Photographs by Frank

21 December 2021

First Platinum/Palladium Prints

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 11:00 PM

I have spent the last two days experimenting with making platinum/palladium (Pt/Pd) prints. I made two very preliminary prints on Sunday afternoon and five more prints yesterday.

Pt/Pd prints represent (at least to some folks) the pinnacle of alternative process printing. The prints are a very beautiful neutral black/grey. The process is considered to result in some of the most stable (archival) prints possible.

Traditional Pt/Pd printing is a very finicky process because it is critically dependent on controlling the humidity of the paper within a narrow range. I have chosen to begin my exploration of Pt/Pd printing using a “renegade” method described by a Texan Richard Eugene Puckett. His method is purported to work without close control of the humidity.

Over the course of two days, I made seven small (4×5 inch) Pt/Pd prints following Puckett’s method. I used a mixture of 25% Pt and 75% Pd. The paper is Legion Lenox 100.

I still have a way to go to perfect this process*. However, here I present two fairly successful prints.

As with most of these alt process prints, the scans don’t do justice to the prints. In this case the contrast of the scans is somewhat lower than the actual print.

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* The curve I use to tailor the density and contrast of my digital negative to the printing process, still needs some tweaking, especially in the highlights.

I also need to work on getting a consistent result. The last two prints I made had significantly lower contrast that those shown here. I suspect that this has something to do with the temperature and humidity in my basement dim room.

Yesterday, the first prints were made when the wood stove was going. The temperature was about 57 deg. F and the humidity about 36% (which I suspect is pushing the limits of acceptability). I stopped feeding the stove about the time I began work. Thus, the temperature was down around 50 deg. F when I finished.

I am guessing that a warmer, slightly more humid environment will yield more consistent results. I think that I will have to wait until spring to find out if this is indeed true! Meanwhile, I’ll go back to salted-paper prints and experiment with toning procedures. Stay tuned!

16 December 2021

The Long Way Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 8:15 PM

I had some business to attend to at the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, VT this afternoon. I took the long way home making a loop through Newfane, Grafton, Saxons River and Bellows Falls (all in Vermont) before crossing the river and heading home.

The light was mediocre to start and pretty much gone by the time I got to Saxons River, but I made a few photographs with the camera obscura anyway.

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15 December 2021

2021 Winter Solstice Print

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 4:30 PM

My Winter Solstice print for this year is a salted-paper print titled “Salmon River – Frank Church / River of No Return Wilderness (Central Idaho)”. The exposure was made from a raft in the middle of the river during the six day trip we did back in September. I made an edition of eighteen 4×5 inch prints on 5×7 inch Legion Lenox 100 paper.

As part of the process, I experimented with gold-borax toning the prints. This cools down the rather warm tone of the native salt print. Shown below are three versions of the print; all were treated the same except for the toning. The differences are subtle (especially between the two toned versions) but hopefully they are visible in the scans shown here. The prints for the final edition were toned for 4 minutes.

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My post on last year’s print with a bit of explanation about this “project” can be found here.

14 December 2021

A Day at the Beach

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 3:30 PM

I had a photographically productive day yesterday.

I went to the beach… in December… in New Hampshire!

I left the house before six yesterday morning and headed east taking NH101 from Manchester. NH101 intersects1A at the coast in Hampton. From there I headed north, eventually getting as far as the southern limit of Portsmouth on route 1B. I then headed back south getting as far as Salisbury, MA. Hoping to avoid rush hour in Manchester on the way home, I headed west again at about 2:30 PM.

Of course, I made many stops to photograph along the way.

I know, it is a bit odd to head to the beach in December, but I have had it in my head to try and communicate the desolation of a summer tourist destination in the winter. I’m not sure that I have succeeded, but I had fun!

Color Work

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Black and White Work

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Random Photos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 11:00 AM

Arrrgh…#$!@&% computers!

Intrepid readers may note the long (more than a month) interval since my last post.

It is not that I have been a laggard. Rather, I have been discouraged about blogging because of ‘technical issues’.

After the last WordPress update my gallery plugin (the software for displaying photos in the blog) had gone haywire… or so I thought. It turns out that the problem seems to be only with certain versions of certain web browsers, including the main browser on my main computer. As I said: arrgh…#$!@&% computers!!!

Anyway… I’m back and thought I start by showing a few random photos from the end of October, November and early December

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16 August 2021

A Few Hours of Odeing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 11:30 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I took a walk down the road at the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Road. The temperature was in the mid-70s F and the skies were mostly sunny.

Just before 3 PM, I lathered up with “bug stuff” and headed out. Three hours later, the mosquitoes drove me home. I don’t know if the “bug stuff” had worn off or if it was the hour but the mosquitoes were viscous on the walk home.

This property has a number of diverse habitats frequented by odes… sunny wood roadsides, old log landings in various state of regrowth and a large beaver pond with its associated outlet stream. Diverse habitat means diversity of species and I was not disappointed.

The most common odes by far were meadow hawks, I saw roughly three dozen. Yellow individuals (females and immature males) outnumbered red ones (mature males) by about four to one. The meadow hawks were present in sunny spots along the road as well as in the old log landings.

The next most common species were the spreadwings in the stream just down stream from the culverts; I counted about a dozen. There were also a small number of ebony jewelwings present here and two variable dancers (one of each sex).

Over at the beaver pond, I saw roughly half a dozen male slatey skimmers. They are hard to count has they were, for the most part constantly moving. The aerial “dogfights” among the slatey skimmers are fun to watch.

The find of the day was a single black saddlebags in a sunny spot at the junction of two woods roads. This species is fairly rare around here… rare enough that there are many summers when I do not see one.

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15 August 2021

New Salted-paper Prints

I have spent the past week making a new batch of salted-paper prints. In doing so, I mined my archives for photographs that I think will work well as salted-paper prints. The initial exposure for all of these photos were made between five and ten years ago.

Making salted-paper prints is an iterative process.

I process the image in Photoshop making educated guesses as to how the negative should look to give me a good print. Then, I make a negative and use that negative to make a small test salted-paper print on 5×7 inch paper.

I probably get things exactly right the first time about two-thirds of the time. If the print is not to my liking, I go back to the computer and make further adjustments in Photoshop. Most often these adjustments involve dodging and burning… adjusting the brightness of very localized areas of an image. It is very rare that I need to make more than a second negative.

The photograph of the dragonfly in this series is one of those rare images. After the second iteration, I was still not satisfied with the print. In this case I went back to the original file and began anew. Of course, I had the ‘education’ gleaned from the first two unsatisfactory versions and thus the third version “hit the nail on the head” as they say.

The first five images below are all 4×5 inch prints (on 5×7 inch paper). Many times, after making a successful print at that size, I will make a larger negative (6×7 1/2 inches) and print that on 8×10 inch paper. The last two prints in this series are of the larger size.

This process illustrates why I much prefer working with digital negatives for alternative processes compared to analog (film) negatives. Both ideas (making detailed adjustments to the negative and printing an image at different sizes) are possible but extremely difficult in the analog realm.

I often have thought of making even larger prints, maybe up to 11×14 inches. My light source is large enough for a 16×20 inch contact printing frame. However, when I begin to work out the logistics of the larger trays and the space they would require as well as the cost of the materials for such large prints, I run smack into the wall of reality!!!

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7 August 2021


Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 6:00 PM

For some (unknown) reason, I seem to be seeing pieces or details these days. The camera goes with me most places these days. Here are some of the fragments of the world that have caught my eye over the past week or so.

Color Work

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Black and White

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19 June 2021

Another Friday Night at the Races

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 11:45 PM

Last Friday night, I tried my hand at photographing the stock car races in Claremont, NH (see this post for the details). That evening was rain-shortened and my ticket was good again for last nights racing.

Thus, yesterday, I headed out early, paid the difference in admission between the grandstand ticket and a paddock pass and wandered among the racers for a long afternoon/evening.

I left the house about 4:15 PM and got to the track just as practice laps began at 5:30. The racing lasted until 11:30 and I got home just before 1 AM… not something this geezer could do every Friday night!

I was hoping to get some behind-the-scenes photos of my neighbors preparing to race. However, they did not race last evening. So I wandered the pits for a while and rediscovered that I am not very adept at photographing people… especially people who are working hard to get ready to race. After awhile, I turned my attention to the action on the track.

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Warning… photographer talk ahead!

Photographing fast moving objects in poor light is “interesting”. Early on, with the sun still out, life was fairly easy. As the evening wore on, I ventured into ISO territory that I had not visited before in attempt to keep a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion of a race car.

I also discovered that I have a gap in my lens choices when it comes to this sort of photography. The long end of my 16-80 mm zoom is a bit short and my 300 mm lens is often a bit long. (I certainly did not need the telelconverter I brought along for the 300.)

I also used “burst mode” exclusively. Burst mode allows one to take multiple frames in very rapid succession something like 10 frame per second for my camera. I very rarely use this mode in my usual practice. When I do it is only for short times and generally in the “low speed mode that my camera has. Last night I used the high speed mode for the majority of evening.

The result…I made a total of 4002 exposures and almost filled a 128 GB card! Terra incognita for me. Sorting though all of those files was a major pain and I bet that I missed a few interesting frames in doing so… one of the downsides of burst mode! I ended up processing about 100 frames total. Aren’t you glad I am showing only a dozen here!?

7 June 2021

Anthotypes & Salted-Paper Prints

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 8:30 PM

I “cooked up” a batch of anthotypes on Saturday.

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On Sunday, I beat the heat by making salted-paper prints in the basement.

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The first of the anthotypes is 6.5 inches square on 8×10 inch paper. The rest are 4.5 inches square on 5×7 inch paper. The salted-paper prints are either 4.5 inches square or 4×5 inches on 5x7ish inch paper.

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