Category Archives: Black and White

Posts about black and white film photography or about the medium in general.

A Brief Visit to Humboldt County

Another weekend travel story…

Over President’s Day weekend, we drove the four hour ride up to Humboldt County to spend the weekend with our daughter and her fiance (Amanda and Chris) at their home in Blue Lake, California.
Continue reading A Brief Visit to Humboldt County

Sunrise over the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Got up early today to try to catch sunrise and some clouds over the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve shot here a few times before and really like this location because of it’s open sky view for almost 360 degrees of the north bay marshes and distant hills. Through in a view clouds and some ground fog and voila! instant landscape photography. I will say though that the air temps were in the low 30’s and it felt like it.

So Sharon and I headed out about 6:30am this morning for the 30 minute drive over to Ramal Road off of Highway 12. The sky almost too cloudy and I could see that the fog might close in for periods of time but…the pink and blue colors to the east and bit of water in the wetlands, looked very promising. Here’s a couple of early shots.
Continue reading Sunrise over the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Sabatier Effect

Recently I learned about and tried a development technique known as the SABATTIER (sa bat tee eh) EFFECT.

Sometimes incorrectly referred to as solarization (solarization = tone reversal as a result of hours-long overexposure of the silver emulsion), the Sabattier effect is a manipulation of the printing process in which the print is re-exposed to light midway through the development process. While previously underexposed or unexposed areas are darkened, the areas that were normally exposed reverse their tone. The result is a silvery grey tone with white lines around linear areas. These lines are called Mackie lines and are characteristic of the Sabattier effect.

Technically the process for doing this in the darkroom is something like this (note that there are a number of ways to do this):

1. Determine the right exposure for a print by doing a test-strip grid.
2. Develop the print for about 20-25 sec.
3. Then re-expose the print to light for a few seconds, again in grid fashion. Making the exposure too soon results in low contrast; making it too late gives less solarization effect. Best (and repeatable) results are obtained by giving a short, intense second exposure at precisely the correct time.
4. Now finish the developing process (total developing time between 120 and 150 seconds) and continue as with any other print. From the grid pick which results you find most interesting.

My example of this began with this print of a negative I took earlier this year:

Original image
The original image, shot on black and white film.

After applying the Sabatier Effect the print (now a negative) looked like this. (Note: you can see the stronger Mackie lines along the outer edge of the kite. Also this print was actually my test print as can be seen by the right side of the image.):
Continue reading The Sabatier Effect

Infrared Photography

Early on in 2008 my rediscovery of photography, I stumbled onto some images taken in color infrared.


They looked like an alien landscape and I began to wonder if I might like to do this sort of photography as well. It took several years of education, the acquisition of an older digital camera (a Pentax 100ds), and a conversion of the camera to infrared service. By the Summer of 2010 though, I had a camera which would act like a normal DSLR but the sensor would see and record images of near infrared light. One of my very first images from then is this shot of a cloudy day at a pond near my office.


To understand this image a bit one has to understand that in color infrared, green is shown as white (white thankfully, stays white). Light and dark can display quite differently though and tend to be more intense. This comes with a grainy and soft feel to the images though. You can get things like this:


Or this (one of my favorites):
Continue reading Infrared Photography

This week in film

As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m a hybrid photographer, that means I shoot digital and analogue (aka film). Each of these media have their relative strengths and weaknesses but creatively I like them both for what they can provide. As part of the way I challenge myself to learn more to do more, I’ve been participating in a group event on an online camera forum for the past several years. Each month we pick one lens, shoot each day, posting one image per day, for the entire month (we can shoot other lenses as we wish but not for this event). By doing this, I’ve learned a great deal more about each lens I own (and I own a lot of lenses) and how to work within the ability of each lens. This event is really suited for digital photography where no development of film or subsequent scanning of images is necessary to get the image on the internet. A number of us (from around the world) got to thinking if we could do this within the confines of film and have started one of these challenges for the month of April. We’ve developed some guidelines to adapt this to film. The first week’s results are being posted here:

Single in April Film version week 1

Here are a few of my images from this week. Note, I’m shooting with a Pentax 645n medium format camera with 120 film and a FA75mm f2.8 lens. I’m shooting all black and white film.

Day 1 – The view from Putnam Park

Day 2 – Light and Shadow
Continue reading This week in film

Legos Photography Part II

As it turned out, I needed to re-shoot my legos shot to work on the lighting. To do it I created this setup with a single light source from above and a home made shoot. This is how it looked in my mini studio with my 6×7 film camera ready to shoot.

The resultant image from this (scanned 6×7 negative) is this.

I think this is better than the first attempt but it’s still a ways from the original Van Gogh.
Here is original story.

My Take on Classics In Legos

As part of a project I’ve been working on I had to come up with a ‘copy-cat’ image based on a recreation (with my interpretation) of a famous piece of art. I have to say that I lacked great inspiration on this one and started doing some web searches for some idea of what I could do. As Vincent Van Gogh has always been one of my most favorite painters, I sought some inspiration from old Vince. As part of this search I stumbled on to several posting about artists who, several years ago, complied a number reworks of classic historical photographs in legos! The artist is Mike Stimpson from the UK and I recently found his flickr page on this: Classics In Legos He is not the only one doing this but his work is so good I’ll just have to attribute this all to him. Check him out on Redbook.

I was struck how well these were done and wondered if I could have a go at it too. Based on this concept, I settled on Van Gogh’s – The Potato Eaters – painting. I wanted something I could produce and that might look good in black and white as I was ultimately going to shoot this in film. The target shot looks like this:
The Potato Eaters

So…how did I do? Continue reading My Take on Classics In Legos

Report from my Art Class – Portraits

As one of my latest projects, I’m taking Art 21 – Intermediate Photography at SRJC to continue my education back into film and further my artistic development as photographer. I like learning in the classroom environment because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and the feedback I get with critiques is very very important in my learning process. As an example of this, in a recent project I had to do portraiture in the school studio with hot lights. You have to remember, I’m basically a landscape photographer and people are much harder subjects than landscapes. For the shoot, three of us worked as either the photographer, assistant, or model. I shot with my Pentax 645 medium format camera and my 135mm lens, using Ilford Delta 100 film, one of my latest favorite fine grain films. The hard part of the assignment was that we had to do 5 different lighting situations. I’m not very familiar with this sort of stuff so it was an education. I shot 2 rolls of film and these three images I consider my best results from the shoot. To get really good at this, I’d need a whole semester I think.

Note that these images are produced from scans of the negatives and actually the prints from the negatives came out much better in my opinion.

Rembrandt Lighting (sorta)

Experimental Lighting

Direct Lighting

Interestingly enough, when the class picked which image would go in the display case, they picked the experimental one (it was my favorite too).