The Cherokee people called it “Place of Blue Smoke”.
From the Roaring Fork trail, to Clingman’s Dome (6643 ft), the photographic opportunities in The Great Smoky Mountains are plentiful. In the spring the dogwood trees are in bloom, the Little River runs full from mountain runoff and in the fall the colors are just spectacular.
I will confess, the fall is a bit confusing for a b&w photographer.
Before teaching my workshop in the Smokies this year my good friend and workshop instructor Tom Franks and I were exploring Cade’s Cove in preparation for the workshop.
As usual we carry our backpacks and work on personal photographs as well. While doing so I was exploring the possibilities of a photograph of one of the old wooden structures. Many were built in the early 1800’s. In years past I have made images of these buildings but now I was considering shapes and textures. I found an interesting corner that lacked the annoying carved names of who loves whom.
The soft light created by the clouds was perfect for this subject since the wood was very high in contrast. It only took a minute to set up, compose and focus the image on the ground glass of the 5 x 7 view camera. I knew immediately that the image was going to be difficult to make. I was using my 305 mm Schneider G-Claron lens. I had the camera positioned approximately 30 inches from the corner of the building and to focus the camera I needed to extend the bellows almost 20 inches. The extended bellows required that I add exposure. My calculation indicated a full 1-½ stop extra was needed. Since the camera was so close to the subject, depth of field became my second concern. I was forced to use f-90 to maintain sharpness throughout the image. This in turn meant my exposure was going to be longer then one second requiring more exposure to compensate for reciprocity.
Final exposure was 3 seconds at f- 90. There was only 4 stops difference in light values so I added development to this sheet of film to raise or brighten the highlights.
Printing this negative required a lower contrast filter to give the finished print detail in the shadow and highlights.
I selected areas to burn in or darken to give the print a greater luminosity.
The result of this architectural detail is a very successful abstract image.
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.