Thursday, May 15, 2014


This is a scanned image from one of my darkroom prints.  The original print is a 11x14 and it was selenium toned and dry mounted before scanning.  There is always a lot of noticible dust and image quality lost with the scanning process.  The scanned image usually requires a lot of work in Photoshop to get it to look close to the quality of the original.  I also work with a fluid mount scanning process of my large format negatives.  It renders a better image quality but still requires a lot of work to process the image to get the final image.  When working with Black and White images, controlling the contrast (tonal range) and tonal balance (evenness of tones) is one the most important part of the process.  In this image the light is contrasty and uneven.  The subject is defined by the shapes and shadows on the sand.  The low angle light is both direct and reflective creating a difficult image to balance the tones. Back in my darkroom days when I was close to a having a finished print I would always flip the wet print upside down on my viewing board to look for the overall tonal balance of the print.  I found that looking at the print this way let me focus on just the tones and not the subject matter of the image.  I could easily see where I needed more dodging or burning to the print to help balance the overall look of the final image.  I still do this as a final step with my Photoshop work today.  I process the image using numerous tools and layers to get a satisfactory image and then as a last step I rotate it 180* to check the overall tonal balance to the image.  I am usually surprised how out of balance the inverted image can be. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Face in a wall

While hiking in a remote canyon in Big Bend Texas I came across this demon face in a rock wall. I could have easily past by and not have noticed the twisted face looking at me.  It was when I took a rest in a shaded alcove that I saw the image starring at me from from across the narrow canyon.  Hiking alone in the wilderness can sometimes be a soul searching experience.  Walking in the quiet desert where the only sound is the crunch of the gravel under your boots can clear your mind of unwanted thoughts.  Sometimes certain canyons have a strange feel to them that is hard to explain. This particular canyon was one of those and after sitting across from this face for several minutes I had an uneasy feeling and decided to move on.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Gleeson Ghost Town

In a remote area of Cochise County in southern Arizona is the old mining town of Gleeson.  It was once called Turquoise because of beautiful turquoise stone that was mined by the Indians for trade.  Later the area was mined for copper and silver and the town had a population of 500 people.  When the mining ran out the town died and became a ghost town.  Gleeson is like many old mining towns in the West with a erie quietness surrounding it.  It is always fun to locate these remote old mining towns and look at the old buildings and equipment that has been abandon for years.  This photo is of the old Gleeson Saloon, one of the few buildings left standing in the town.  I use a few filters in Photoshop to give the image a look and feel of an abandon building found in a remote ghost town.,_Arizona