Monday, 9 July 2018

A confession

I have a confession to make: I've had enough of Mr Blue Sky.  I'm longing for rain and clouds.  Well, maybe not the rain bit but the clouds, yes. I know in a few months I'll be regretting that statement but I find the current weather so unsuitable for the type of photography I like to do.  So I'm digging around in the negative files for something interesting to print:

Portstewart Strand, via the 'Blad.  Ilford Warmtone Fibre paper, 11"x14"

I'm also finding myself moving away from RC paper towards using fibre papers more.  Agreed there are some very nice RC emulsions out there - like Fotospeed VC Oyster, Adox MCP, Kentmere VC Select and Ilford Warmtone.  These all tone rather well and the short washing times are a real bonus - as is the cost compared to fibre paper.  But every time I use fibre paper - particularly the one used here, Ilford Warmtone - I find the prints are just so much nicer to look at. There's a depth, or subtlety to the tones that draws me in.

While we're at the confessions, there was a ton of spotting to be done on this print, which I haven't completed yet.  So I cleaned this one up using the power of software.

Monday, 2 July 2018

A wave of heat hits The Liberties

Yes folks it's official: there is a heatwave in Northern Ireland.  Not often I can write that, now, is it?  We've had the most clement weather since the start of May - temperatures reaching a heady 30 degrees the other day (86 degree Fahrenheit if you prefer) and very little rain.  As a result, we have a hosepipe ban in place - the first since 1995, apparently.  The upshot is that we're not allowed to use a hosepipe to water our gardens, clean our windows, wash our cars, or clean our boats (eh?).  Some rail services have been cancelled as the tracks are so hot they are in danger of buckling.  Things are, it would appear, rapidly descending into chaos.

The good people of The Liberties aren't used to this fierce heat - seriously, we're not.  We can (obviously) handle rain, wind and storms but heat? - no.  Tempers will flare.  There will be road rage and probably fights will break out over shopping trolleys.  We're in for a tough time until the weather breaks - which, I guess, will not be that far away...

Now the restrictions on water usage don't, surprisingly, make any mention of washing fibre prints in one's darkroom but it would be a tad irresponsible to do so at the minute.  So it might be RC prints for a while, I think.  Not that the darkroom is a particularly pleasant place to be in right now, mind you.  I did venture in the other day (just before the hosepipe ban came into effect) and the ambient temperature was well over the magic 20 degrees, so the chemicals were all a bit livelier than usual.  Still, I managed to get one print made - just to remind myself what clouds look like:

Sunset over Inishowen.  Ilford Warmtone Fibre paper, 11"x14"