**Dispelling The Myth**
I hear it a lot. "Digital is easier.”
It is if you use an Iphone or auto everything camera, and do not use photoshop or lightroom to post produce and/or print your own images.
You never have to think about f/stops, depth of field, developing film and printing it. I think this is what Kodak was trying to achieve all along, and once it was, it ended their dominance in the industry.
Kodak still makes film and chemistry, but Kodachrome, the best film I ever used, has been gone a long time.
I think for the people that started with film, the transition may have been more difficult.
I have always been a slow learner.
Photoshop is not intuitive, and there is ten ways to achieve the same result. There are still many things I don’t know, but that’s a great thing too. You have a problem image and there is a way to resolve it.
In the film days, I practiced the zone system of exposure and developing. Ansel Adams created it, but Paul Caponigro had a unique version too. I practiced both. In a nutshell, expose for the shadows develop for the highlights.
You read the light with a meter, made the exposure, process the film, print it, tone it, flatten it, spot it, frame it.
When printing, you dodged and burned during the exposure of the negative onto the light sensitive paper. Dodging, is holding back light from hitting the paper, and burning is adding light to parts of the paper.
Dodging is done with handmade tools. I used different size circles taped to the end of a thin bicycle spoke.
Burning was done by forming your hands to the shape you need, to add light. Think of a projector casting light onto a wall and you are in between the two trying to form your hands to look like a rabbit.
I've experimented with different chemicals, toners, and bleaches. There is a lot of mystery and discovery to it.
When I was younger I spent 8 10 12 and sometimes 14 hour days in the darkroom. Loud music and something to drink was part of the process. A laboratory of fun. It is truly magic to see an image come up in the tray.
Digital is also fun once you have a decent knowledge of photoshop. With traditional darkroom printing, you dodge and burned during the exposure , and that was it.
Digitally, you can change a single pixel, and there are thousands of them in an image. That is a lot of control.
Working on an image now is more like painting. You can dodge and burn leisurely, take out something that might be bothersome in the image, make facial features more delicate. You can work on it for days, variate to black and white, add tone.
Digital papers are beautiful and theoretically the image should last as long as a properly fixed and washed silver print.
I think Ansel Adam’s would have loved the progression of the medium.
Here are the pros and cons:
1. Exposures have to be pretty accurate
2. You can’t look at the image you just shot.
3. You have to process the film
4. It can be sensitive to heat.
5. Film was limited to 12 exposures per roll.
6. You have a physical negative and something substantial for archiving.
7. Darkroom prints vary a little from print to print. I would always work on an image till I got it the way I wanted, and then make six.
1. It is more about capture than exposure. If you over or underexpose, you can correct it. This is also applies to color balance, and every concern.
2. You can shoot hundreds of images on a card.
3. No spending a day developing film, you simply download it.
5. You can work on an image as if it were a painting, saving it and coming back to it.
6. You can make many versions of the same image.
7. Once you get it the way you like it there is no variation from print to print.
8. You can make them very large, and they are as beautiful as a small print.
9. It is all electronic and you can easily delete a whole shooting session by hitting the wrong button. (I never use an sd card twice. I think of it as the cost of film and store the cards archivally.)
10. Electroncially you can lose everything.
11. I can not sit at the computer more than two hours.
Ok, that's all I got about. Questions?