Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

  1. #1

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    This isn't so much of a question, but more of a vent, and to get feedback to see what others are doing. I'm getting started in Alternative Process, mostly Gum Bicrhomate and Cyanotype to start, but I imagine I'll be visiting other processes as well. I've started down the road of digital negatives, and thought I was on the good track with Mark Nelson's PDN, but then I've started reading more, and there are all these other processes. I'm sticking with Mark Nelson since I've already invested into the process. But, really, there's a few systems out there, and people who swear by all of them, probably since they "bought the book".

    What amazes me is how protective people are of information with patents and everything. Alternative process negative making can't be a hugely lucrative business. I'm not talented enough to sell any photography, let alone any alternative prints I might make. It just seems like a whole lot of protective behavior where there's not a lot of revenue. In some of my other interests, there's a lot more group activity to solve problems. In photography people seem so proprietary, and go it alone rather than look to a collaborative solution. Divide and conquer versus the controlling way. Maybe it's just the mentality of photographers.

    I'm not against someone trying to recoup on their efforts, not by any stretch. It just seems that with digital negatives that there's this mystique around the knowledge, and add to it the whole crossover from art to geekery. It reminds me of the early days of PC computing, and if you had a little knowledge, you could hold it over everyone else, since computers were such a mystery. Any more, things work off the shelf.

    Anyhow, just venting here. What's your experience with digital negatives?

  2. #2
    500+ Posts jon.oman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Summerville, SC, USA
    Posts
    988

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    I might be making my first one by the end of the month.

  3. #3
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, United States
    Posts
    5,744
    Blog Entries
    7

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Doug:

    There are resources for digital negatives that do not require you to purchase a software package. Mike Ware's website is an example. Christopher James' book also can help to get you there. There are articles on the AlternativePhotography.com website. In my opinion, the learning curve for successful digital negatives is pretty steep, and requires rigorous record keeping and testing procedures. For this reason, I find that Mark Nelson's systematic approach is very helpful. It is not difficult to make a digital negative that makes a nice print. It is something else again to optimize the process for your own coating method, light source, paper, etc. By optimize, I mean that a person can make a negative that will print the full range of tones available to the process, and that the print will express the precise intent of the artist. I think that the bottom line is that we each must go through the testing process ourselves, and that there is no shortcut to success.

    The processes that require a contact negative and a uv light source are so diverse, and the equipment varies so much that a negative that works well for me may not work at all for you, even with the same process. The artists that use these processes display different ways of working. A gum printer that builds up many layers of pigment does not require as perfect a negative as the worker in platinum/palladium, whose materials are very expensive, and whose process is capable of amazing subtlety in one exposure step. I have a whole collection of Photoshop curves from various sources, but none of them are optimized for my processes and my artistic intent. For this reason, I need to test and test and test until I develop what works for me. Anything that can get me there quicker and with less wasted materials is OK with me.

  4. #4

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Thanks Earl. That helps. Being new at this part of the game makes me a little wary that I'm going to head down the wrong fork in the road. It's also a little frustrating when people who teach this put their support behind something, then you read them using something else in a forum somewhere. I am very wary of endorsements any more.

    Anyhow, onward and upward. Have a house repair to do, then back to work on negatives.

  5. #5
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Posts
    1,810

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Hi Doug-
    I've been using the Ratio Curve method as outlined/described by Clay Harman on the alternative photography site. It's so easy, and the results have been so spectacular I highly recommend it. I realize you've invested in the PDN system but you owe it to yourself to try this method. the only thing to be careful of is how the layers are stacked with the curve, inversion, and color screen applied. Once you get that down, i just put them all in a layers folder in PS and drag them into the different images I'm outputting. It makes everything so much easier. Check it out here: http://www.alternativephotography.com/wp/negatives/digital-negatives-color-ratio/comment-page-1

    Happy New Year everyone!

  6. #6

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Tom,
    In the article attached to your link in step 9 the author says, "Print the negative using the same prints settings outlined in the Schreiber article", the link for the Schreiber article doesn't work. Can you post here the print settings you are using.

  7. #7

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Thanks Tom, I read through that, and it definitely looks simple. I'll be trying different things in the coming weeks to see how it all works out for me. First lets see if this LED UV lightbox is going to work...

  8. #8
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Posts
    1,810

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Chris- yes, i'll copy my settings and post tomorrow morning. to be honest, i dont recall the mention of the schreiber article! i must have skipped that part! but it worked great anyway

    Doug- what is an LED UV lightbox... you have my curiousity piqued!

  9. #9

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    Tom. I'm experimenting with UV LEDs as a light source for exposing alternative process prints. I started a thread here:

    http://f295.f295.org/uploads/Blah.pl?m-1292385193/

    I've got all the parts, and I'm hoping to do some testing of the LEDs this weekend. Basically I took the idea I saw with what people did with fluorescent lights, and adapted it with LEDs. They're coming up in power, and dropping in price. Hopefully it works! I'll be posting in the thread linked above as I get results.

  10. #10
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    Posts
    1,810

    Digital Negatives.... Sheesh

    just checked... looks great! thanks for sharing it - i can't wait to see more.

    on the subject of digital negatives, there's also the free ChartThrob photoshop script. I just used it for the production of paper negatives and while it wasn't perfect the first time it got me very close (in 1 print!) and perfect on the 2nd. here's a link: http://www.botzilla.com/blog/archives/000544.html

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •