Dark-Room Texts

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by harry_belcher, Jan 6, 1999.

  1. Can anyone suggest a suitable book for me on B&W dark-room
    techniques?
    I consider myself a borderline "intermediate"/"red-run" printer.
    I do not want to read another book about types of enlarger.
    Although reasonably mathematically minded, I would rather not wade
    through a detailed account of "Dmax".
    As a surgeon, information that does not alter my practice is fairly
    irrelevant. Tips and hints are, however, invaluable. The same
    applies to photography.
    I am familiar but inexpert with the basic toning techniques.
    I use split-contrast printing but without finesse.
    How does one adjust the basic "correct" exposure at contrast-2, to
    take account of using contrast 3.5 and 0.5?
    Why 3.5 and 0.5, why not 4 and 1, etc....
    Is there a mathematical relationship or is it trial and error?
    How best to plan test-strips?
    And so on. Many may have passed through this stratum/level and I
    would be very grateful for suggestions about suitable reading.
    Or, is it just practice?
     
  2. It's partly practice. I personally quite like Ansel Adams' book "The
    Print", and have both early and recent editions. Assuming you can
    find it in a bookstore have a browse, I found a good deal of useful
    information on controlling contrast with water bath development,
    toning and so on.

    <p>

    You may have to go somewhere large in the UK to find it, I think I
    got mine in London - what's that place close to Leicester Square that
    has everything on a million floors and completely disorganised? (Live
    in the USA now and it was a while ago..)
     
  3. Split contrast printing may be more of a hassel than it is worth! As
    a busy professional my self, I have limited time in the darkroom and I
    believe in KISS. I have a lot of other interests that I am developing
    in anticipation of retirement(not to mention I just remarried last
    year). I have in the past developed techniques that are time
    efficient. Once I retire in a few years, I will have more time for the
    darkroom.

    <p>

    One technique that can dramatically improve the look of your prints,
    with not a lot of additional time in the darkroom, is selective
    bleaching. Bruce Barnbaum is a master of this technique. Although I
    have not been to Barnbaum's darkroom work shop, three members of my
    club have been and they learned a lot!

    <p>

    I have adopted the Ilford archival processing system to save time. In
    the past I used RC papers to reduce darkrom time, but I am now moving
    back to FB papers to get the additional print quality. Selenium toning
    is easy and only adds 5 minutes to your processing train. Despite the
    general wisdom that Ilford papers don't tone well, I find the increase
    in D-max with MG FB papers gratifying.
     
  4. I'm waiting for Barry Thornton's darkroom book to be published by
    Creative Monochrome. If it is anything like his earlier 'Elements' it
    should be fascinating reading. Even if I never _use_ any of the
    techniques to their potential!
     
  5. I agree with the recommendation on "The Print". Also, I have
    recently gotten Tim Rudman's book "The Master Photographer's Printing
    Course" which (although I'm only a little way into it) seems to be a
    good, helpful text on the subject. Lots of expanitory text, pictures
    and appendicies with formulas as well.

    <p>

    Good Luck.
     
  6. I agree with the choice of "The Print" by Adams, and I would
    also recommend Tim Rudman's book "The Master Photographer's
    Printing Course". I have recently gotten the book based on
    some recommendations I got on the rec.photo.darkroom newsgroup
    and although I have not finished it yet I feel I can recommend
    it also. Text + pictures in main body plus formulae (proper
    plural?) & math conversions/calculation in appendicies.
     
  7. I have this book John Hedgecoe's workbook of darkroom techniques.

    <p>

    Very illustative and to the point. Great for hands on person and it
    got a few handy table at the end.

    <p>

    the ISBN 1-84000-002-3 it cost about 10 UKP
     
  8. Jonathan Bartlett's 'Black and White Printing Workshop'. Stu
    Williamson's 'From Concept to Print'.
     
  9. Harry, here are some books that are a bit out of the main stream, but which I have found very interesting and helpful:
    The Darkroom Cookbook,Stephen G. Anchell,Focal Press. An excellent source for anyone working in the darkroom,clear,concise,highly reccommended.
    Post Exposure, Advanced Techniques for the Photographic Printer,Ctein,Focal Press. Things you won't see written about anywhere else.
    Creative Elements,EddieEphraums,Amphoto Books. Although most of his examples start with 35mm his information is first rate for anyone working photography.Lots of stuff about toners, bleaches and VC papers.
    The Photographers's Master PrintingCourse, Tim Rudman, Reed Consumer Books, Ltd, UK.This and the Ephrams book above are by Brithish photographers and it is apparent in their styles that they are comming from a different place (figuratively and literally). Their approaches are very different from Ansel Admans.
    The Book of Pyro, Gordon Hutchings. I like this book even though it is really about one thing only, pyro film developers. Gordon is pdrobaly more responsible for the rebirth of pyro developers than anyone else. If you have never used pyro I STRONGLY urge you to buy this book. My source is The Photographer's Formulary,P.O.Box 950 Condon,Mt.59806;800.777.7158. They sell not only books but all sorts of chemicals and equipment relating to photography. Please try Gordon's own formula PMK, I use it with Ilford Fp4+, it's my absolute favorite.
    Good luck and happy reading.
    Steven Willard--jswill@aol.com
     

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