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.):
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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):
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Site additions – Related Posts

After reading about some new tools for WordPress blogs on Social Media Today, I’ve added a feature called ‘Related Posts’ to my site. This feature adds on full post pages, a grid of links to pages on this site with related information at the end of the post. It’s a kind of interesting feature. Let me know if you like it or not.


As I have explained in several recent posts, I shoot – something – every day. This practice keeps me creating and occasionally leads to some nice work but more typically it provides nice photos but not great photos. Part of this is because I try to fit photography in between work and home life and some days or weeks there just isn’t the time to do all of these well. Usually my best work comes from a more dedicated photo shoot, which unfortunately for this past week, there was none. So…this leads me to reflecting on my images from the past week. Most have been opportunistic and/or formulas that I fall back on when I’m pressed for time or low on inspiration. One of my typical themes for this time of year are flowers. There are so many flowers happening now in Spring and although they become a bit trite as subjects, I like many other photographers, are drawn to them as subjects. Here are a few of my flower shots from the past week.

Fiddlenecks and Oaks

Meadow Foam

Purple and Beach
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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
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Flea Market Shoot

I get out and shoot whenever I can but a lot of the time can’t do more than some local areas so it’s a treat when I go away from the local haunts and get some new material. This was the case this past Saturday when my sister and I visited the flea market on Treasure Island, in San Francisco Bay. I’d been to this a year ago with a group on one very rainy day and got some shots but it was just too wet to really see the place in action. Although on the cool side, the weather was very cooperative and provided nice views of SF Bay and the old buildings on Treasure Island.

Here is one of my favorite’s from the things being sold.

Steampunk hat.
Continue reading Flea Market Shoot