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Saturday, 18 February 2012


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Ricardo's comment is telling.

Sometimes I find myself "overcooking" digital because I am used to wet prints flattening out a bit as they dry. I instinctively jam the sliders a little further out than I really feel they ought to go. Sometimes I like the result anyways ;)

I made my first print in 1956 when I was one of the photographers on our high school yearbook staff. We used the Speed Graflex for all of our work, even football games. Every once in a while I would sneak in some 35 mm work I had done with my Contaflex. So, I think I have seen the real thing you have simulated in the last couple of posts.

I have tremendously enjoyed reading the posts and comments. Reflecting on things I think I would have 'killed' to get my prints to look like:

(Panasonic mirrorless, OIS zoom, RAW, Lightroom 3, SilverEfex Pro. "Original in color.")"

As one of my college professors used to say:

"Ya, that was back in the 'good old days' and they weren't that good."

I think there is a lot of misplaced nostalgia in many of the comments.

Very interesting to see the differences. Glad to see I'm not the only one to spot out that pesky hawk.

"I am used to wet prints flattening out a bit as they dry. I instinctively jam the sliders a little further out than I really feel they ought to go."

That's funny. You're compensating for drydown.

Old habits die hard....


I can smell the Tri-X in your interpretation, Mike...

Lynn's on the other hand reminds me of FP4+, a film I loved. (As you'll see, my interpretation is very similar to hers, only with darker shadows.)

Funny you mention my treatment of the birds. I actually took two of them out!

Ansel could have done a similar post with his own variations on Moonrise, as shown in the link I provided not long ago... http://www.andrewsmithgallery.com/exhibitions/anseladams/arrington/arrington_adams.html

One has to wonder how he would have viewed Photoshop, especially given that he anticipated new electronic photo technologies.

Whenever I printed in the darkroom I could always tell when I had reached my proper contrast- it was the point where the highlights and shadows ceased to print acceptably in the original exposure, details would just disappear in the highlights and shadows; in other words I had reached that "magical" point where every nook and cranny (esp in a WA shot with several light sources) would have to be dodged and burned relentlessly, and then bleached there after- another night in hell.

I don't consider myself a contrast freak, but I do think a "proper" dosage is what gives B&W its strength. Things are infinitely easier when one prefers softer images.

Funny, I don't like any of the presented version. All to shy.

I'm always fascinated by how many interpretations there can be of the same photograph, each evoking different moods and emotions. After looking at all of these, there were only a couple I didn't care for at all, but among the rest I couldn't pick a favorite. I occasionally find myself with this same dilemma when I experiment with different versions of one of my own photos. Frustrating, but fun all the same.

I wonder how much a person's vision for the image is driven by where they live. For example, I live about 20 miles from Mike, and his version resonates quite strongly with me. When I look at it I say, "I recognize that light, yah for sure. Seen that a couple, three times, you betcha."

This belongs in a text book. I found it one of the most interesting, informative and illuminating posts in a long time

Very interesting excercise....I guess a photojournalist would think about the weather and try to reproduce the shot to as he//she saw it...but turing on the artist in a photographer, I guess you can do as you wish and spot out the "hawks" in life.

Thanks for this reminder that the difficult part of photography is not HOW to get a certain picture or look, but rather WHAT picture or look to get.

You know, I never really thought of printing this to emphasize the birds. Rory's version works rather well that way.

The Neils Volkmann is kind of the way I was thinking, except I didn't dare push the clouds that far. But I wasn't fully satisfied with the clouds in my version, either. I played with a lot of things in channel mixer and I played with photo filters, and never really got what I wanted out of the clouds, and ended up masking the sky and just giving them their own adjustment layer. Maybe I should have just pulled down that mid-point another quarter inch.

The worst thing I've seen happen to this picture (many times in versions I didn't send in, for example) is when the sky ends up looking wimpy. That sky just isn't wimpy, that's wrong. (Apparently I have some strong opinions about what the picture can be about!)

Several of the version you feature seem to me to have levels of noise in the sky (mostly the sky itself, not the clouds) that I find objectionable at the inline web resolution (so I hate to think what they'd look like printed a decent size).

I find the sepia treatment surprisingly likable -- given that I have kind of a thing against warm-toned B&W prints.

"I don't like any of the presented version. All to shy."

A fan of bombast, eh?


Isn't that the tree from The Shawshank Redemption?

Just like an work of art...anything now is possible with photoshop (just singing).

Thanks Mike for delivering on your promise a while back to delve into digital black and white, this gives me a lot to think about. Of all of them, Rory's stands out because (and I noticed this immediately, before you pointed it out--not to point out my cleverness but rather to underscore the power of the intepretation) the birds suddenly become a major part of the composition. That might not have been my choice, but it's a powerful illustration of how black and white interpretation isn't just about feel, but also about thematic focus and context. Looking forward to part II.

I liked Animesh's sky and I liked Neils' earth.

Reminds me of one of my film images that I must have printed in the wet dark room more than a hundred and fifty times and never achieved one I liked as much as the third print I made. I just had to find a better looking print and I never did.

I took it, transformed the point of view, zoomed in and made it colour. How's that?


Michael B.,
That's amazing! You've made it look almost like a different picture. [g]


Is Part 2 still in the works?

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