Kallitype Printing

I had ordered a kit for Kallitype printing from the Photographer’s Formulary and received it a while back. It came with seven pages of instructions that still seem a bit short. Next time I will order from Bostick and Sullivan even though the price is higher.

It took some work to get all of the containers and measuring cups, which I had assumed would be included with the kit. I found most of the containers that I needed at various places around town, and I finally found some amber dropper bottles (50mL) at Propst Pharmacy that were not actually for sale. The next time I will order containers with the kit! I also got a red bulb and a black light from Walmart. I am still a bit confused on why the instructions require a red light since this is not supposed to be a darkroom process.

I mixed all of the chemicals in the upstairs bathroom and put them in marked containers. I sensitized some Arches Coldpress paper and let it dry. My first exposure was of a B&W 120 negative of dogwood flowers. I think I overexposed it though in the sun for 75 minutes.

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Marmot Aura 2P

When April and I decided to hike and camp our way through Yellowstone in 2008, we thought that it would be the right time to finally get a lighter tent. The tent that we normally use is over-sized for what we need and quite heavy. After a ton of research, reviews, and web browsing – we decided to get the Marmot Aura.

This tent is everything that we expected. Here’s a few items to note:

  • Price – ~$300 on the web including shipping.
  • Weight – this tent only weighs 5 pounds. Compare that to the 7+ pounds for the Eureka that we normally used.
  • Setup – It took a while to figure out how to set this tent up. After my first attempt I realized that the instructions are on the inside of the tent bag – much easier with the instructions.
  • Functionality – This tent helped us stay warmer than our Eureka would have in 30 degree temps in Yellowstone. There was a bit of wind, but nothing that I would use as a test of the tents wind resistance.

So far, I’m very happy with this tent. It seems to be well worth the price that we paid for it. The bent poles allow enough room for us to sit comfortably and gives the feeling of more space.

My wife is getting annoyed with me asking her questions about price for a review on my website. She thinks that it’s totally “LAMO”

B&W Printing by George DeWolfe

B&W Printing Book Cover
 

B&W Printing – “Creating the Digital Master Print”by George DeWolfe. A Lark Photography book in their Digital Masters series. $29.95 at Barnes & Nobles

I purchased this book after having problems creating a print (particularly in black & white) from a photograph that I had scanned from film. Here are my thoughts on it:

The book starts with a definition of terms in a glossary. This bothers me to some extent because we already have plenty of terms that are commonly used in photography that cover any idea mentioned in this book.

The first section of the book is quite interesting and should have expanded with additional information. DeWolfe discusses the things that make a master B&W print different from a normal B&W print. He covers edge definition, using shading to bring out form, and tone separation. Each of these items are treated to a type of before & after discussion to show the affect that they have on an image.

This section also introduces the PercepTool, written and sold by DeWolfe. The current price listed on DeWolfe’s website is $89.95. I was pretty angry that I bought a $30 book only to have the author use it to try and sell me a $90 software tool. I would estimate that 1/4 of the book is useless without the PercepTool. DeWolfe could have at least explained how the tool works instead of just how to set the parameters of the tool and use it.

The book also includes small sections on featured artists. These features provide a before & after image of the artists work. The featured artists were all helpful and inspiring.

The second section discusses the image workflow used by DeWolfe. While the first two chapters of this section are wasted on setup and customization of Lightroom (DeWolfe was on the development team for Lightroom), the majority of the material was very helpful. I have taken the suggestions and incorporated them into my own workflow.

There are several other concepts covered that help describe the differences between a mediocre print and a master print. The reader is forced to read between the lines a bit to discover the concepts.

As for actually printing the digital master print, there is a single short chapter that mentions printing. Of course, it only covers printing with Lightroom.

Conclusion:
This book would have been much more helpful if it had been reduced to its essential elements. It should cover workflow and the attributes of a master print. The inclusion of the PercepTool and Lightroom customization seem to be a poorly disguised attempt at salesmanship. Useful information on B&W printing would have been nice, especially in a book titled “B&W Prining”

This book is useless as far as actually printing an image goes. I’m still looking for a good manual for printing a B&W image with an inkjet printer. If you are looking for information on how to use a consistent workflow, there are articles available online that are very informative.

Apex 3XTA Review

Tent Information:

  • Date Purchased: February 2005
  • Purchased from: Bass Pro Shop, Orlando
  • Purchase price: $160
  • Weight: > 7 lbs

I purchased this tent to use for camping trips with my wife and my dog – the reason for the 3 person tent. So far, the tent has been on two camping trips – on the Buffalo River and the Chinnabee Trail. The Apex is very easy to pitch. I had no trouble pitching it by myself in a little wind – just remember to stake down the upwind side of the tent first. I believe that it could also be set up to pitch in the rain. The fly can be clipped onto the tent before pitching. This may require 2 people though, as the poles usually need to be helped through the webbing at the intersection of the poles.

Here are some pictures of the tent the first two times it was pitched:

From my trip report on the Buffalo River:

It was still storming when I finally drifted off to
sleep. The tents held up surprisingly well through the
downpour. The only problem Tim and I had was that I had
forgotten to tuck the ground cloth underneath the edge of
the tent. There are a few other changes that I would make to
the Eureka Apex 3XTA if I had the chance. I would start by
replacing the tent doors with a mesh screen to allow for
airflow when the rain fly is zipped shut. It got quite
stuffy in the tent when it was all buttoned down. The other
problem that we had is that there is no way to reach the
zipper at the bottom of the rain fly without getting wet
from the condensation. Some type of dual zipper on the fly
would make it easier to unzip from the top.

Here’s a picture of the tent pitched on a rock bar along the Buffalo River:

Here’s a picture of the tent pitched on a ridge above Cheaha Falls.

Notes:

  • The footprint of the tent is bigger than you think
  • Unzipped the doors to help ventilation and a Wolf Spider moved in
  • May be able to raise the door tie-down of the fly by using a trekking pole
  • The weight is a bit much for only 2 people, it’s not as bad if the poles & stakes are carried seperately.
  • With some rigging of the groundcloth, it may be possible to only pitch the fly.

John Hedgecoe’s Complete Guide to Photography

John Hedgecoe Complete Guide to photography.
This is a review of the revised edition of John Hedgecoe’s Complete Guide to Photography, first published in 2004. I’m not sure when I bought the book, but I believe that it was sometime in October of 2004. This is actually the first book on photography that I had read. I believe that I saw the book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, and then went home and looked up some other reviews before purchasing it.

While the book is not in-depth on any one subject, it does provide a very wide coverage of photography. I had learned a great deal about the physics behind capturing images on film from the www.photo.net tutorials of Philip Greenspun. Hedgecoe helped me find the images to capture. The book starts with two sections (65 pages) of information that I already knew, but read through anyway – things like camera type, shutter speed, aperture, types of film. After the first two sections, Hedgecoe covers 69 different projects that I consider to be very useful.

The projects are geared toward finding interesting subjects for photography and explaining how to capture them. Each is filled with images that clearly illustrate the concept being discussed. I found that most of the projects could be accomplished using almost any camera, as the projects focus more on the subject than the technique.

I still pick up the book occasionally to use as a reference, finding myself re-reading the first, fundamental projects. To condense what I’ve learned into a list – things that I look for when taking a picture are:

  • Shape
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Color
  • Tone
  • Composition
  • Viewpoint

– but not necessarily in that order. Usually, it is only one or two items from the list that will grab my attention, and then I will try to work in as many others as possible.

While I would like to see the book go more in-depth on the technical technique needed to get the most out of each project, for $19.95 I feel that I got more than my money’s worth. I would recommend this book to anyone getting started in photography that hasn’t taken a class somewhere that may have already covered the material.