Scaning Negatives

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Bill LaMorris, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Bill LaMorris

    Bill LaMorris TPF Noob!

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    I am not attempting to be critical, but I am surprised at how many people shoot black and white film and then scan the negatives. I am assuming that this so they can be used in photo shop or some other computer program. With all due respect I would urge you to go the extra step and learn to develop and print in a traditional wet darkroom. With this extra step you are in total control of your image from the moment you decide on the film, the film developer and filtration on your camera, through the paper and paper developer, all the way through the matting. You may be surprised at how many ways you can manipulate an image through this process. In fact I am confident that I can produce images that can not be achieved in any other way, and can not be reproduced by digital means. I attend many photo exhibits and I can spot the silver gelatin prints at once. They stand out above the standard digital prints. This can be a good way to distingish your work from the masses. It takes very little room to set up a darkroom and set ups are cheap and numerous these days. I certainly am not trying to step on any toes, I am only trying to encourage more people to explore the many aspects of their art form. Bill
     
  2. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not everyone has darkroom access and they take up more room than some small apartments have to spare.

    Now if I had the space or access then I wouldn't mind doing it oldskool, but I just print for myself, for my own albums and walls, and scanning at 4500dpi (scanner can still go a little bigger) gives me a good enough print.

    Also, i'm still in total control.. not sure why you think we're not just because we're scanning. It's a different form of control, but still total.
     
  3. Bill LaMorris

    Bill LaMorris TPF Noob!

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    Very nice work! My first darkroom was a black cloth stapled to the wall above my kitchen sink. I have a friend that is a master photographer and printer that uses a 4 foot by 2 and one half foot closet. His work is some of the best I have ever seen.
    I would encourage anyone that is remotely interested to use their imagination when it comes to setting up a darkroom. Go for it!! The results will amaze you, and you may become hooked for life. Bill
     
  4. Bill LaMorris

    Bill LaMorris TPF Noob!

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    By the way I did not mean to imply that a person using computer programs had no control over their image, however they are limited by the program. I meant to convey that inspite of the perception of unlimited manipulation at the hands of photoshop or whatever your favorite program maybe. There are many more tools and techniques available to you in "oldschool" darkroom techniques. If you consider the available paper types and developers at your disposal, the combinations are almost limitless. If you consider alternative methods as well the results are limited only by your imagination. I strive to produce images that are unique. It is extremly important to me that my style and technique stand out from the masses. I am more interested in photography as an art form, and pursue it as such. Therefore I look for methods that will give me the most freedom to produce what I want to shoot. Jump into it try, toning, or split toning , try warmtone paper, cold tone paper, lith printing, cyanotype, ortho lith film , or any of the wealth of techniques at your disposal. Bill
     
  5. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless developing techniques have changed since I last developed film back in the early 80's, you do need access to running water to develop and print film, so with the exception of loading it into the developing canister, doing the entire process inside a closet isn't going to work.

    My home had only one bathroom and other family members did not appreciate hearing the words "don't come in right now!" I'm sure a lot of people who shoot film would like to deveop their own film too, but it's not always possible. What seems like an easy setup for one may be a real hardship for many others. Plus anyone with children or pets would have to be very careful with the developing chemicals if they used a general access room.
     
  6. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I understand what you're saying. I agree with you in many ways. I think if I were trying to show my work professionally, I might prefer wet prints. I used darkrooms around 15 years ago. It was fun, but to me a scanner and photoshop is just the modern version, without the darkness.

    The main reason I scan my negatives is so I can print myself without a darkroom, (and I think it's less expensive to make multiple small prints, photo paper's not cheap) but I also like to be able to share the pics online with friends, family, and forums... that and an empty 4x2' closet doesn't exist for me.. heh heh. As it is, I only have standing room in my closet to load my reels for developing. (too much stuff in there) I think later on, if I am ever able to afford my own house, I would like to have a darkroom in it, even just a nice size dark closet.
     
  7. domromer

    domromer TPF Noob!

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    I like the idea, but having to do multiple prints to get the right print is not my idea of fun. I'd rather make the adjustments in PS and print once.

    As much as I complain about spending to much time in PS it's nothing compared to the amount of time spent in the darkroom to get one good print.

    That being said I'm taking a medium/large format B&W class next semester. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
     
  8. Bill LaMorris

    Bill LaMorris TPF Noob!

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    I can relate to standing in the closet to load film. {LOL} I have been there. I did graduate to a changing bag, {found it on ebay for 5.00} and eventually built my own darkroom{ converted a spare bedroom}. Digital has taken over in the snapshot market and I am glad of the change. It is frustrating dealing with photolabs that have no idea how to develop or print. Computer scans are easy and fun to share.
    But when it comes to fine art photography I choose to step into the darkroom. I have always thought that the best part of shooting photographs was the printing process.{ I know that may seem strange but that is where the magic happens} Sometimes it may take multiple tries to achieve the result you want but I consider that part of the process, and embrace it { I am sure that sounds strange as well }. That brings up another difference between the two disciplines. In traditonal printing no two photographs are exactly the same. You can come very close but each one is unique in some way. That is pleasing to me. I would not wish to produce multiple clones of any of my images. If I were to go that route I could scan a high res photo to disc and produce Giclee prints etc. This would come in handy for comercial work like calenders or greeting cards etc.
    At any rate I do hear discusions along the same line between Bait fishermen and Fly fishermen. My thoughts are " To heck with it , lets go fish.} Bill
     
  9. McManniss

    McManniss TPF Noob!

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    Working in a darkroom is a wonderful thing, and I'm happy to say I still do it, but at the same time I am also one who scans my negatives as well. But for a lot of photographers, it might not be an option. I totally agree with your point that it gives you total control over your image and you can do all sorts of wonderful creative things in the darkroom.

    Back when i was in school I had countless hours of using a darkroom for free, but now that I'm out of school, my access to a darkroom is limited.
    I live in NYC, so I do have access to several public darkrooms, some who charge quite a bit of money per hour to use their facilities. I still go several times a year for a couple hours and crank out some prints, and its still one of the happiest times for me to work like that.

    Also in NY State there are certain laws forbidding toning and it is mandated by the Dept. of Environmental Protection.

    Each of us has an option of how they want to make prints, for some all options are available, to others only a few.
     
  10. Bill LaMorris

    Bill LaMorris TPF Noob!

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    How interesting. I had no idea that there were restictions on the use of toners. If you have the time I would be interested in a brief acount of the restrictions. Types, disposal, etc. Thanks Bill
     
  11. Bill LaMorris

    Bill LaMorris TPF Noob!

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    I have noticed a common thread in the replies, and that is reasons why not to use a darkroom. I hope that I have given some ideas and insperation in why to use one. Not everyone can of course. But the truth is they do not take up a lot of room, they are not expensive, the chemicals are not anymore dangerous than what is under your kitchen sink, they allow more creativity, and produce unique and lasting images. My point is that it is easy to make work and can open up a whole new world for you. Go for it. Bill
     
  12. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    running water is of course great, however, one does not have to have running water at your finger tips to develop film. Everything can be done in the light once the film is in the tank, which means that you will only need to provide enough water for mixing the chemistry, and then for washing. If you use ilford's washing methods that means fillling and dumping the tank which can be done in a kitchen or a bath room and takes very little time.

    running water is great in a printing darkroom, but here again, with a little imagation you can work around that.

    with that said, there is a certain joy about traditional processes that is hard to explain and even after working in a darkroom for 60 years, the magic of watching that print appear has never gotten old.

    on the other hand, on occassion i do scan negatives and print them out as i am learning more about high end inkjet printing and it is a good way to learn.

    They do have a different look, is one better than the other; that is a personal thing. maybe yes, maybe no. MOre and more it is about the image alone, and different methods bring about different visions, and for that reason IMHO, i think serious photographers would be better served by learning traditional process as well as digital. Each has it own personality
     

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scaning photo negatives