Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black and White Processing


This image is from a recent engagement shoot in San Francisco.
The image feels more dramatic and essential in black and white, rather than color. There is a unique formula I prefer using for most black and white conversions with digital images. It closely resembles the final effect of many hours of darkroom processing I used to do that using a special elon/acetone film developer with a selenium toner at the end. That combined with Agfa Portriga paper made for creamy rich skin tones and a warm tint on the photographic emulsion. It was a very labor intensive process however and the exposure to chemicals was not healthy at all! Now this image can be printed onto archival watercolor paper with archival inks (called GiclĂ©e), to have a lasting fine art print. It is not quite the same but has a quality and texture far beyond a normal lab print.  
Digital technology allows one to shoot more, and in a photojournalistic style without film costs, but the processing time can be very long sitting at the computer. Digital photography also requires expensive camera equipment with powerful computers and software which need to be constantly upgraded every few years. I miss my old medium format camera that was such a great workhorse that rarely needed upgrading, still I enjoy the advantages of the new technology and keep finding new ways to use it!

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