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Printer Attic Posts

2 years old!

Hurrah! Happy birthday to me?! Yes, two years ago I published the first real post on this blog and I have been publishing articles related to analog photography on a not-so-regular schedule ever since. When I started out I was planning on making it only about making wet prints, then I did some on film and then the entire plan derailed with a camera review, book reviews, home made dark cloths and some brainy stuff. Nevertheless, it has been a fun ride so far and I hope you will excuse my lack of focus to one topic completely. What’s up…

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A custom made dark cloth

Focusing a view camera in bright daylight can be as much as a pain as in low light conditions, when light directly hits the ground glass. The lower contrast that it causes, makes the image on the ground glass hard to see and focusing a pain. A good dark cloth is in my opinion not a luxury, but a necessity. There are probably plenty people that disagree with this statement, however. Some prefer no dark cloth at all, or use a black t-shirt instead. If you are in the market for a dedicated dark cloth there are currently three popular…

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The developer decomposed – Part 1: Developing agents

You only need to open up a search engine and look for any film-developer combination, to find that there are as many preferences for specific combinations as there are people using them. Some prefer a pronounced grain and harsh contrast, while others want smooth gradation and tonality combined with minimal grain. Some may get away with a ‘thin’ negative, while others need considerable density for their further processing. But what is it that makes all these developers give different results, while the basic principles are the same? In this three part series on developers, I will cover the principles of…

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Bag review: F-Stop Ajna

Camera bags. We all have (at least) one and there are always reasons to complain. I started out with a Lowepro Flipside 200, which soon became too small to fit my gear. It also was not watertight and didn’t come with a rain cover. Living in the Netherlands, I ended up remedying that by adding a Osprey XS rain cover as a backup. Then came the Domke F-2 Original. I had been eyeing this bag ever since I started. I looks the part in my opinion, gives quick access to cameras and lenses, and doesn’t scream ‘camera bag !’ to…

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Spreadsheets for photography and printing

I am a nerd. So, I said it. To ease the workflow I sometimes spend some time creating Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that aid in the field and in the darkroom. Below you will find an overview of the spreadsheets that are available. It will be regularly updated. If you find bugs or errors, let me know, so that I can fix it! Print margins I use a four bladed printing easle (Photon beard) that allows free choice of print margins. This spreadsheet aids in determining the right margins so that the print is aligned in the right corner, while maintaining…

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My first steps in large format photography

For years I have been saying that I will either buy or build my own large format camera, but the total cost of a 4×5 system consisting of camera and enlarger always put me off. Until now. A few weeks ago, I acquired a Toyo 45A in very good condition which came with a Rodenstock Sironar-N 150 mm lens and a few sheet film holders. About a week later, I picked up a complete Durst Laborator L1200 in Amsterdam and two weeks after that I made the first prints of my first ever 4×5 sheets. In this post, I will…

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Travelling with film: the field test

Dressed in uniform, wearing latex gloves and with a never smiling face, the security officer at the airport tells you to take off your shoes, empty your pockets and put everything containing metal or electronics into a tray and put it on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed while you step through the bloody body scanner. If you are like me, this means that you have to open up that camera bag and put it in a tray. And this is where the worries that keep you up at night start. Should you ask for a hand check? The security officer…

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Book review of “A textbook of photographic chemistry” by D. John and G. Field

In my crusade to learn more about photographic chemistry I visited the US, UK and German versions of Amazon’s second hand scene and went on a book buying spree. One of the books that I purchased is “A textbook of photographic chemistry” by D.H.O. John and G.T.J. Field, which was published in 1963. I bought my copy from Amazon.de for less than 9 euros in okay condition. The binding is reinforced with clear tape, the dust cover is missing and it contains some markings, but nothing that spoils it from being a decent read. Although it may be annoying to read…

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Reciprocity failure: the science

Lately I have been playing with the idea of trying some long exposures on film or direct-positive paper, but reciprocity law failure complicates shots that need much longer than a second of exposure. To explain why, answer the following question. When you close down the aperture by one stop, you can compensate for this by lengthening the exposure time by how much? … It probably didn’t take long to realize that you simply double the exposure time. However, chemical processes ongoing in the emulsion during exposure, makes the response deviate from the reciprocity law for very short or long(ish) exposures. In this article, I will introduce these processes…

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Book review of K.I. Jacobson’s ‘Developing – The negative technique’

As it says on the about page of this blog, I am an engineer and scientist and rather technically inclined when it comes to my photography. Especially when it comes to my analog photography, and photo chemistry is a large part of that indeed. On advice of a member of the dutch ‘Analog Only’ facebook group, I purchased ‘Developing, the negative technique’ by K.I. Jacobson and R.E. Jacobson (ISBN 0 240 44770 0). Specifically, I got the eighteenth revised edition that was printed in 1976. I ordered it from a secondhand dealer via Amazon.de for €3,86 including shipping. A real steal if…

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