Photographs by Frank

15 November 2022

Leadmine Road

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,November — Frank @ 10:45 PM

A few weeks back I discovered Leadmine Road in Nelson and Sullivan and the view of Mount Mondanock from there.

On Saturday morning, I went back with my camera but the weather did not cooperate. When I left the house there were nice scattered clouds about, but by the time I got to Nelson the skies were solid overcast. The trip was not for naught as I had a chance to chat with Jeff whose family owns the field across which lies access to the best views. Jeff is glad to allow folks to walk to the back of his field with its spectacular view. (He even has posted a sign on a tree inviting folks to email him with comments.)

Yesterday evening I checked the weather and the forecast looked good (scattered clouds) for the early this morning. I awoke before sunrise this morning and was out the door before 6:30, headed again for Nelson. The temperature was 22 deg. F.

Alas, as the sun rose, I could see that the skies were mostly clear with only a few thin clouds present. Such is the life of a landscape photographer!

I persisted none-the-less. I figured that I could, at least, see how the sun lay on the land at this hour.

When I got to the field, I donned my blaze orange (it’s deer season after all), grabbed both my regular camera and my camera obscura*, and headed out across the field. I made my first exposure just after 7:00 and spent a little bit less than an hour photographing. The temperature was 28 degrees when I returned to the truck and headed towards Harrisville for breakfast at the General Store.

When the light is poor for making photographs (as it was this morning), I find that the camera obscura often gives more interesting images than a regular camera. This was true this morning. Most often, I present my camera obscura photos in black and white. However, this morning, I was struck by the nice contrast between the cool blue skies and the warm brown grass of the field. Thus, I present these as color images.

These photos are, I doubt, “definitive”. I’ll be watching the weather and making further trips to Nelson over the coming weeks and months. Having such an interesting scene at a relatively short distance from one’s house is a boon. Great photos often come when one has the luxury of repeated visits.

The distant mountain in #1 and #3 is Mount Monadnock; the body of water is Silver Lake. The barn is Jeff’s.

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Leadmine Road #1
Leadmine Road #1
Leadmine Road #2
Leadmine Road #2
Leadmine Road #3
Leadmine Road #3
Leadmine Road #4
Leadmine Road #4

* For new readers, the camera obscura is a primitive optical device invented in antiquity. It consists of a box, a lens (or sometimes a pinhole), a mirror and a ground glass upon which the image is projected. I have added a shroud and bracket to my camera obscura that allows me to photograph the ground glass with a small digital camera. As one can see here, these images have a unique look.

10 November 2022

Two New Cuprotypes

It has been three weeks since my last post. I figured that I ought to post something… anything. So here goes!!!

November is often a slow month for me photographically. The landscape is dreary gray and brown. The odes are done for the season. However, I have made exposures on four days since my last post. I just hadn’t found time to write here.

One of the ‘distractions’ has been some more cuprotype experiments. However, a couple of days ago, I decided that it is time to stop doing experiments and, instead, to make some ‘art’.

Yesterday evening I printed two negatives using exposures I made about a week ago. This morning I printed these negatives as cuprotypes. My intent was to tone both prints with the iron (II/III) toner that yields an interesting blue-black print. However, I decided that I liked the cemetery gate image as the native brick-red. Thus, I did not tone this print further. One need to be flexible when making art!

These images are both 6×7.5 inches on 8×10 inch paper. The gravestones are on Legion Lenox 100 paper and the gate is on Rives Heavyweight paper.

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Gravestones (Harrisville, NH)
Gravestones (Harrisville, NH)
Cemetery Gate (Nelson, NH)
Cemetery Gate (Nelson, NH)

20 October 2022

Late Foliage Season

Filed under: Autumn,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:10 PM

Foliage season is winding down here in southwestern New Hampshire… it has been a good one.

Autumn foliage is always tempting to photographer and I am no exception. This time of year the camera goes with me whenever I leave the house. I don’t always make photos, but when the light is right and the scene attractive, I pause to admire the beauty and make a few exposures.

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Blaze of Red
Blaze of Red
Barn in Autumn
Barn in Autumn
Waterside Color
Waterside Color
Autumn Blueberry
Autumn Blueberry
Late Autumn Hillside
Late Autumn Hillside
North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn
North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn

These last two photographs are panoramas made by merging three frames in the computer. Displaying panoramas in the blog is always a bit wonky; right click on the images and open them it a new tab/window to see them best. (Printing them is tough too… they will easily print about three feet long.)

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North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn (three frame pano)
North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn (three frame pano)
Crotched Mountain, Late Autumn (three frame pano)
Crotched Mountain, Late Autumn (three frame pano)

9 October 2022

Foliage / Edges

Filed under: Autumn,Landscapes — Tags: — Frank @ 3:00 PM

Yesterday, I attended a NH Society of Photographic Artists print sharing event in Concord. The meeting was ninety minutes long and the drive about 45 minutes each way. I left the house before seven in the morning and returned home just before five in the afternoon.

My “excuse”…The foliage is roughly peak and I meandered both to and from Concord!!!

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Piscataquog River, New Boston, NH
Piscataquog River, New Boston, NH
Contoocook River, Henniker, NH #1
Contoocook River, Henniker, NH #1
Contoocook River, Henniker, NH #2
Contoocook River, Henniker, NH #2
Contoocook River, Henniker, NH #3
Contoocook River, Henniker, NH #3
Field Edge, Deering, NH
Field Edge, Deering, NH
East Cemetery, Deering, NH
East Cemetery, Deering, NH
Marsh Edge, Antrim, NH
Marsh Edge, Antrim, NH
Barn, Francestown, NH
Barn, Francestown, NH

27 September 2022

Two New Cuprotypes / Teaching Announcements

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:05 PM

I have not had much time for photography over the past several weeks. We have been doing major maintenance (replacing flooring and other carpentry projects) at our cabin on Gregg Lake. These days, I am not much good for anything else, including photography, after five or six hours of hard physical labor.

I did, however, steal a few hours on Sunday and Monday evenings to make some cuprotypes. I coated paper on Sunday and made the exposures yesterday.

The pear image is the first image I conceived as a cuprotype from before I triggered the shutter. The scan doesn’t do the actual object justice, which is not as grainy as seen here.

The Antrim Grange is the oldest building in town. It is currently sites at the foot of Meetinghouse Hill. It was originally built (in 1785) as the town’s first meetinghouse at the top of Meetinghouse Hill and moved to its current location when the Grange purchased the building in 1894. The building is currently undergoing some much needed maintenance.

On a different note, I have agreed to teach a two-day workshop on cuprotype at the Vermont Center for Photography (VCP) in November, details here. Additionally, I will also be teaching a class titled “Lightroom for Beginners” at the VCP (three weekly sessions) at the end of November and early December, again details here.

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Pear Pair
Pear Pair
Grange Hall
Grange Hall

5 September 2022

More Cuprotypes

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype — Frank @ 7:30 PM

I have spent some time since my last post (two weeks ago!) exploring/experimenting with cuprotypes. I have tried a number of negatives, a number of papers and even made a cuprotype on cloth.

I have decided that this alternative process has most of the characteristics of a good process for beginning alt process printers. Thus cuprotype offers an interesting alternative (to cyanotype*) in teaching this realm of photography.

The materials for cuprotype are inexpensive. It is easy to coat paper with the sensitizer and one can use a wide range of papers as they come from suppliers for cuprotype. Furthermore, the processing of exposed paper is relatively simple (although it is more complex that cyanotype).

All of the prints shown here are smallish prints such as I typically make. However, given the simplicity and inexpensiveness of the process, I have also made a couple of 11×14 inch cuprotypes**. These are the largest alternative process prints I have even made. Exciting!

Last Saturday, I showed these cuprotypes to my monthly print sharing group which meets at the Vermont Center for Photography (VCP) in Brattleboro. The folks at the VCP have twisted my arm and I’ll be teaching a workshop on cuprotype there this fall. This is in addition to the beginning Lightroom class that we already had in the works. The details of both of these events will be published on the VCP website when we get everything finalized. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess!

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Church, Monhegan Island (Cuprotype)
Church, Monhegan Island (Cuprotype)
Tip Top House, Mt Washington (Cuprotype)
Tip Top House, Mt Washington (Cuprotype)
Wood & Stone (Cuprotype)
Wood & Stone (Cuprotype)
Bellows Falls (Cuprotype, untoned)
Bellows Falls (Cuprotype, untoned)
Harvest Still Life (Cuprotype)
Harvest Still Life (Cuprotype)
Stone Curch, Antrim, NH (Cuprotype, untoned, on muslin)
Stone Curch, Antrim, NH (Cuprotype, untoned, on muslin)

* Cyanotype is the typical entry point into alternative process printing. Being iron based, it is inexpensive and the ‘mechanics’ of the process are fairly simple. Many folks never progress to the more complex and expensive processed which involve precious metals (silver, platinum, palladium). Cuprotype is much closer to cyanotype in its cost and complexity than it is to the other alternative processes. Lastly, Cuprotype with its red/brown tonality is a good adjunct to the blue of cyanotype.

** I don’t have a scanner larger enough for 11×14 inch prints, so folks will have to come for a visit to see them!

15 August 2022

Nothing Precious

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype — Tags: — Frank @ 9:00 PM

I spent Saturday experimenting with a newly rediscovered and modified process for making prints.

The Obernetter process, first described in the 1860s, uses iron and copper* to make brick-red images on paper. The pigment produced by this process is, most likely, Hatchett’s Brown (i.e. Cu(II) Ferrocyanide).

Several years ago, this process was updated by Jim Patterson (see: https://www.darkroomdoc.com/post/cuprotype).

A couple of weeks ago, Jan de Young posted on PhoTrio.com the results of an ‘out there’ experiment involving the reuse of used photographic fixer to make a print from a negative. Initially, I (and others) thought that Jan’s process was a variant of Van Dyke brown printing.

One thing lead to another and another fellow, Niranjan Patel (whom I have never met but that I feel I know well from his presence on various alt photo sites) posted to the altphoto email list, his take on these processes. Niranjan made the key discovery that silver (from the spent fixer) plays no role in this process and thus these images are not at all related to Van Dyke brown prints but rather are more accurately described as cuprotypes (i.e. copper-based images).

I won’t bore you with the technical details as I have posted them to the altphoto email discussion cited above. However, here are three examples on three different papers.

All three prints were made using the same chemistry. The reason for the different hues in final prints is unknown as yet. I’ll be trying a few more experiments in an attempt to understand these differences. However, given the vagaries of these alt processes we may never know.

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Cuprotype on Hahn. Platinum Rag paper (60 min exposure)
Cuprotype on Hahn. Platinum Rag paper (60 min exposure)
Cuprotype on Legion Lenox 100 paper (45 min. exposure)
Cuprotype on Legion Lenox 100 paper (45 min. exposure)
Cuprotype on Rives Heavyweight paper (45 min. exposure)
Cuprotype on Rives Heavyweight paper (45 min. exposure)

* Thus the title of this post… nothing precious as in no precious metals (e.g. silver, gold, platinum or palladium)!

2 August 2022

Unmatched Set

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Still Life,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 5:00 PM

It is tomato season and blueberry season at our house. We have tomatoes ranging in size from softballs to marbles and all sizes and colors in between. We also have blueberries… large, cultivated ones from the two bushes in our yard and small, wild ones picked on Pitcher Mountain. Additionally, the corn is in at the Tenney Farm.

Life is good!

28 July 2022

Mid-week Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I spent roughly four hours (2-6 PM) looking for odes (ode-ing?). The temperature was in the low 80s F and the skies mostly clear. I visited two sites, spending a bit less than two hours at each.

My first stop was the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Road in Antrim (a.k.a. part of the old boy/girl scout camp, depending on how long you have been around!). Here, I walked down the road to its low spot where the beaver pond outlet crosses the road.

I spotted my first odes when I got to the now rapidly regrowing log landing. There were several blue dashers, a few female common pondhawks and a couple of calico pennants present here. There was also a lone yellow dragonfly that cannot identify. (I know I have seen this species before, but it just isn’t coming to me know… a symptom of old age, I guess!)

In the stream just below where it crosses the road there were many (two or three dozen) ebony jewelwings of both sexes and a small number of variable dancers, including two pairs flying in tandem.

Across the road and along the shore of the large beaver pond, I observed a single male slatey skimmer and a couple of spreadwings.

My second stop was the Cilley Family Forest in Greenfield. (This land was once part of the Robertson farm. The Robertsons are Joan’s cousins.) Here, I walked down the road to the field by the river and then over to the railroad bridge across the Contoocook. In the field I observed a single blue dasher, couple of Halloween pennants and a couple of male widow skimmers. Over on the bank adjacent to the rail bridge, I saw a single female common pondhawk.

All-in-all, the total number of odes (except for the Ebony jewelwings) were low has seems to be generally true this summer. However, I did see a nice selection of different species while I was out.

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Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing ? (male)
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing ? (male)
Northern Spreadwing (male)
Northern Spreadwing (male)
ID Needed
ID Needed
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Halloween Pennant (imm. male or female)
Halloween Pennant (imm. male or female)
Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian
Widow Skimmer (imm. male)
Widow Skimmer (imm. male)

The first ten of these photos were made at the Harris Center property; the last four at the Cilley Family Forest.

24 July 2022

Turmeric Anthotypes – Another Batch

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Anthotype — Frank @ 10:15 AM

Hot, sunny, summer days… good for making anthotypes, not so good for the anthotypist.

This batch was made on Friday.

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22-july-2022-1
22-july-2022-1
22-july-2022-2
22-july-2022-2
22-july-2022-3
22-july-2022-3
22-july-2022-4
22-july-2022-4
22-july-2022-5
22-july-2022-5
22-july-2022-6
22-july-2022-6
22-july-2022-7
22-july-2022-7

Note: These were scanned with a new scanner. (The printer in our all-in-one device died and had to be replaced.). Thus, these scans are much redder than the originals. I’ll have to work to sort that out, but it is time to get yet another batch ‘cooking’ now!

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