Another black and white image from my print archive today. Click here to read an earlier post to learn how these have been digitized.
Click on any image to see a better and sharper enlargement.
This Image was taken about 40 years ago on the edge of Derwentwater near Keswick in the English Lake District. Rowing boats (or Skiffs as they are called), were drawn up on the shingle edge of the lake, readily available for hire at small jetties. It was late afternoon and the sun was delineating the shape of the skiffs. In the distance, towards the far side of the lake there was a small Sail Boat. A chance finding, but without the balance and tension that that small patch of white provides, the print is incomplete.
Back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s there was a vogue for producing Lith Prints. At its simplest level this was a technique to reduce a full-toned black and white print to one containing purely black and white tones. Here is the Lith version of the straight print seen above from my print archive.
The Lith process was time consuming, It involved printing the original negative onto lith film (usually onto 6 x 6cm film – the old two-and-a-quarter square) to obtain a Lith Positive. The Lith Positive was then contact printed onto another sheet of Lith Film to produce a Lith Negative from which the final print was then made. At each step the film had to be processed like any other film. And dried. The tricky part of the process was controlling the tone threshold: one side of which everything was rendered black and the other side white. A bit of trial and error, and test strips, was involved to retain the right amount of detail in the final image.
In the Digital Era you save several hours of work! In Photoshop it’s a simple matter of Image / Adjustments / Threshold and play with the slider. Simple! And below is the Digital re-working of the original image seen top of Post.
Hard to spot the difference but the Digital version has a little more subtlety to it, the darkroom version being a little more ‘chunky’ in the way the ‘threshold’ has been rendered.
And the moral of this story: those of you who have never worked in a darkroom have no idea how hard we had to work to achieve results that in the digital era are obtained in a few seconds. Sob! Sob! But the sense of achievement in those dark days was massive when you got it right!