After being away from Manchester for around 2 years, I have started to miss it. What I once thought was a shit hole, has now started to feel like home. Japan is very clean and convenient, but it still lacks nostalgia. Over the past few days I have chosen a selection of prints that mean a lot to me personally and will create equally nostalgic feeling for other Mancunian people.
The prints were under-developed to create the washed out look which I think best fits Manchester. I think a fitting title for this series is ‘The North West’.
I apologise if my writing sounds pretentious or pompous, but I find it hard to sound educated without sounding like a twat sometimes.
I have recently found a convenient way to make contact sheets without using any paper or costly materials. Here is all you need.
• negative • light box • digital camera • tripod • Photoshop
First, set up your tripod to look directly over your light box, and make sure all of the light box fills the frame. I recommend that you use a 50m lens for full frame cameras and about a 75mm for cameras with a 1.6 cropped sensor. I also recommend that you shoot high quality camera raw, and for colour negative, adjust the white balance so the negative is less orange.
After this, make a few test shots to see what exposure your negatives look good at. Once you have found a middle ground exposure, set your camera to about 1.5 stop bracketing (this will give 3 images at various exposures and will let you see any under or over exposed images.)
Once you have set up, make sure you turn any ambient light sources off and start shooting. It took me about an hour to photograph 130 negatives. Once you have finished, transfer your images to your computer and open them up in Photoshop. There are many ways to work quickly in Photoshop, such as using ‘actions’ or even running a script to automatically invert and save your images as TIFFs. I won’t go too into detail about it, so all you have to know is you must now invert your images and save them out to TIFF.
Congratulations, you can now see all your negatives on your computer……but that’s not the end of it. I have found that camera raw is a very good program to use for cropping and adding subtle alterations using curves. The best thing is that you can copy and paste development settings, so you only have to edit one of your bracketed images for each image. You can then just copy and paste the settings. Colour negative is a little trickier, and will never deliver the true colour of what a print would look like. Still it is useful to get an idea of composition and a rough look at the colours. I recommend changing the colour temperature in camera raw.
Once you have adjusted and cropped all your images, simply export them as jpegs and upload them to any tablet device. You can now check what prints you want to print whilst on the move. Having your contacts on your computer also enables you to experiment with cropping and contrast, giving you a fast and flexible look at what your print could look like. Obviously a real contact print is much better quality and truer to an actual print, but I still think this method will save you money and time.
• Set up your tripod over your light box
• Alter your camera settings and turn on bracketing
• Shoot photos and upload them
• Invert your images in Photoshop and save them as TIFF
• Alter levels / convert to B&W / alter colour temperature.
• Export your images as Jpegs and upload them to your device.
The shape of Tokyo
1. What initially got you into photography?
Initially it was through skating. I used my first video camera while making skating edits for friends. From then on I guess I’ve been working backwards through technology and away from skating media. I later studied film at college and university and became very interested in cinematography and directing. I used 16mm for my projects and learned a great deal. Around the same time, I became equally interested in printing my own photos. I constructed a darkroom with my father and began to learn everything I could. Cinematography is the most important influence to my photography, so you could say that it was cinematography that introduced me to serious photography.
This short series is from a collection I had built up over last year. Some of the portraits are of people I had met, and the others are merely chances which I chose to capture. I prefer the flatter perspective portraits in the collection over anything else. They just feel more simple.
This is a small portrait of Taiwan which was taken about 15 months ago. Although brief, I think it conveys Taiwan quite well as a beautiful and relaxed country. The places I visited and the people who I encountered were very warm and down to earth. I would very much like to go back there someday.
After trying to find information on dodging and burning, I realised how scarce it was. If you are interested in dark room photography, this video will give you a useful step by step guide on how to make a print. The topics covered are:
1. Assessing your negative
2. Making a test strip
3. Selecting a contrast filter
4. Burning and Dodging
A typical example of dodging would be to dodge a subjects face or area of the print which is otherwise too dark if printed at the desired exposure of the background. Above is a video demonstration about of how I would typically dodge. There are no rules when dodging and the skill is developed over time. I use a piece of black tape, my hands, or a piece of card as my dodging tool. You can use any object you want as long as you remember that the higher to the lens you dodge, the more diffused your dodging will be.
On the Left you can see the dodged print at grade 4. On the right is the print that has received no dodging at grade 3. Notice how in the dodged print the subject seems more three-dimensional and separated from the back ground.
Before I got my Enlarger I wondered if I could print a color negative in black and white. After a little bit of research (google) I found out it was possible. I was very pleased as a lot of my negatives were color and I only had a black and white enlarger. After printing my first print, something just wasn’t right. All my prints seemed super flat so I researched more and found out that a color negative’s orange coloured mask affects the contrast of a print. You still get an image but the contrast is a lot greyer than usual. Even if you increase the contrast using filters, the results are not as strong as when you use black and white negative. The contrast is really affected by the contrast characteristics of your film and the actual contrast of the image it self.
On a more positive note, I have made many decent black and white prints from color negatives. I would say that you have to start at grade 2 and then print at a higher grade if further contrast is needed. Please remember that it is almost impossible to get ultra rich blacks from a color negative when printing it in black and white.
Cross-processed negatives on the other hand print a lot better due to having less of an orange mask and naturally being higher in contrast due to the slide films latitude. Below are some of my prints from cross-processed color negatives and regularly developed color negatives. I think you’ll be surprised at the results. Please bear in mind that each brand of negative film has a different contrast. Also remember that the clearer the whites are in your negative, the richer your blacks will be.
Fuji velvia 100 cross processed (grade 3)