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Back to the basics

 
 
Ken Davey
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      10-07-2006
I literally grew up in a darkroom.
I was eight years old when I made my first print. That experience stayed
with me and led to several interesting jobs in the photographic industry.
I worked for Rolls Royce of Canada and BC Hydro as an industrial
photographer. I cannot say I have done it all but I have touched on most
aspects of photography.
A long time ago I was the victim of arson and lost all my equipment. This
loss forced me in another (career) direction - you name it - I did it - and
for three decades I took a walk, shooting photos casually with no clear
direction.
Then along came digital. Wow! Now here was something that could re-kindle my
passion.
Thanks to an unexpected income tax refund I bought the first high end
digital that came to town - now long obsolete.
I was in love with the ease with which I could produce 'good' images.
Now it starts to get interesting.
As time goes by I am seeing software (and equipment) that takes image
manipulation back on a parallel course with the tools I used to employ in
the darkroom.
Those of you who did spend time in a traditional darkroom will know what I
am saying.
Now, it has to be said, that the expense of setting up a darkroom was
considerable.
The reward was an absolute control of one's image.
It was not for everybody - in fact - it was available to only a few willing
to put up with the expense and inconvenience.
Today anyone with a PC and Photoshop (or similar software) can do, in
seconds, what I (we) did in a 'wet' darkroom in hours.
Yin and yang.
We had to carefully think out all the moves as a mistake cost - in
chemicals, expensive paper and time.
The best results depended on an ultimate effort to get it right the first
time.
There was no such thing as 'undo'.
Walking the tightrope of exposure/film choice/developer, paper/contrast
choice/developer, timing, timing - the list goes on.
It was indeed remarkable that any acceptable image came out of the darkroom!
Everyone who is now playing with digital and all the freedom of image
manipulation it represents would be well advised to think upon the history
of photography and be humbled!
Don't get me wrong.
Digital is a magical medium.
It grows in ways that film never imagined in the wildest of dreams.
The masters - Karsh, Adams etc. would take this medium and stun the
competition!!
The challenge is to best them; never to forget them!

Regards.
Ken.
PS: check out my sig line. Go there - do that if you can.
Thanks.

--
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http://www.grid.org/services/teams/t...9-D37D5B25B569

My return address is courtesy of Spammotel http://www.spammotel.com/
It works. I will get your reply.


 
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verity
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      10-07-2006
I know exactly what you're saying, and you are right.

Setting up even a modest darkroom was pricey, especially for amateurs
with limited time, space and money. If you weren't going to use the
darkroom steadily, there were always paper and chemicals going bad,
going to waste.

Being able to do darkroom work on a PC is a godsend for those of us who
want to be able to do that sort of thing but don't do it for a living.
Truly, a revolution in capabilities and affordability.

-v-

 
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Paul Rubin
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      10-07-2006
"verity" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> Setting up even a modest darkroom was pricey, especially for amateurs
> with limited time, space and money. If you weren't going to use the
> darkroom steadily, there were always paper and chemicals going bad,
> going to waste.


I think a lot of us used darkrooms at school. That's what I always
did. The darkroom fees were affordable, even for a student. You
could shoot bulk loaded black and white film, develop it, and make a
contact print for less than a buck a roll total. Local camera stores
also had darkrooms and while those (unlike the school photo club's)
had to turn a profit and therefore cost more, it still wasn't too bad
if you only used them once in a while. I used them a few times after
I graduated.
 
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Ken Davey
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      10-07-2006
verity wrote:
> I know exactly what you're saying, and you are right.
>
> Setting up even a modest darkroom was pricey, especially for amateurs
> with limited time, space and money. If you weren't going to use the
> darkroom steadily, there were always paper and chemicals going bad,
> going to waste.
>
> Being able to do darkroom work on a PC is a godsend for those of us
> who want to be able to do that sort of thing but don't do it for a
> living. Truly, a revolution in capabilities and affordability.
>
> -v-


You got it!

Ken.
--
Volunteer your idle computer time for cancer research
http://www.grid.org/services/teams/t...9-D37D5B25B569

My return address is courtesy of Spammotel http://www.spammotel.com/


 
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Charles Gillen
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      10-08-2006
"Ken Davey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> It was indeed remarkable that any acceptable image came out of the
> darkroom!


And of course you recall tilting the paper easel to correct perspective
while printing... but now easy digital corrections can turn any simple
snapshot into a pseudo "view camera" shot. My 16mm Zenitar and 16~45mm zoom
on a Pentax are pure joy, thanks to digital "tilting."

--
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Charles Gillen -- Reston, Virginia, USA
 
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Ken Davey
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      10-08-2006
Charles Gillen wrote:
> "Ken Davey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> It was indeed remarkable that any acceptable image came out of the
>> darkroom!

>
> And of course you recall tilting the paper easel to correct
> perspective while printing... but now easy digital corrections can
> turn any simple snapshot into a pseudo "view camera" shot. My 16mm
> Zenitar and 16~45mm zoom on a Pentax are pure joy, thanks to digital
> "tilting."

Ayup. And stopping down the enlarger to get sufficient depth of field for
that trick meant hoping that a heavy truck didn't go by the house during the
long exposure.

Ken.

--
Volunteer your idle computer time for cancer research
http://www.grid.org/services/teams/t...9-D37D5B25B569

My return address is courtesy of Spammotel http://www.spammotel.com/


 
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perry lee
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-08-2006
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
says...
> Charles Gillen wrote:
> > "Ken Davey" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >
> >> It was indeed remarkable that any acceptable image came out of the
> >> darkroom!

> >
> > And of course you recall tilting the paper easel to correct
> > perspective while printing... but now easy digital corrections can
> > turn any simple snapshot into a pseudo "view camera" shot. My 16mm
> > Zenitar and 16~45mm zoom on a Pentax are pure joy, thanks to digital
> > "tilting."

> Ayup. And stopping down the enlarger to get sufficient depth of field for
> that trick meant hoping that a heavy truck didn't go by the house during the
> long exposure.
>
> Ken.
>
>


I agree. If I NEVER small Dektol on my clothes again it will be too
soon!
--
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1759
 
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Don Stauffer in Minnesota
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      10-09-2006

Ken Davey wrote:
> I literally grew up in a darkroom.
> I was eight years old when I made my first print. That experience stayed
> with me and led to several interesting jobs in the photographic industry.
> I worked for Rolls Royce of Canada and BC Hydro as an industrial
> photographer. I cannot say I have done it all but I have touched on most
> aspects of photography.
>snip
> Digital is a magical medium.
> It grows in ways that film never imagined in the wildest of dreams.
> The masters - Karsh, Adams etc. would take this medium and stun the
> competition!!
> The challenge is to best them; never to forget them!
>
> Regards.
> Ken.


I certainly agree. I began doing digital even before I had a digicam.
I used to take film up and have PCDs made of the film. Tben I bought a
scanner.

My department at work did camera technology development. We could not
do software nor image processing- that was another group's charter.
But I sure drooled over what those guys were doing. Then when I saw
the software that would allow me to do same things on my home PC- that
was magical! I can now do all the things I used to do in darkroom,
plus many things I really couldn't do before.

 
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