Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Experimenting in the Darkroom.

With another set of negatives I took, I wanted to combine my street photography idea with nature, so included this in the background/location similar to Jonda Spurbeck's photo shoot of a women in a wedding dress (included on my pint rest and my mood board), although a different garment to show off because of what props were available. I also wanted to try put the studio lighting in college to try out some portraiture and close-ups similar to William Klein's (also included on my pint rest and mood board), my model had a variety of piercings which I could choose to focus on and photograph as the advertised accessory and they would work well as a close up in the studio because no background would distract what i am trying to get the viewer to focus on. I thought she would also be a good subject to take outside because because of the stereotype of people with dreadlocks liking nature and the outdoors, the smoking helped for a relaxed effect/mood in the photographs which would help promote the accessories because it gives off this impression that they are capable of doing this.
Here is my contact sheet, from previous experience I know to use light 16 for the strongest contrast which I like because it looks harshly effective and not faded along with the filter being put up to 5, a timing of around 15 works well but athirst some of the smoking ones came out too light, above is my second attempt where I timed 18 seconds, they still look quite faint but any higher the other photographs would have become over exposed.
One of my favourite compositions, test strip to see the appropriate exposure for the outside photographs, light 16, each different shade a second in difference, lightest being one and darkest being 11. On the darker side I can see that the print would have looked good with more exposure because the contrast was lacking here.
 Second test strip, the different win exposure of each shade this time was 3 seconds, I thought that 18 woke best so for each of my outside photographs that weren't effected by the sun I used this timing on light 16 and 5 filter.
Test strip for my studio photographs, because of the light shining on the face, they needed more exposure time, keeping my light on 16 and filter on 5 I exposed each section 3 seconds in difference again, the appropriate timing was 22 seconds.
One of my favourite compositions, shows off the nature and also her hair and lipstick which I could incorporate to part of the 'product', the timings worked perfectly to create the right contrast, next time I could do a similar shot of her perhaps in the middle of the composition.
I wanted to see how the smoke effect came out in my photographs so I chose to print this one, I like how the mist creates a relaxed and eerie mood with the stillness.
Vignetting is reduction of the brightness/contrast around the edges of the photograph in photography, leaving the centre developed and a plain or less exposed outline, the vignette can be any shape but I chose to use a circle because it would work well when creating a softer looking blurred effect and a harsh, exact circle.
To do this -
1. I simply cut out a circle from a black piece of card, to create an equal shape, I folded the card in half and cut a semi-circle.
2. Secondly, using the appropriate timings, to create the vignette, I put it over my chosen photograph, using a sheet of glass to keep it flat if needed so that there were no blurred edges when trying to create the harsher vignette, I expose it normal like this so just the circle shape comes out on the photograph.
3. To achieve a blurred effect, instead of using glass and placing my template down, I held it slightly above (about 10cm) from the paper that I was exposing and wiggled it around keeping in fairly in place for the circle to still be visible but be blurred whilst the paper is being exposed.
 Firstly I tried the blurred effect on this photograph to focus on her rather than so much of the nature. I like it because it sat there very subtle, not taking over the image but bringing it forward and making it more interesting because it wasn't just a regular print.
 When trying the harsher effect, I thought the portraits in the studio would work better because there is already harsh contrast between her clothing, the shadows and the white back drop. The scratch son this print are from the glass because it was scratched, minus this I thought this was effective, event hough the top half was blank anyway, It still kept her sitting forward without looking too like a plain circle because of the blending at the top.
I liked this effect and plan to use it in future photo shoots I plan to take, particularly on portraits and close up compositions on the figure/face because it helps to shows profession and help them stand out as different, also can match and fit the mood of the compositions.
I tried the blurred effect on the same photograph, focusing on just her face this time so it was very portraiture like and almost framed, I think it worked well but not as well as the harsh effect because that matched the dramatic contrasts better.
Highlighting an area of Interest
Using coins, I highlighted parts of my photographs by -
1. Using the appropriate exposure time I had figured out I halved it on the timer.
2. I then exposed my paper normally for this amount of time.
3. Keeping the paper very still I placed coins in appropriate place on the paper and exposed it for the second half of the time.
 I chose to put the coins here because I thought that the part of interest was the piercings but the coins were to big for this so instead I would make a pattern on the clothing with circles, it was too dramatic and I didn't like it at all because it took away the purpose of my photographs, and also looked too random and uncomposed.
I tried to put the coins on the face for the piercings and the hair here but I thought the same of it as I did my first attempt.
Feeling no influence I didn't do anymore of these and moved on to the next experiment.
Press Printing
1. For this, once the image is exposed instead of putting into the developer, I put objects relating to the composition in the developer and placed them onto the exposed images so the developer sinks on from their shape whilst they are being pressed, the developing time can sometimes take longer than when it is put straight into the liquid because fit needs to sink in.
2. Once done I put it straight into the stop and then fix as usual.
I chose to use a comb because ever hair is one of the elements which I want to show off so it relates to this, the effect also looked like blinds which created a relaxed mood matching her facial expression, I moved it around pressing it on the paper more than once so I could fill the paper and composition to make it more interesting. The tones made it quite subtle yet effective and looked like they had movement and were flowing well together.
 Above is my favourite, using the comb again I overlapped it to make it more busy this time, also to develop most of the face so the tones come through, to relate to her piercings I also included some ear stretchers because ever ear is stretched, I used 5 of them and although I liked the idea they didn't come out that clearly because they sloped so their whole shape couldn't clearly be pressed onto the paper. Also when moving them I created lots of droplets of developer which gave them a random splatter effect which contrasted to the relaxing theme with the 'blinds'. I liked it because it really worked with her face compositionally because of her glance matching the direction of the comb, the splatters making a faded and drooping effect, also because the combs were clearer in this composition. WHen looking at it further, I can relate it to splatters of blood from piercings and connect the sharp ends of the stretchers to this.
 For this growl of anger, I cut out shattered looking shapes from card and placed them onto my paper whilst it exposed, almost a reverse of pressing wet card onto my paper which I also wanted to try. I liked the idea but this looked too simple.
I complicated it more and gave it more layers by halving the exposure time, placing the shapes around as I had done before and them without moving the paper, I moved the bits of card to a different position  so that an almost see through effect happened to them and they overlapped each other and created different tones and exposures. I liked it because it looked like she has shattered the glass and was appropriate. The composition could have looked better if she was directly in the middle of it because her gripping hand is unclear in this one.
Cropped it to focus on just her face, worked better to show just the expression and sharpness of the shapes.
Here I went back to the actual press printing. I wanted to reverse the cracked effect so I put the pieces of card in the developer to then place them onto the paper to develop leaving the cracks unexposed instead. Where some part soy the card had pressed down more than others to develop more, shades were created like droplets which I liked because they were relaxed like her expression, and contrasting well with the glass and angered effect which I choose this photograph for so that it looks like it is hiding deeper emotion or meaning.
I may come back to press printing, particularly for the glass and shattered effect because of the emotion link it has with the chosen photograph and how it gives it a good effect, although it can take away part of the image and garment/accessory in fashion photography because the change and distortion to the original could take away some important detail.
Even if the desired effect is achieved int arms of exposure and contrast, sometimes the negatives and shot themselves can have parts of the photograph in the composition that are too dark. Dodging is when  with an object held or using your hands you can cover part of the photograph whilst it is exposing so that it doesn't get exposed as much as the other part of the photograph so we are not drawn straight to a darker part rather than the actual photograph.
1. First of all, you can make a dodger by using paper to create an end of what looks like a rod, cut out to a circle shape, size of your choice and attach it to the end of some wire so you can hold it directly above the part of the picture to want to dodge.
2. I did it myself with my hand, the same as if I were using the dodging tool, I had to keep moving my hand similar to how I moved the paper for creating the vignette. This is so the shape of my hand isn't directly seen on the final print.
3. When dodging, I didn't do this movement for the whole of the exposure time, I did it every 3-4 seconds and only for around a second each time I did it so I'm not blocking the exposure from the light completely.
On this print I had developed earlier, I noticed that the corner where a shed was and her dark clothing linked, their dark colouring was difficult to differ so it was a good subject to dodge.
 My first attempt worked a little bit but not well enough, I dodged about twice for a couple seconds during the 18 second exposure.
My second attempt I dodged as I explained before and it worked better, the shed was lighter allowing us to see her arm better so it was overshadowed.
This technique will come in handy for future reference when my photographs contain a darker part like this one.
The opposite of dodging, this is when there is a lighter part of the image that needs exposing for longer than the other parts of it.
1. For burning, I used a template similar to my one for the vignette, so that I could cover the other parts of the photograph that didn't need extra exposing.
2. I only held it there for around a second and also allowed a lot of time for the other parts to expose.

Her hair was too light compared to the rest of the photograph so I decided to burn it.
I increased the exposure time on a whole because of how it was reduced by the burning covering it, it successfuly printed her hair much more clearly with more contrast.

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