Print of the Month February 2008


173 Little River # 07

173  Little River # 07

The Great Smoky Mountains

A few months ago I wrote about one of my favorite rivers to photograph, The Little River in the Smoky Mountains. Actually, The Little River isn’t anything the name implies. It runs through the national park and is a very exciting river to photograph. The excitement is drawn from the calm of setting up a tripod in the shallow waters or the adventure of

The challenging powers of nature where because of strong currents you must watch your step and hang on to your camera!

Three days before the 2006 Smoky Mountain workshop participants arrived, my good friend Tom Franks and I were investigating some of our favorite locations for photography. We were traveling the road to Tremont where The Little River runs from the north. It is nearly impossible to hike along the riverbank in this area so it is best to start your hike along the road. Once you see a potential composition you can work your way down for further investigation. It can be a challenge because the vertical drop to the riverbank can be steep and dangerous. Makes me wonder why some of the nearly impossible areas to reach hold the most interesting compositions. But if you are determined, it may be a good idea to tie a rope to a tree and use it as leverage and support.

Spying some nice rock formations and interesting water currents in the river we decided to investigate further. We began our descent to the rivers edge. Fortunately, we arrived at the base without incident. Once Tom and I reached the riverbank, we discovered the best vantage point for our composition was from the center of the river itself. I saw a flat rock that appeared to be large enough to provide balance and support for me, my tripod and view camera. Getting to this rock was going to be an adventure in itself. With extreme caution I traversed some of the slippery rocks and then with one long jump landed on top of my destination. Once my balance was established Tom was able to extend my fully opened tripod and camera to me.

You may recall Little River # 3 in which my camera position was placed perpendicular to the river. That view was selected because the rock wall in the background had so much detail and interesting shapes that it became integral to the composition and I enjoyed the horizontal direction of the water.

For the Little River # 7 image I chose a position parallel to the river for two reasons. First, I was able to create an interesting foreground by including the large rock with the water flowing around it. Second, by keeping the camera position a little higher I was able to create depth in the image by including the river in the distance. The light in the background pulls the viewer into the image to the second waterfall. Then if the viewer is interested in the image the soft horizontal patterns in the water will become apparent.

Sometimes we can assist nature as I did by splashing water over the rocks in the foreground to give them a glossy finish.

For the exposure I measured the darkest area of the rocks with my spot meter.

An Ev of 9.5 was placed on Zone III. The brightest water fell on Zone VIII.

f-45 at ½ sec was the perfect exposure.

I used Ilford HP-5 a 400 ISO film rated at 250. The film was processed in D-76 normal and this is a great negative to print. While printing this negative I will burn down the large rock on the left and dodge or brighten the horizontal water flow.

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.


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