¡Adiós 2014! ¡Más Film en 2015!

This print  is from a 4X5 negative I accidentally exposed twice from two different locations 1/2 mile apart from each other. The two images registered quite well (image is a photo of the action print).


A lot happened in 2014, but the most significant for my photography was finishing my darkroom, and going back to developing film and printing the negatives. While doing a photo a day for this blog still demands a lot of time with digital cameras and processing, I’m rediscovering the challenges and excitement of film again: loading sheet film holders in the darkroom,  taking a bunch of equipment out into the field, setting up the camera, taking multiple readings off a handheld light meter and then deciding on a good f/stop / shutter speed combination for the situation, composing the scene upside-down and turned left to right, setting the f/stop and shutter speed as per the light meter readings, cocking the shutter, inserting the sheet film holder into the camera, pulling the dark slide, tripping the shutter, turning the dark slide so the black label shows, inserting the dark slide back into the sheet film holder and removing the sheet film holder from the camera — one negative exposed.

Back in the darkroom there’s mixing chemistry and developing the negatives by hand in trays (about 30 minutes total). There can be a fair amount of manipulation when developing negatives depending on the developer used, temperature of the developer and time in the solution. No matter the process I choose for developing the negatives, once I’ve finished running the negatives through the fixer solution and turn on the light, it’s a magical moment to hold up a negative to the light and see an image on it.

Once the negatives dry, they can be printed. For photographers who have never worked in a darkroom and think that what is on the negative gets printed full-frame, without manipulation, think again. There is almost always  some cropping of the image, and then there is often a lot of manipulation in the printing process starting with the exposure and f/stop combo, dodging, burning and somethings using contrast filters on the enlarger; then there is the type of developer used, time in the solution and use of toners in the final processing to get the print to come out the way I want it to.

In many ways film is more exacting that digital, but at the same time film can be quite forgiving. The lead photograph is a good example. It was bitter cold and windy when I took the photo. I forgot to turn the dark slide to the black label indicating the negative had been exposed, because I moved a 1/2 mile to the north and by chance grabbed the same film holder and took a second exposure on the same negative. I noticed I seemed to be missing a photograph from the series of photos I had taken that morning after I developed the negatives, and finally realized what had happen from the ghost of the jetty on the lower left side of the print and the tree limbs in the upper right. Even though I was a 1/2 mile north for the second exposure, the Sandias and clouds registered close enough that they don’t look there were two exposures from two different locations. However, if you know the two areas, you can see some dark bushes that don’t belong in the foreground, the Rio Grande mixes in with the green houses and bosque in the middle ground, there are some double images of the Sandias on the left and right side of the print, and the white haze above the clouds are ghosts of the clouds from he second exposure.. Otherwise, the scene looks normal — another magical moment and mystery with film.

Plowed corn field in Corrales with the Sandias in the back ground. Photo of a print from a 4X5 negative.


Light beams on the east side of the Sandias. Photo of a print from a 6X7 cm negative.



34 thoughts on “¡Adiós 2014! ¡Más Film en 2015!

  1. What a great post!!! I like all the explanation of the processes, as well as how the first image came to be.
    And, what a pleasant surprise to see the last image in black and white! Reminds me of so many things that day.
    I’m glad you are having so much fun in so many different ways with your photography.

  2. Great post and I just love your black & white photographs. Wishing you all the best in 2015 and a fantastic photographical year!

  3. I love these black and white prints – so atmospheric. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all your photos this year – to think that 12 months ago, I’d never even looked at a blog.
    Thank you for all your support this year and I wish you and yours a joy and peace filled 2015. And, of course, I look forward to seeing more of your pictures.

  4. Timothy, these images are exceptional! I did not understand much of what you said regarding film photography but your work is outstanding!! Good for you getting back into film. Digital has become so complex that it is mind blowing. I’ve drawn the line in my sand, agreeing with myself I have the equipment, enough. I have the software programs, enough. I have one item on my wish list and that is a desktop computer. But, I am working with what I have, and when the time comes for me to get new, (when hubby’s puter dies), that is when I will invest in new. Again, astounding images!! JUST WOW!! Keep going! Love, Amy

    • Thank you so much for your overly generous and kind words, Amy!

      The manufacturers add way to much stuff to digital cameras that is unnecessarily confusing, and not really needed as far as I’m concerned. As long as you have aperture priority, shutter priority and full-auto modes, bulb, manual mode and perhaps a couple of programable modes you have all you need for dealing with normal and difficult light. Easy to access ISO and white balance settings is nice to have plus the ability to quickly increase or decrease your exposure by a couple of stops. All the other stuff? I don’t bother with it.

      I wish you a wonderful, productive and prosperous 2015!

      BTW Is your husband going to start a photo blog? I would love to see what he’s coming up with.

      • Actually, Timothy, we have been waiting for SNOW and as of this writing, it is snowing. I do not foresee him with his own blog for he really as of now, has little interest in one. But I do plan on posting his work on Petals, as soon as I get it. He knows nothing about editing …. he like you is all about film. I also agree with you about digital cameras. I shoot in manual mode, mostly manual focus when I do my macro photography, I set my own ISO and WB, and go from there. All else on my camera I don’t use, and don’t plan on using. I just shoot with the basics. I have 9 points of focus which is more then enough for me. These new cameras have like 20 something points of focus. No way. I also do basics in the editing room, getting fancy sometimes, but mostly no. Oh, I also like the exposure ability and know how to use a light meter to get the effect I want. Anyways… Have a great New Years!! Love Amy

  5. Outstanding glorious photos Tim. And your descriptions of the processes are generous, inspiring, reassuring and understandable ( I can’t say this enough). You are a gem! Have a wonderful new year, and a really great time with your camera! 🙂

    • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much Gill! You are much too generous, but I really do appreciate your wonderful praise. I wish you a glorious, productive and prosperous New Year! 🙂

  6. Our little Marcus cat is ill – some kind of respiratory big – so I’ll be dispensing meds and kitty hugs as well. Spent the afternoon painting the inside of the old garage. I think I need a short nap!

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