One of the good things about this blog is that it helps me keep current with photos. In the past I’ve tended to just take photos and not do much with them. A few made it onto the website, and a very few made it into prints, but most just languish away in negative sleeves or on CD’s or DVD’s.
I’m working on a new project that has me looking back through some old files. I’m not looking for pictures of trees per se, but stumbled into many while looking through old CD’s.
These are more or less the tip of the iceberg – there are note books and folders inches thick filled with negatives that need to be culled and worked with.
I was initially drawn to some fall color shots, and then to photos of trees in general.
The dead branch on the tree in the color shot detracts from the image a bit. But overall, I like how the light plays on the huge tree, and the early autumn colors in the scrubby vegetation behind it. As with many of my shots, that was taken in the Allegan Game Area, near the large parking lot where Swan Creek flows into the Wildlife Refuge.
A couple of the black and white shots represent some experimentation with exposure and development. The leaves of a big maple – another shot from Allegan – take on a light, luminous effect, almost like infrared. In this case though it’s the result of using an X1 green filter – the green having the effect of lightening up the foliage. The tree was standing at the corner of two small roads that run through the game area, and much darker green pine trees were behind it. The green filter can have a startling effect when the color of foliage is just right, and this is one good example of that.
The two shots of old oak trees represent and experiment with development processes. Those shots were both taken on Agfa APX 100 film, and then developed in Dektol – a paper developer that historically was used as a film developer as well (D72.)
Dektol is an extremely fast acting, high contrast developer. To compensate for that I use a fairly dilute mixture – 1:5 stock to water – and develop at a very cold temperature, about 60F. Even then, development times are short – I aim for 6 to 7 minutes. I also go very light on agitation – just two or three inversions of the tank during the development process.
The Dektol can result in a really pleasing tonal range – but then it can also ruin your negatives. In this case I liked how it captured the direct rays of the sun hitting the huge trunk of the old oak tree. Unfortunately the trees (there were a few huge old oaks there) were surrounded by much smaller trees and scrub, making it almost impossible to get a shot of them in their full glory. So – a more intimate shot of the massive trunk was the best to be done under the situation.
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