Black and White Photography Blog

Mostly black and white photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper

2 July, 2008 (17:38) | 4 comments

I bought a box of this a few weeks ago but was too busy to try it - until today. My first impression is - wow - I like this even better than the Crane/Museo silver rag I’ve been using. The prints look sharper and the finish is really like an F Gloss darkroom paper.

Only thing - I didn’t think that paper could be more expensive than the Silver Rag - but this is; and I don’t see it offered in rolls.

Anyway, I want to give it a few hours to “cure” and then see what the surface is like in terms of scratching etc. I haven’t read any reviews of it yet - so I have no idea if there are problems with flaking and all that usual stuff. But my first impression is - wow. I think I said that already.

Oh - one funny retro feature - it comes in a black plastic bag as if it were light-sensitive.

Just for the record, a 13 x 19 inch sheet of the Epson F paper costs $5 at B&H, while a 16 x 20 sheet of Ilford Fiber paper (16 x 20) also costs $5 a sheet. Add some ink to the equation and the cost of the inkjet print is about the same as the darkroom print.

However if you add labor to the equation - the darkroom print still costs much more to produce.

========= A few days later…

I have to admit - this is a great paper. I’ve done color & black and white prints with it and it does blow me away. So I guess I’ll be switching papers, at least up to their largest sheet size. I’ll probably raise the print prices to cover the additional cost. The really big stuff that needs roll paper I’ll still do on the Silver Rag.


Curious About Image Stabilizing

27 June, 2008 (16:02) | 1 comment

Since I picked up the 70-300 with IS, I’ve found the IS to be very useful. I notice that some manufacturers are sticking IS on the camera body, while Nikon / Canon have it on the lenses. Having it on the lenses has at least one benefit that I’m aware of which is that when you lock focus and IS turns on, the image in the VF stabilizes as well, not only making it easier to see what you’re doing but showing what the effect of IS will be.

If I’m handholding the shot at a long telephoto length, I have the camera strap on my shoulder, and it’s tensioned so that when I bring the camera  to my eye it helps steady the shot. What I was curious about - for really low light handheld shooting was whether anyone made a sort of gyro stabilizer (similar to the small steadicam used with video / movie cameras) but that could be used for a DSLR in addition to the lenses’ IS. The main purpose would be to add more steadiness when you are shooting in a situation where a tripod would do the trick but tripods / monopods aren’t allowed (Top of the Rock, or most landmarks in New York for example).

I found a few low-tech solutions - such as attaching a string to the bottom of the camera and stepping on the string to keep it taut etc. But it seemed as if someone should have a small lightweight gizmo that you could stick in your bag for this purpose.


The Darkroom Days

2 March, 2001 (15:14) | No comments

I’ve really given up on the digital black and white printing. I guess I experimented with it for about six months. The results weren’t bad, but not the same tonal range as the darkroom stuff I’m doing. Also, the equipment, seems more finicky. The printer was working fine for a month or so, and then I started getting banding. I spent a lot of money on cleaning, using different inks etc. but for sure the results when you are doing a large print were not as good. This, does not seem to be the case for color.

Today I’ve been printing for a few hours, and I’m really banging them out. The secret, at least for me, is to keep very good notes, which is not really in my character, but I’ve learned the necessity the hard way.

And the Zone VI enlarger, which I’ve been using for ten years or so, has never failed. I guess the bulb will eventually need to be replaced, but that’s about it.