Still Making Due

Starvation Creek Falls, October 2016

I’ve been without a darkroom for over a year and a half.  My attempt to carve one out of a spare bedroom was foiled by carpet.  Gaia and I don’t consider this to be our permeant house, so ripping up the wall-to-wall carpet upstairs is out of the question.  And, even if we could do that, imagine the damage that a few major fixer spills could do to the resale value.  
I have the room set up, sans sink.  The enlargers are ready to go, I have chems and paper.  I can get the room dark enough to load film, but the dust is impossible to control.  I can do contact prints, and develop them in a Jobo Processor in the bathroom, but the dust is… you get the point.  

I could muddle through.  The situation is not impossible.  But, after having a real darkroom for so long, the difficulty of doing the most basic processes, when compared to the ease I experienced before, makes it not worth doing when I can send my film out for developing, and scan the negatives.  My scanner won’t do 8×10 negatives, but I’m working on that. 

What does the future bring?  Someday a different house with space for a proper darkroom.  I’m also reconsidering carving a small darkroom out of the garage.  More on this later.

Digital:  I am looking to buy a pro digital camera like a Nikon D810.  I do not intend it to take over for film, but I can use it for the quick shots, and save the medium and large format film for the spectacular shots.  

Featured image: Camera: Hasselblad 500CM with a 40mm Carl Zeiss lens.  

Between darkrooms and making due

Well, the new house in Hood River is very efficient, but not conducive to containing a production darkroom.  I set up the third bedroom with the D5XL enlarger, and some of the framing equipment, but it’s carpeted, so all of the wet stuff has to happen in the bathroom with my Jobo CPP processor.

So….

I bought a digital camera to keep me going until I carve a darkroom out of the garage.

The impossible happened.

I have the photos to prove it.

Ruthton Point, October 2015 # 2I bought a used Nikon D300 with a 24-120 VR lens.  Then, I had my Nikon prime lenses converted to AI at Blue Moon Camera.  These include the following:

20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 65mm Macro (Vivitar), and 135mm.

Add to that my 300mm Tamron with a 2X teleconverter, and the package is complete.

The interesting part of this is that it made me a better film photographer.  Having the ability to see how my shot will turn out immediately enabled me to get the most out of my film shots.

I’m still shooting film, but I don’t get around to developing them as often as I’d like to.  I hope to get the Jobo fired up this weekend, so I’ll have some early spring shots coming up soon.

Losing my darkroom.

Black is turning to white.  My darkroom since 2005 is turning back into a bedroom.  

We’re getting ready to move into the Columbia Gorge, so I’m getting the Portland house ready for sale.  The saddest part of this tearing down the darkroom.  On Tuesday, I ripped apart the sink that I built from plywood and boat paint, and I had the first coat of white paint on it by this morning.

I waited 10 years to have my own darkroom.  I’m hoping that it isn’t another 10 years until I get another one.  

Zillah, Washington

Zillah Teacup

Infrared Church, Colton NY

This is from my East Coast trip last Spring.

I have a few more rolls of my favorite film, Konica IR 750, which was discontinued in 2006, in my freezer. I shot this roll over nearly a year, choosing each subject carefully while trying to remember how to use the stuff.

©2014 Gary L. Quay

©2014 Gary L. Quay

I took a chance on development. I tried a new (to me) developer called Divided D-23. It’s a variation on Kodak’s D-23, and was the version that Ansel Adams used briefly. I used it on a less precious roll of film before trying it on this. The results were stunning. Some of the infrared look is missing, but I think the visual is quite nice.

Wahkeena Falls, May 2014. Developed in coffee.

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I made an interesting experiment with this picture. I deliberately overexposed it to bring out the detail in the shadows, and, instead of my initial intention of reducing development to tame the highlights, I used a formula known as Caffenol CL, and stand developed the negative for 70 minutes.

This is a scan of the negative. I altered the curve a little to darken the deep shadows, but no other adjustments were necessary. In the darkroom, it should print fine on grade 2 paper.

Gins # 8

Sharpness has been the goal of lens manufacturers for over a century.

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But, not the only goal. To wit: the 16″ Kodak Portrait lens. Softness was the goal when this lens was made way back when Kodak was a real photography company. I bought this lens from Blue Moon Camera & Machine in Portland, Oregon. This is my first picture from it. More to follow.