Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I've spent an awful lot of time lugging 45 pounds of gear in search of black and white images. I had a heavy back pack and a wooden tripod with a hefty three-way-handled head that could hold my 4x5 view camera steady when set up in a running stream. Under the cloth I would go to adjust the swings and other settings in order to bring the upside down image into focus. Time and again I would go out for hours, maybe set the camera up several times and never click the shutter. It wasn't worth the exposure if it wasn't going to be a good one since each one led to a lot of work.

When I did expose a piece of film, I needed to mark the sheet film holder to tell me whether it was a normal, plus or minus development. Then there would be unloading the holder in the dark, processing the negative followed by long hours of printing. In the end, when everything went well, I would have a gorgeous 11x14 silver print slightly cool toned. We called it fine art black and white photography.

Now it is slam-bam, clickity click and Shazam! you have a color image that looks wonderful on a computer screen. If you have a fine art printer like mine, you might still produce printed images to hang where it can be enjoyed from time to time. It still amazes me that no chemicals or film are needed from click to print, just a pocket full of pixels. Still, the black and white image remains the holy grail for many of us, especially those with dogs named Ansel.

Paddle safe...



suzette said...

those are absolutely gorgeous, beautiful and inspiring. i must admit, i feel a little jealous that your pics are so good. do you have any pics of ansel?

canoelover said...

With a name like Silberman, no wonder you like the chemical way. :-) I shoot medium format, that's as far as I go. 4x5 or larger just seems like WAY too much hassle. Then again, people make fun of my old Mamiya C330 Pro. But they don't make fun of the pictures.