My Infrared DelightsSunday, January 12, 2020
My grandmother and mother were teachers. My Rosemary was a teacher. I was a teacher. Our eldest daughter Ale is a teacher in Lillooet.
Even when you don’t teach anymore it is difficult to remove the urge from your blood. I believe that at my age of 77 I have a lot of useful information (particularly in photography) in my head.
But in this technology lubricated world, paradoxically, stuff like how degrees Kelvin affect photography is forgotten or just not known.
I was delighted to be invited by the West End Community Centre Dark Room Club to lecture them at the end of the month on black and white infra-red film.
This marvellously quirky film has long been in discontinuance (an interesting word courtesy of Kodak who killed the film many years ago). Some of us keep a valuable stash of this film in our freezer. After a period of time it has been said that neutrinos have a fondness for the film and they adversely affect the film.
In recent use of this film I have yet to sense the presence of neutrinos or any other charms and quarks.
I have been putting together a simple Powerpoint presentation with my infra-red photographs.
There is a bit of a problem. And more so, in this 2020 Me Too kind of century. I have not one single photograph of any man or boy in this film. I have landscapes and countless pictures of women in various stages of undress. I must be careful to show pictures that will not affect the sensibility of any of the female members of the darkroom club.
I lost my darkroom when we moved to our present digs in Kitsilano four years ago. I had some anguish (and trauma) over this. But I soon learned to use and appreciate the use of my Canon Pro-1 inkjet printer that is especially designed to print very good b+ws. To be able to print my pictures in the comfort of my fume-free and well light oficina overlooking our deck garden is a definite plus.
But what I really want to convey to that darkroom club are the wonders of that combination that is a decent negative and a very good scanner. In my case it is an Epson Perfection V700 Photo. Why?
For many years (perhaps since the advent of photography in the 19th century) one of the limitations of making prints of negatives or slides was that the materials available made it difficult to see into the rich details of the shadows. In some cases the material for slide film prints was a too-generous increase in contrast.
Perhaps some of the members of the darkroom club might know that to print a photograph for exhibition or for a publication was very different. Before the advent of scanners, newspapers and even good magazines had trouble reproducing a true black. They could do this only when the b+w photographs were glossy! Now with scanners that is no longer the case.
One of my tests for a b+w photograph that was to be used in a magazine was to look at it with my eyes semi-closed. If it went gray I would throw it away and print again.
Below are some of the infrared prints that I have scanned for my presentation. If a colour is discerned it is because I scan RGB which means I can vary the colour of the black and white! The first one below is an example of the wonders of a scanner. The top is a scan of the contact sheet. The bottom of the negatives.
|The Midwich Cuckoos|