Archive for the ‘ fine art photography ’ Category

In Morris County: New Flint Hills Landscape

In Morris County, 7x17 Contact Print

It was a busy Fall but I managed to squeeze one photo outing into the schedule. I had photographed this location before with the 8×10, but from that photo, I knew this scene was perfect for the 7×17. Not much had changed here in four years. Fortunately, the weather was good for this one day. Loaded up the trusty 7×17 into the trusty Ford Ranger pickup and off we went. The location is a few miles northeast of Strong City, Kansas.

A Black and White Landscape from Western Kansas

Monument Rocks #2

Monument Rocks #2

Monument Rocks, Gove County, Kansas. This is what black and white photography is all about. Taking the seemingly bland and lifeless and transforming it into an abstraction of tone and texture. This was taken in full afternoon summer sun. The shadow in the lower parts is from the adjacent rock formations.

This negative is what sold me on the new Kodak Tmax 400 film. Contrast range on the subject was extreme yet the main subject is very flat. Developed in Pyrocat HD with extreme minimal agitation. The negative came out very dense requiring split grade printing.

An 11×14 print of Monument Rocks #2 will be on display at the Emporia Artist Walk along with my Kansas Flint Hill landscapes.

Emporia Artist Walk & Flint Hills Landscapes

I will be located in the Pyramid Pizza building, 11 East 6th, downtown Emporia. The Emporia Artist Walk is Saturday, 18 April from 10 am to 4 pm.

With me at Pyramid Pizza will be Rachel Ferrara, a finely talented up-and-coming young photographer. Rachel is Fine Arts student at Emporia State University majoring in photography. I made this video of her senior project show last January.

I finished mounting the big Flint Hills prints. Quite the project to get that big triptych mounted. The final matted size is 40×20 inches. My Emporia  Artist Walk display will feature Black & White Flint Hills landscapes from Chase County, Greenwood County, Wabaunsee County, and Geary County.

Hope to see you at the Artist Walk.

On Road CR-2, Greenwood County

On Road CR-2, Greenwood County

Near Texaco Hill, Chase County

Near Texaco Hill, Chase County

Another Flint Hills Photography Fan

Discovered Terry Ownby’s photography blog today. Glad I did. Terry is a photography professor at University of Central Missouri. His latest post is about photographing in the Kansas Flint Hills and worth reading. In another recent entry, he discusses the use of the triptych from the classical point of view and its current use. Lot’s of good stuff on Terry’s blog.

A Different Look at the Flint Hills

On Road CR-2 Greenwood County

Near Texaco Hill, Greenwood County

Tully Hill Road, Geary County

Tully Hill Road, Geary County

Hard to believe that I haven’t updated this Blog since October. It’s been a busy year for everything except photography it seems. But, I haven’t been completely lazy.

My latest project on the Flint Hills makes use of multiple prints to form a panoramic display. Using two prints is called diptych (pronounced dip-tick). Using three prints is called a triptych (with similar pronunciation). (People with ArtSpeak  inherently know these pronunciations and meanings, but I was a farm boy and had to look them up.) Using this approach for panoramic landscape departs from the classic construction of a -tych. In the classic construction, each print may be entirely different yet the sum tells a story. I guess one could stretch that classic definition and say that the panorama tells a story about the landscape more adequately than single photographs.

For this technique, I use individual 4×5 negatives and make individual prints. After processing and drying, the prints are trimmed to match, then dry mounted on mat board.

Its really exciting to use multiple 11×14 prints. That brings the image up to a size that’s more in keeping with the feel of the Flint Hills. Using 8×10 prints for an 8×20 diptych or 10x 24 triptych is also nice. The 8×20 format is a standard banquet-camera size, the next step up from the 7×17 format that I use.

I’m participating in the Emporia Art Walk this year on Saturday April 18th. My goal is to have several of these panoramas on display and for sale. Hope to see you there.

A Slice of New York City

"The Apartments" Polaroid Type 809 print by David A. Goldfarb

My APUG friend, David A. Goldfarb, sent me this wonderful 8×10 Polaroid print. David is an accomplished photographer, University Professor, and prolific writer. I think David is one of the most knowledgeable persons on photography that I have known. He’s always trying something new, both visually and technically.

Sharing a love of working with Polaroid film, and celebrating its demise, we engaged in a Polaroid print exchange. I had sent him my 4×5 Type 52 print, “A Slice of Western Kansas” and now I have “The Apartments”, a slice of NYC, in return. David explains the photograph’s meaning in a note enclosed with the print. with the print.

“This print is one in a series of nine of four highrise apartment buildings known simply as “The Apartments” on traffic reports for drivers headed in and out of Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge. It was also the view from my window in Washington Heights, where we lived for about a year until the day this series was made. These are my last 8×10″ Polaroids.”

“Ted Harris offered this box of Polaroid Type 809 to anyone who offered a proposal to make good educational use of the film and I said that I would make images to be exchanged in the APUG Polaroid exchange and Traveling Portfolio, so that as many people as possible would have a chance to see or own an 8×10″ Polaroid print. I hope this fulfills his intention. After the Traveling Portfolio makes its full circuit, I plan to send the print to Ted’s widow, Amy Rafferty, as yet another reminder of Ted’s generous spirit.”

Ted Harris was a prominent US photographer who passed away, most untimely, earlier this year. I too had sent Ted a proposal for using the box of 809; David had a much better idea than I. I’m glad he got it and commend how he has used it.

Kansas goes to NYC; NYC goes to Kansas, all via Polaroid photography. Most gracious thanks David.

Tall Grass & Sky – Greenwood County

Tall Grass & Sky – Greenwood County   photo by Alex Hawley

Hard to believe that its been a month since I last posted. Its been busy. On Labor Day weekend, I loaded all the photo gear into the pickup and headed back to the Texico Hill area in the Kansas Flint Hills.  Went back on Road CR2 to view the area in the afternoon sun. The sky was mostly hazy but the haze cleared long enough to get this one on the 7×17 Folmer and Schwing. This one is the first in the series from that afternoon.

The more I use the 7×17, the more I like it. For what looks like a simple camera, simpler to use that the 8×10 Deardorff it would seem, the learning curve has been steep. You think after using 8×10 for several years that going to an Ultra Large Format (ULF) camera would be a breeze. Wrongo! Or, at least for me it wasn’t easy.

First, the F&S camera itself is quite literally, a hundred years old. F&S started as an independent camera maker in Rochester, NY. At the time mine was built, early 1900’s, they were owned by Eastman Kodak. Then, the Folmer Brothers patented a focal plane shutter for a 4×5 camera. Soon, the legendary Speed Graphic was born and F&S became known as the Folmer Graflex Company. The legacy of this company is still with us today, quite strongly, even though it ceased to exist nearly forty years ago. But that’s digressing from the point. A century old camera means a bellows of similar age which means never ending light leaks. Finally got that problem solved. Even though I have recoated the bellows, I still take special care to drape it with the darkcloth until I complete the exposure.

Developing the large negatives was another challenge. I thought I was smart and could use the brush development technique by inspection.  I had always developed my 810 film by inspection and didn’t think the 717 would be any different. Bought some relatively expensive hake brushes and proved to myself I could do it. Well, sort of.  Even though the negatives developed quite evenly, I was continually misreading them and underdeveloping. This sucks! Fate intervened and an old set of Beseler Unicolor drums and motor base came my way, which included a 16×20 drum.  Now I develop by time, in the daylight, and the negs come out probably better than I have ever gotten them before. Can’t say enough good things about rotary development. Uses a lot less chemicals too.

Then there was the problem of getting a contact printing frame. I quickly learned that 7×17 frames are custom built for several hundred dollars. On the other hand, 16×20 frames are plentiful and cost substantially less.  So I got a 16×20, which is four times larger and ten times heavier that the 8×10 frame I was used to. The 8×10 frame now feels like it’s for gurly-men.

So, essentially, photographing in ULF magnifies all the little gotcha problems by at least two orders of magnitude, and I haven’t even talked about having to cut down paper, loading/unloading film holders, or even purchasing film (which, let’s just call it “seasonal”). But, all those challenges withstanding, its still highly worth it.