Photographs by Frank

21 December 2022

2022 Winter Solstice Print

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time are probably familiar with my ‘Winter Solstice Print” tradition; if you are not I refer you to this post, where there are some details.

This year’s print (the tenth) is a cuprotype, titled “Two Pears”.

In late August, Joan picked the remaining pears from the tree in our yard because the local squirrels were decimating the crop. I had been experimenting with cuprotype since early August. Watching these pears on the kitchen counter for several weeks, I decided that a photograph of the pears was an apt subject for the warm tones of cuprotype and went to work. The exposure was made on 13 September 2022 in my basement studio.

This scan does not do justice to the originals which do not have the ‘grain’ seen here. However, I seem to have neglected to save a print for myself and thus can not make a better scan!!!

Sunny Winter Solstice

Filed under: Landscapes,Winter — Frank @ 10:15 PM

I had a meeting this afternoon at the Vermont Center for Photography. Leaving the house just before eleven, I took a very (and I mean very) indirect route* to Brattleboro. I did not make many photos but I did stop in Newbury, NH and photographed the snowy/rime-y peak of Mount Sunapee. I stopped in Chester, VT for a late lunch. After lunch, I made some photographs in the center of Chester before heading to Brattleboro. I was only a half hour late for my meeting!

One nice thing about photographing on the winter solstice is that the light comes in at a nice low angle… all day long. All of these photos were made between noon and 3 PM. Try that at the summer solstice and you are likely to make yucky photos.

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* Take a quick look at a map if you want to see just how indirect!

19 December 2022

Found Photo Fun

Filed under: Misc. — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

This afternoon, I was rummaging through some random photo stuff and I came to a 4×5 negative that I am certain I did not make. Thus, call it ‘found film’.

This discovery reminded me that I had several strips of 35 mm film sitting on the shelf in the garage. I vaguely remember finding this film in a paper safe* I purchased at a tag sale… More ‘found film’.

The 35 mm film is Kodak TMax 400, first produced in 1986 and still made today. One of the 35 mm frames (which was uninteresting and thus not shown here) contained a bit more of the ambulance shown in the second photo (below). This frame suggests that the photo was made in Providence, although one can only see “idence”.

I have no clue as to the age of the 4×5 negative or where it was made..

I washed most (some?) of the accumulated dust off the 35 mm film and scanned it all. I present the 4×5 image and about half of the 35 mm frames here for your entertainment!

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* A paper safe is a light-tight box for storing light-sensitive photographic paper.

10 December 2022

Searching for Mount Monadnock

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

This afternoon, after lunch, I headed out to see if I could make another photograph of Mount Monadnock from Leadmine Road in Nelson. It was mostly cloudy but the skies were not solid gray. I was hopeful.

I spent about a half hour at this ‘usual’ spot and then decided to see if I could find other views of Mount Monadnock from down near Silver Lake. My search was for naught. Looking at a topo map when I got home, I now realize that the road along the lake shore that I explored was oriented poorly. However, a few minutes with the map provided me with a number of ideas for further expeditions the next time the weather cooperates.

On the way to Silver Lake, I make a brief stop to make photos at Childs Bog. I have passed this view of Mount Mondnock many time but had never stopped because there is no good place to pull of the road. Today, I risked a brief stop and made a few exposures with the camera obscura in the rapid fading light.

Ever the optomist, after my drive along the west side of Silver Lake, I headed to a favorite Monadnock view in Marlborough. However, I did not even bother to get out of the truck as the light was gone.

I turned around and headed home. As I passed by the Chesham train station, I found another tattered flag. I have been collecting photos of flags for a number of years… a long term project, that I have not fully ‘put together’ yet. This flag/barn is not new to me, I photographed it back in 2018. The flag was in perfect condition then.

Arrrgh…. $#&*!$## computers! I just previewed this post and discovered that something as broken in the mechanism for displaying programs. Sorry about that! I’ll try to figure out a fix at soon as I can.

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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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* 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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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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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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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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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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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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* 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!

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