Print of the Month September 2007

093 Dogwood Tree and Wooden Fence

093  Dogwood  and Wooden Fence


Dogwood and Wooden Fence

During our Smoky Mountain Photography workshop last year Tom Franks and I took our group into Cades Cove. This is a beautiful area with many, many wonderful photographic opportunities.

Cades Cove located in the western section of the park was once known as “Kate’s Cove” named after an Indian chief’s wife. The Cherokee Nation was a frequent visitor often coming back again and again to enjoy the abundant wildlife, good hunting and this beautiful place known as The Great Smoky Mountains.

One of the photographic subjects not to be overlooked in Cades Cove is the 150-year-old architecture. There are a number of old homes and interesting structures that deserve study and attention. At the end of the Cades Cove loop you will find the Dan Lawson Place, The Tipton Place and Carter Shields Place. While we were exploring these old homes for architectural studies I discovered this interesting composition of the dogwood and fence. With our viewing cards a few students and I worked on the composition and decided that we each make an image and compare the prints at later date.

I choose to make a vertical image to fill the top of the frame with the dogwood tree and use the fence as a diagonal leading line. Leading lines are used to take the viewer back into the image and create depth. Fortunately, the timing was right for this workshop and the dogwoods were in full bloom.

I installed my 300mm lens on my 5 x 7 camera to fill the top of the frame with the dogwood. My wider 210 mm lens included the top of the tree and the fence became too small.

With my spot meter I check the darkest section of the wood fence. I measured an EV (exposure value) of 8. I found the white dogwood leaves to measure an EV of 13. This is a perfect 5- stop difference. This meant the part of the fence would be dark with detail and I would have white leaves with detail and the development of the film would be normal. No filter was used but an orange filter would have darkened the green trees a little but then they would have conflicted in tone with the darker fence. I choose to maintain the tonal separation.

Now I had to calculate the proper exposure.

The light was very soft almost a grey day and not very bright. I knew I wanted to maintain a good deal of depth, keeping the foreground tree in focus as well as the fence in the back of the image. I calculated that f-64 was required for appropriate sharpness.

By placing the dark fence on Zone III an exposure of 6 seconds was necessary. That meant 6 seconds of very still air was needed to prevent the trees from blowing in the wind. Sandy Pastor, a most gracious and talented student came to my rescue and helped settle the wind. I’m not sure how but she did it and on Sandy’s cue I made the exposure at the right time. Thank you Sandy. I would also like to thank my brother Tom who lives in Tennessee and is a frequent assistant on my workshops. I was very pleased that he could join us on this workshop. His help was very much appreciated.

The 5 x 7 inch negatives were developed in D-76 1:1.

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.

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