Traveling to far away places can be exciting and creatively stimulating. The whole process of planning a trip from flight arrangements to the new and often different cuisine one might experience on a photography workshop is exhilarating. Well, planning a trip to Ohio, albeit the South Eastern section of Ohio just did not require all that much planning. There were no plane tickets to purchase, I knew the selection of restaurants would be limited; I didn’t even need to rent a car. The point is once you begin looking at some of your local parks, you will be surprised what a photographer/artist can find just a few hours from home or even in your own backyard.
Cedar Falls is located in Logan Ohio in the Hocking Hills State Park only a few hours from my home. Located in the foothills of the Appellation Mountains there are several waterfalls in the area, not to mention fascinating rock formations, small lakes and wonderful hiking.
Photographing waterfalls in black and white or color can be a tricky thing to do. The photographer needs to remember a good print will have detail in the whites as well as the dark areas. A common problem with waterfalls photographed in sunlight will print the water as a white mass lacking in any detail or the shadow areas to print paper black again without in detail. For a novice to the arts this may be satisfying but to the more sophisticated viewer, areas of a print lacking detail will subtract from the overall print quality.
This negative was exposed early in the morning before the sun entered the area and hit the water. With my spot meter I measured the dark area to the left and below the falls. I placed this area on Zone III and then checked the brightest area of the waterfall and noted that it fell on Zone VIII. A perfect 5 zone spread. This means I can develop my negative normal and not have to deal with adding or subtracting negative development time. If only all scenes could be so simple I thought. I tilted my view camera lens downward to give me greater depth of field. Placing the darker area on Zone III gave me an exposure of f-22 at 1second using 100-speed T-max film rated at 64 ISO.
The one-second exposure was just long enough to create the silky effect on the water and still maintain detail. If I arrived later to the scene and found the sun illuminating the water the brightness range would have been too much and I may not have been able to make a satisfactory print. The whites would be too white or the blacks too dark.
Now I mentioned that I had a perfect 5-stop negative. Printing this negative should have been a breeze. And generally speaking with a negative like this it is. But there is always creative dodging and burning required to make the print the way I visualized the scene when I exposed the negative. As a master printer I will visualize the final print before the negative is exposed. Keeping in mind that when printing there are hundreds of possibilities. A straight print renders the scene as it was. In Black and White photography “as it was” is never good enough. When viewing a scene in my mind and seeing it as a black and white scene I have already changed it to something it is not. Now I need to create this pre-visualized scene in the darkroom. The darkroom affords me the flexibility to make selected areas brighter or darker so the process of pre-visualizing is a good starting point and critical to the finished print.
This negative was made with T-Max 100 and developed in D-76.
About the Print of the Month
The Print of the Month is a new print offered at an early-edition discount. Normal pricing must apply once the print is offered by a gallery.
The Print of the Month is a silver gelatin print, each one created by hand using traditional darkroom methods.
Prints are limited to 50 per edition.
Typically the Print of the Month is made from a T-Max 100 negative, which is processed in D-76 mixed 1:1.
Each fine art print is made by hand using Ilford-based double weight paper.
The prints are double fixed and selenium toned for longevity. They are then washed in a vertical print washer to completely eliminate any residue. Prints are carefully allowed to dry for two days. Next, each print is mounted on museum quality archival mat boards with acid-free mounting tissue. Although each print takes a considerable amount of time and meticulous effort, this archival printing and mounting process is the only way to ensure print permanence and collectability. Give it proper care and your print will last hundreds of years without fading.
My signature and the print number are visible on the mat, below the print.
The Print of the Month offers a 50% savings off the normal investment.