Here is a quick informal review of a new offering by Canson, Baryta Photographique 310 gsm… this paper exhibits many of the qualities of a air dried darkroom print but how does it compare to other Baryta papers tested here at Indian Hill Imageworks. Give a listen…
The audio portion of this post contains my thoughts and test information on the following papers:
Crane Silver Rag
Canson Platine Fibre Rag
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl
Gamut projections of tested papers in Chromix Color Think.
All tests were done on the Epson 9900 using RIP and profiling software by Ergosoft.
Bad batch numbers for Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta 315 gsm:
Note: As I mentioned in the audio portion of this post the new batch of paper supplied to me by Hahnemuhle is perfect and the issue of the black specs has now been corrected from what I can see. I was informed that the issue was “fixed” back in May/ June but unfortunately the bad stock does still exist so check before you buy!
This audio focuses on film grain and how it can translate through scanning into print grain. Plus- how is this connected to and affected by Print Surface Resolution (or PSR)… link to article here on FR on PSR.
Many of the chromogenic (C41) process black and white films get mixed reactions on the web from working photographers, but my recent and continuing exploration of Kodak BW400CN has changed everything in my mind and in a very good way. To listen to the audio portion just click on the audioblog logo.
Test Image: Kodak BW400CN exposed at box speed (400) and scanned on an Imacon Scanner. Minor contrast and density adjustment were applied in Photoshop CS3. Negative was made using a Leica M7 with a 28MM Elmarit F2.8 ASPH lens. Please note the file is larger than most here on FR so you can really see the stunning tonal range and detail. One additional note on the weather here in Vemont… it has been raining a lot and as such this image was made on an overcast day, thus the gray sky.
In this audioblog I present a philosophy of scanning film based on the understanding that in the end photographers make prints and our entire process from film capture to scan to Photoshop to printer is all based on making prints. I outline in detail techniques and settings which will apply to most scanners and will help you get the most of your film and scanner combination. This is a very long audioblog- 27 minutes- and as such have paper and pencil ready, as you won’t want to listen to my voice for this long twice!
Full Process Example Image
Yellow Spring, Vermont. 2009
This recent artwork of mine is a good example of the process outlined in the audioblog. I started with Kodak Ektar 100 film (35mm)- I’ve tested this film and understand how to get the most out of it in a variety of different lighting situations. The camera was my Leica M7 with a 28mm Zone Plate, and the image was made using my Overlapping Frame Panoramic Technique outlined here on FR. After processing (C41) the negative was scanned dry on my Imacon at 4000 optical dpi, 16 bit as an RGB positive, with miminal sharpening and dust removal. All other editing and contrast adjustments were done in Photoshop. My chosen Photoshop color working space as well as the scanning color space?sRGB. Final thought
Knowing the real limits of your workflow, technology and skill level and having a clear understanding/ feeling for your visualized final print helps make the entire process a very fluid and creative endeavour. Test first and remember: experimentation is key!
Many of you have been asking for some insight beyond the technical- more of “A Day in the Life” creative -type stuff, SO… here is a good example of how things can happen around here:
Ok, yesterday after posting the video on Focus and DOF here on Figital Revolution I was searching the web and came across a great new attachment which allows youto connect a Holga lens to a Canon or Nikon with precision… here is a link. It is made by S.K. Grimes who I have done some work with in the past and I am sure the construction is spot-on. I decided to call Adam at S.K. Grimes and ask about making a device like this for my Leica M. I love the Holga (my second book is all Holga work) and thought this could be a great side project. I also found online a home-made attachment / modification for the Holga lens on the Leica M, LINK, but I would prefer the precision of the S.K. Grimes version if I have a choice.
Then I got to thinking about my Through A Glass Darklyartworks and what I liked about them and remembered that last year I had done some work with Zone Plates on several different camera systems and that I had purchased a 28mm F32 Zone Plate for my Leica M7… so then, of course, I had to go find it. After digging through a few drawers in my studio it ultimately surfaced so now I only needed to find some fast film because at F32, 100 speed film would be out of the question for hand-held exposures (maybe). So, yes, I found a roll (one, lonely little roll!) of XP2 Super which I knew had enough exposure latitude to rate with an EI of 800 or even 1250 if needed (I settled on 800).
Finally I decided to shoot a test roll around my yard here in Vermont. I was really curious to see if I could fuse the look and feel of my Through A Glass Darkly Artworks, the Zone Plate, the Overlapping-Frame Panoramic Technique AND my most recent A New Eden Artworks into one creative stew. About 30 minutes later I was off to my favorite lab Phototec, in Rutland Vermont, to have the C41 film processed and-equally importantly although perhaps not so much creatively- get my Prius’s oil changed. One hour later my car was running fine and the negatives were dry.
I was surprised at how much I really liked them… really, really liked them! (This is not the way ALL my brilliant ideas go, you know.) So I had to hurry back to the studio, fire up the Imacon and run a test scan. After a bit of thought on how to compensate for the very low contrast negatives I came up with a good scanner setting and set to work on the file. An hour or so later the image was finished and I really liked how it looked on the screen. Buuuuuut as I had chosen to shoot B&W film and my current favorite art paper (hand-coated Fabriano, 640 gsm) only has an icc. for color and not the required K4 linearization for black and white printing on my d’Vinci Printer it was time- oh yes!- to make the linearization. So about an hour after THAT the linearization was complete and I was all set to print. I had several sheets of paper coated both rough and cold press (luckily left over from a client’s job from last week) but I ultimately decided to go with the cold press as the smoother surface texture would, perhaps, help define the soft elements of the image better than the rough would (I plan to run a test soon on this to be sure!)
Conclusion… I really liked the image and possible new direction for these artworks- hooray! Did I get my work for client’s done today? No! Is it ultimately worth it, in the end, to go with the “art attack” when it strikes? Always!! You can’t do it all the time, BUT inspiration is too valuable not to follow up whenever humanly possible. And if you can get your car ready for another couple of thousand miles of exploring at the same time… even better.
Next, I think I will try this in color using the Fuji 800Z. And as I always say… experimentation is key! Stay tuned.
Just a quick post… I’ve been looking for an “affordable” Leica 28mm lens and was able to make the move last week as Leica has a $300 dollar rebate now available! I decided on the 28mm Elmarit F 2.8 ASPH for a few reasons:
1. It is really small and light and only blocks a very little bit of the lower right corner of the viewfinder on my M7 when the hood is attached- none when it is not.
2. According to test reports* it’s damn sharp (I agree)… see print below / link. Additionally it has very little distortion and a very nice OOF (out of focus) rendering.
3. I had owned the Voigtlander 28mm F 1.9 Ultron lens a few years back and was not really that impressed (so I sold it) and the Leica 28mm F2 ASPH Summicron was out of the question due to the cost and it is a larger lens which blocks more of the viewfinder.
So how good is this lens….
Print 1: Full size print 9.5″ x 25″. Printed on Hand-coated Fabriano Artistico 640 gsm.
Print 2: Crop 4.5″ x 4.5″ of Full Size 9.5″ x 25″ Print
Print 3: Crop 4.5″ x 4.5″ of Extreme Full Size 19″ x 50″ Print!
Note: The negative was scanned on an Imacon Scanner (wet mount) at 4725 optical dpi, 16 Bit… about a 500MB file. Film… Kodak Ektar 100.
Viva la Revolution-
Want / need more information on the Leica 28mm Elmarit F2.8 ASPH… here is a link to a detailed review by Erwin Puts.