Is Traditional Photography THAT Hard???

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GreyWolf

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Do you know what I am missing in my traditional darkroom?


The EDIT ---> UNDO key !

In my darkroon I must complete each mistake (and I make many of these mistakes) and learn from doing this. Somehow by going through the whole process I seem to learn more about photography than just the original mistake.

I do play now and then with the digital process. I try something quickly then EDIT ---> UNDO , try something else then EDIT ---> UNDO, and keep going until I either get bored or else "fluke onto" something that is interesting and perhaps a keeper.

Trouble is that most times I am not quite sure what I did to get the good results.

Oh well ... I can always EDIT ---> UNDO again on the computer tomorrow or another day when I am bored.

Now if you would excuse me ... I would like to go back to my darkroom and develop some negs I shot yesterday. I am excited about tweaking my N-1 times for these negs as I am pretty sure that from past experience that the "scene brightness ratio" was a bit high and I can hold my subtle highlights to a printable range with proper development.

I recall doing this very thing about a week ago with improved results, but not quite there yet.

Wish me luck. (though practical experience would tell me that it is not luck)

Kind Regards,
 

ian_greant

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Is digital easier? I think the best answer is "it depends". I've seen equally good work using both methods even though my personal bias run strongly to traditional methods.

One thing for sure. Digital is more accessible. Photo.net Photosig, etc are all proof of that. Anyone with a digital cam can shoot and upload within mere minutes of a photoshoot.. they don't even have to look at the photo, and sometimes I think they didn't :wink:


Cheers,
Ian
 

Ole

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GreyWolf said:
Do you know what I am missing in my traditional darkroom?


The EDIT ---> UNDO key !

Not me. I want a "Redo" button instead. Every once in a while I get a really stunning print, and spend the next month trying to repeat it. A redo button would be great :wink:
 

redbandit

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In 2017 Michael Kenna talked about digital being too easy and unappealing.

Easy is what matters for them. In the traditional world, one must actually PARTICIPATE in the creation of a photograph. Wether its waiting for a cloud to dissapear so you can get a sharper bird photo, to WAITING 20 minutes for a bird to land where you want it for the photograph to be "right".

With digital, the ease of changing those things is illustrated by the fact of ISO invariance.

It was demonstrated by a person taking a photo at 100 iso of a vase in a dark room, and then using photoshop to increase the ISO up to 800 to show the entire scene when the original at 100 iso merely showed a solid black object for the vase.
 

momus

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I used to just develop my film, then scan it and inkjet print it. Looked OK to me, and other people liked the prints. But the idea of working IN THE DARK, or nearly so, almost terrified me. It seemed so impossible. All that equipment to buy, didn't I need a real darkroom? How do I wash the prints? What about chemical fumes? On and on and on.

Then I spent about $60 for an old enlarger w/ an 8x10 easel, bought trays and salad tongs from Walmart, and invested $14 in a red bulb and thermometer from Freestyle. Bought the papers and chemicals, used the bedroom to print, and had large storage bins for my wash water and holding tank. Final wash was in the bathtub, and I hung the prints to dry in there as well. It worked!

It was actually easier and a whole lot more fun that staring at the monitor watching a print come out of the printer, only to see it clog on the last half inch. Getting good prints requires keeping notes and making a lot of mistakes, don't get me wrong. But if you stick w/ it, it's fun, and the prints get better and better. Who knew? And yes, they look much nicer than those inkjet prints. It feels good to do the entire process myself, from snapping the shutter to flattening the fiber prints.
 
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redbandit

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I used to just develop my film, then scan it and inkjet print it. Looked OK to me, and other people liked the prints. But the idea of working IN THE DARK, or nearly so, almost terrified me. It seemed so impossible. All that equipment to buy, didn't I need a real darkroom? How do I wash the prints? What about chemical fumes? On and on and on.

Then I spent about $60 for an old enlarger w/ an 8x10 easel, bought trays and salad tongs from Walmart, and invested $14 in a red bulb and thermometer from Freestyle. Bought the papers and chemicals, used the bedroom to print, and had large storage bins for my wash water and holding tank. Final wash was in the bathtub, and I hung the prints to dry in there as well. It worked!

It was actually easier and a whole lot more fun that staring at the monitor watching a print come out of the printer, only to see it clog on the last half inch. Getting good prints requires keeping notes and making a lot of mistakes, don't get me wrong. But if you stick w/ it, it's fun, and the prints get better and better. Who knew? And yes, they look much nicer than those inkjet prints. It feels good to do the entire process myself, from snapping the shutter to flattening the fiber prints.

Its also harder to get good reviews when your wating for a roll of film to dry..

But it is more satisfying when you get bored, toss up a crappy scan of a landscape from a point and shoot and it gets good reviews on photocrowd. Oh those were fun days, but man rather hard to stay on.
 

Rick A

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I was reading the latest issue of Black & White Photography (by the way -way to go Jorge! loved it! and thanks Ailsa for the copy!)

All was well until I turned to the Letters to the editor section. I haven't seen issue 24 but apparently some poor guy mentioned in that issue, that he believed digital imaging is a different art form than photography. The digital camp of course went berserk and wrote several letters defending thier medium in this current issue. But the one thing that stood out and almost gave me a migrane, were the comments regarding some of their mentalities for going digital. I got the impression that many went digital because they could not cope with or have any success with wet methods. I can't understand this. I processed my first roll of film when I was 16 with zero experience, and I also made a rather nice black and white print in the highschool darkroom of that image. I did not find this hard, cumbersome, inconvenient, annoying, frustrating, or difficult in any way! I actually found it magical. I ummmm, simply followed basic directions to achieve this result! BASIC! Mix this with that, pour this into that for x minutes. Wow, that is soooooo hard isn't it??? But apparently scores and scores of "photographers" can't produce work they are satisfied with by using these methods, and thanks to digital one reader says they have a "new lease of life in photography". I'm dumbfounded that people find wet methods so difficult that they must rely on computers to give them the means to be "photographers". I am no master in the darkroom, but the results I achieve are my own and that means a hell of a lot. If computer aided photography can improve my results shouldn't I go with that? Never.

(as usual thanks for letting me blow off some steam)

Hmm......
I got a Sears darkroom kit at the age of 9, read the instructions and started down a path that has lasted six decades(so far). Is it hard? No, only as hard as you want to make it. The better question is "is it frustrating?" the answer is yes often it is very frustrating. Is it rewarding? Yes when everything goes right and especially when you make mistakes and overcome them. The darkroom is my safe space, I go there to tune out the world. It beats hanging out in a bar.
 

Chuck_P

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Good photography is about content and composition. It's not about method.

Yes, however, when I see a good black and white photograph that I know is a converted color digital image, I become less interested in it. Is that a failing on my part, maybe, but I'm simply not interested in how it came to be and I move on. It's not a criticism, it's simply the effect it has on me.
 

Nodda Duma

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Sean,

I think 19 years after you originally posted this thread, more and more people — and a new generation even — would agree with your original post that no, it’s not hard at all! With hindsight, it was also evident that the digital attitude was driven at least in part by digital camera manufacturers’ marketing to sell cameras.

Now that we’ve been through even digital cameras’ rise and fall, the photographic community realizes that either is a viable artistic medium they can choose from to suit their photographic tastes. Neither is superior, but just different like oil and acrylic. In addition, digital technology can be incorporated in the workflow to complement analog and vice versa. It’s a wonderful new era to be into photography.
 
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mtnbkr

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Now that we’ve been through even digital cameras’ rise and fall, the photographic community realizes that either is a viable artistic medium they can choose from to suit their photographic tastes. Neither is superior, but just different like oil and acrylic. In addition, digital technology can be incorporated in the workflow to complement analog and vice versa. It’s a wonderful new era to be into photography.
Absolutely. I'm old enough that photography was just film-based until nearly my 30s. Now I do both for different reasons and feel no need to arbitrarily limit myself to one or the other. The blending of the two is also a neat twist that wasn't apparent to me until recently.

I also dig how I can use vintage lenses with mirrorless cameras. I can get some interesting shots with that combination and keep old glass making images even if I don't have film. :smile:

I don't know why folks feel the need to pick one or the other like a favorite sports team.

Chris
 

cerber0s

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I use both digital and analog. We photograph things, freeze moments in time onto some sort of medium. What that medium is does not matter even the slightest. I get equally good (or bad) results using both digital and analog. Digital is far easier for me because I can hook the camera up to the computer and review the images in just a few minutes. If I want to do the same thing with film I have to haul the enlarger out from behind the bed, carry it into the bathroom, set it up in the shower, put the trays around it, fill the trays with chemicals, mount a curtain to seal the door… Then finally, I get to do some printing while standing on my knees on a hard tile floor. Once done, reverse the process to have a shower.
 

Paul Howell

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Going back to the dark ages, 2003 I did not own a digital camera, I think my flip phone of the day may have had a camera, never used it. At the time I would said I would not want to own a digital camera, spent most of my day working looking at a computer screen. Now I own, 7 digital cameras, Sigma, Pentax, and Sony. I shoot film about 80% of the time, no longer travel overseas with film as I don't to take the risk that my film will be fogged. I sometime use a digital camera as a light meter when shooting M and LF, shoot sports and wildlife with digital and film, digital for low light. Lately, due to the cost of color film and processing I shoot digital for color. In 2003 I could get a roll of rebranded 35mm Fuji 100 for couple of dollars, developed at a mini lab for a dollar and print at home. My personal taste is not to overprocess a digital image, current Corel Aftershot does a good job of creating film like digital images. I could live with either, what I like about film is the process, taking the picture, developing and printing, I find it relaxing.
 

redbandit

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Going back to the dark ages, 2003 I did not own a digital camera, I think my flip phone of the day may have had a camera, never used it. At the time I would said I would not want to own a digital camera, spent most of my day working looking at a computer screen. Now I own, 7 digital cameras, Sigma, Pentax, and Sony. I shoot film about 80% of the time, no longer travel overseas with film as I don't to take the risk that my film will be fogged. I sometime use a digital camera as a light meter when shooting M and LF, shoot sports and wildlife with digital and film, digital for low light. Lately, due to the cost of color film and processing I shoot digital for color. In 2003 I could get a roll of rebranded 35mm Fuji 100 for couple of dollars, developed at a mini lab for a dollar and print at home. My personal taste is not to overprocess a digital image, current Corel Aftershot does a good job of creating film like digital images. I could live with either, what I like about film is the process, taking the picture, developing and printing, I find it relaxing.

I only got into the digital thing when i realized that alot of film doesnt do well in low light, and well the cost of color film.... and development.
 

Vaughn

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If it is not hard, one is not working hard enough.
 

bernard_L

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In 2017 Michael Kenna talked about digital being too easy and unappealing.

Then let him take pictures with one hand tied in his back.

Just to be clear: I do 95% silver photography. Because I enjoy it. Right now a strip of Legacy Pro 400, exposed in an Oly 35RC, is drying.

I don't buy into this kind of elitist attitude. The invective, sometimes abuse (not at me, but reading that was bad enough), from some film purists almost drove me off Apug.
 

redbandit

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Just to be clear: I do 95% silver photography. Because I enjoy it. Right now a strip of Legacy Pro 400, exposed in an Oly 35RC, is drying.

I don't buy into this kind of elitist attitude. The invective, sometimes abuse (not at me, but reading that was bad enough), from some film purists almost drove me off Apug.

how old is that legacy pro film... its a not manufactured item now on the freestyle website only found by doing a manual search for the product on google.

Although some reviews call it arista legacy pro... but the package photos dont show arista on it
 

redbandit

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Photography has been givena false difficulty to it, mainly by

1. people who have no clue about it, and want to create a mystique on it
2. people who do things, but need a means to make themselves seem to be more then they are by creating a mystique about it.

ie "i measured out my ingredients at home to make my film chemicals just like ansel adams did, so I know im a purist of photography"

to creating stories about photography that have no basis in fact, and create things that dont exist. ie one that "popular" on a story site where the 14 year old charecter is purchasing special chemicals to "push film" to developing a roll of film, and making an 8x10 of each frame in a single 10 minute period...
 

Steven Lee

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Photography has been givena false difficulty to it, mainly by

1. people who have no clue about it, and want to create a mystique on it
2. people who do things, but need a means to make themselves seem to be more then they are by creating a mystique about it.

That's an apt observation. Describes Reddit and APUG perfectly. :smile:
 
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Bill Burk

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I also dig how I can use vintage lenses with mirrorless cameras. I can get some interesting shots with that combination and keep old glass making images even if I don't have film. :smile:
Zombie thread but what the heck...

I am enjoying vintage lenses on the cameras they were designed for.

Right now I am working with Pentax ES-II cameras and SMCT linked lenses.

Until now, I was indifferent to whether or not an M42 lens had the aperture linkage.

But having reconditioned ES-II working as good as new draws me back to the advantages of open-aperture automatic shutter.

I love the old Super Takumar lenses, especially the 35mm f/2 67mm filter ring lens.

But just got another SMCT 35mm f/2 49mm filter ring lens, because I want that linkage.

And a little while ago I got an 85mm f/1.9 SMCT because I wanted a little telephoto.

I used that 85mm today to take a couple pictures of a neighbor's kid riding his bike for the first time.

Somewhere in my negatives I have pictures of his older sister riding her bike for the first time.

If I had to do the open focus, stop-down shoot dance, I might have missed today's photos. If the ES-II wasn't in great shape, the mirror would have locked up... But nothing bad happened and I got some good shots.
 

Vaughn

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Photography has been givena false difficulty to it, mainly by

...

...people reacting to the equally false ease of photography as professed by many. Ahhhh, but which came first?

Anything is easy if there is no challenge. Hence what I posted above in Post #66...if it isn't hard, one is not challenging oneself.
 
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Sean

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Wow, a thread so old I barely remember even writing it 😁

A lot has changed since then. Once young, I had a lot more pep to spend hours in my darkroom chasing after that elusive print (and at the time some disdain for those not up for the chase). Now, nearly 50 I can see some appeal to digital. As far as color work goes, I can produce images I like well enough, shoot from the hip, and be done with minimal post-processing and costs.
 
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