Tips & Techniques page 2


The place for "show and tell," to learn "how to,"  find ideas and maybe a secret or two... 

Everything has been thought of before.  The hard thing is to think of it again...


This is the second installment to our first article "Imagination" by Jim Pittman, a Life Member of the Twin City Camera Club, This one is "Ideas - and how they were done" and Jim takes us through the processes of how he created these wonderful images.


This is a Show and Tell way to help fire up your imagination, get your creative juices flowing and hopefully generate some fun while you are at it.  Thanks go out to Jim Pittman for sharing his world.  He's good people.  Your webmaster...


                             IMAGINATION # 2    


By Jim Pittman

Your imagination is still one of your best tools for photography.

In a time of Photoshop, Elements, Paint Shop Pro and a host of other image manipulation programs, it’s good to know that imagination is still one of the best tools you can have whether you’re into film or digital photography.

It doesn’t weigh anything, doesn’t cost anything, it is individualistic and it is always with you -- if you can remember to use it.  Even with all kinds of expensive equipment, you still have to be able to recognize a potential picture when you see it.  This has become significantly easier since the advent of digital cameras, scanners and Photoshop type programs, compared with multiple exposures and printing composite photographs with traditional film equipment. Whatever process it is that you use, don’t forget your IMAGINATION.




Traditional Camera, Film and the Darkroom



Half Cup of Coffee


Only want a half a cup this morning?



 For this image I used a plastic cup and saucer that I had cut in half with a saw.
Then glued clear plastic to the side of the cup and filled it with cold coffee.
Positioned it on the newspaper and used flash for the lighting.




Egg Beaters



First I found an old fashion Eggbeater (above) and used three eggs.  Then into the darkroom where I positioned the Eggbeater and eggs on a sheet of Black & White photo paper on the easel for the enlarger.  Then used the enlarger for the exposure and it created a shadow image by blocking the light exposing the photo paper. (Look Ma no camera.)   Then the photo paper was developed normally.  The shadow that showed up under and around the eggs was a surprise but I think it enhances the image.






Since I only wanted the hands and drum sticks to be visible, I covered both arms with a black cloth and then used a black background.  I positioned three flash units on stands with colored gels over them to separate and freeze the movements of the hands and drumsticks.  To fire the the flash units at the right times, I constructed a simple swivel switch with a small piece of fiber board and used some small bolts and a strip of metal that I could swivel to each bolt that was wired to the flash units to trigger them.  After everything was positioned, with the camera on a tripod focused and ready, I turned off the lights and tripped the shutter on "bulb".   While the drummer was doing a drum roll I set off each of the flash units moments apart.  Then closed the shutter and turned on the lights.  This was a lot more fun than using Photoshop.  Oh, that's right it hadn't been invented yet.








This is one from the "Imagination" article on Tips & Techniques page 1.  There I told you I used a setup for the dice coming out of the cup by using a sheet of glass and white paper.  Here is what the set up looked like.  The sheet of glass is supported between two chairs, white mount board is on the floor and in the back which is going to be illuminated by a flash from below.  The dice and cup are positioned on the glass and will be illuminated with a flash from above.  This eliminates any shadow and makes it appear that they were in mid air.




Mickey's  Delight



He posed nice when offered the right "Cheese" incentive.  This was a table top setup, shot on a black velvet background.







Here is another table top setup with a black velvet background.  I came up with this idea from seeing the mouse's red eyes in other pictures.  I positioned it in a red plastic cup to get the overall feeling of red.   Besides, I had to get my mileage out of the $1.25 mouse.




Kodalith  Derivations

KODALITH is a film that takes out the mid-tones and was used by the printing industry for making plates for printing.







This started with a monochrome negative with snow on the facility.  Then I printed the negative on Kodalith film to take out the mid-tones (which was a positive) and duplicated it on another Kodalith to make it into a high contrast negative for printing on paper.  This kept the snow white in the final print.  This was then printed on black & white photo paper into a 16x20 print.




Heavy Equipment



This was a color negative sandwiched with a Kodalith positive which gave it a three dimensional effect, especially to the tires.






This is a straight 16x20 monochrome print from a 35mm negative.


Kodalith contact copy of the B&W negative


Bass Relief

Kodalith positive was duplicated on another Kodalith and then
this was sandwiched with the original negative and printed.








Sunset  Fly-by

This was done with separate exposures on the same piece of 16x20 photo paper.


This one is also from the "Imagination" article on Tips & Techniques page 1.  The air show pictures,  barn with a windmill, and the sunset.  I made Kodalith copies of the negatives of the barn with the windmill and of the airplane.  I made a sketch on paper, taped it on the easel, to show where I wanted the images so I could line them up and focus between exposures.  Exposed the paper for the sunset, put the paper back in the paper safe, then changed to the negative of the barn, then the airplane to make multiple exposures using the same paper before developing the print.



These are Kodalith prints from color negatives.



In the Darkroom


Print 1


I had some color negatives of a garage that looked like a barn along with a windmill and some pictures taken at an air show of a biplane coming and going.  I copied these onto Kodalith film and then copied those to another piece of Kodalith.  I used the 35mm picture of a sun set over the lake.


Print 1 involved multiple printing on the same piece of 16x20 color paper.  Changing negatives and enlarger settings between each exposure.  Placement of each image involved sketching on a blank paper where each image was to go.  Putting the photographic paper back into the paper safe between each exposure, readjusting the enlarger height, refocusing, and changing exposure.   It took hours and hours to do one picture.




In the Computer and Darkroom


Print 2


Print 2 was done using scanned images from the original negatives of the barn, sunset and the Kodalith copies of the planes.  I combined the images on separate layers, modified the sizes and positions, then flattened the file and used a film recorder to make a 4x5 negative, which was then printed 16x20.  This did not take nearly as long and it was easier to have three planes in the picture. 




Danger  Mickey!



This was done by combining the pictures of the cat and the mouse.  I had lots of negatives of these two to scan and pick from.   The cat was already on a black background when I shot the picture.  I picked one of the mouse, isolated it and moved it into a layer in the file of the cat picture using Photoshop.  I then positioned them, resized it and flattened the image.  I then made a 4x5 negative and printed it as a 16x20.  Gotta love those large negatives and prints.



Digital Camera and Darkroom



“Da” Pond Boss




I found a red plastic frog and some old granny glasses that fit.  I set it up on green cloth so it would be easy to select the background and isolate the frog in Photoshop.  I did similar setups for the hat and being a dentist I had some models of teeth, which I shot with a digital camera.  The cigar and beer can were separate setups and shot with a digital camera.

Then using Photoshop, I erased the background clutter from the hat, teeth and cigar pictures so they were isolated and moved them all into one file on separate layers.  I added a black layer, resized and moved the separate layers around to get the final image. This was sent to the film recorder and exposed a 4x5 negative to print 16x20.

I used these same files to do another picture with three frogs, as you can see that I had the images in different positions on each layer.




You can see there are numerous ways that can be used to get the final picture.   All of these were based on using my imagination as to what I wanted the final print to look like.  I think it's interesting to see the processes and results of what it was before and how it's changed using digital imaging.  Whether you want to use film and the traditional methods in a darkroom or the new " Digital Darkroom",  you have to first imagine what you want and then experiment to get the final product.  It takes patience, but it is worthwhile.  The main thing is to enjoy it and make sure you have fun.

Your imagination doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t weigh anything and you have it with you all the time – you just have to remember to use it.




Your imagination is your most powerful tool.

Beginning with that premise, Jim Pittman presented the secrets behind his success as a print maker extraordinaire.
Jim discussed a number of excellent ideas on how to improve the impact level of your photos.
Along with putting your imagination to work, Jim offered these thoughts.

Look for contrasts - blue vs. red, yellow vs. blue, etc.
Look for the unexpected.
Look for detail.
Use leading lines and Diagonal compositions.
Use a polarizer to enhance color saturation and thus enhance the contrast.
In B/W, expose for the shadows to insure getting rich blacks as well as detail in the shadows.
In color expose for the highlights.
Pick your subject, then return to get the best lighting.  In other words, be there at the right time.
Try derivations, such as Solarizations, Composite Images, Multiple Exposures, etc.
Portray slang and expressions.

Most Important, Imagine, Plan, Execute.






Additional Tips & Techniques pages:

- IMAGINATION by Jim Pittman

- IDEAS – AND HOW THEY WERE DONE  by Jim Pittman - You are Here

- Test images used to Calibrate Monitors

 - TCCC Wildflower Fieldtrip Guides

- Surrealistic Image Enhancement with Elements 6.0

        - Do It Yourself Flash Projects by Ted Post



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