glow. My apologies to Solms!
Updated the generic blogroll. Put some choice blogs and the APUG forums there, so that you can waste your time the same way I do, if that’s your desire. No really, all links are well worth visiting! And now for something completly different: a man reading a book. In my case, it’s Copper Plate Photogravure, Demystifying The Process, by David Morrish & Marlene MacCallum. The printing press has yet to arrive from the builder, but I’m already a bit less mystified.
Look what was in the mail yesterday! A 2002 reissue of a classical Nikon rangefinder camera I got on Ebay for quite a bargain. Not really in mint, unused condition, but that’s ok, I was going to use it anyway. As is befitting of a camera of this provenience, today I’m going to take it to the Japanese Garden in Bad Langensalza and gather some impressions with it. More on the experiences with this camera when I make some.