Sunday, September 25, 2016

Checking in - after a long break

My latest post, about shooting black and white film, specifically 4x5, is a reasonable hint at what I've been doing in my photographic life recently.
Spurred on by an incredible gift of a fully functional black and white darkroom, and the further gift of a place to set it up, I've been keeping my head down and practicing my large format black and white photography skills. I've come a long way quickly, but this style of photography does not lend itself perfectly to blogging. It's film, paper, and wet chemistry all the way.
For now, let me share a tool that's really helping me along, the SP-445 4x5 film developing tank by Stearman Press. (Click Here) to check it out. Once loaded, this is a daylight tank, and allows you to process up to four sheets of 4x5 film in 475 ml of chemical volume. It does a wonderful job.
I'm also still shooting digital and smaller format film, of course. But, the joy of printing great big negatives has had me focused on 4x5, and to a lesser extent, medium format. Lots to share, but it's going to take discipline for me to sit and scan images. I'll probably end up scanning silver prints to share my final products.
I feel that this is an important new phase in my creative development. I can honestly say that while it's much less forgiving, I really prefer darkroom work to post-processing on my computer. It's hard work getting a good print, but I think that makes it more rewarding, personally.
Of course, I'm not prescribing this for anyone else. I'm not sure that I'll always feel this way about going back to the basics, working with big black and white negatives and wet chemistry, but that is not what matters. What matters to me is that I'm learning new aspects of the craft.