Digital Negatives for Contact Printing on Gelatin Silver Chloride Paper

with Richard Boutwell and Paula Chamlee

 

QuadToneRIP is arguably the best option for making digital inkjet negatives because the tonal corrections for the process are built into the ink levels rather than using drastic correction curves applied to the digital image tones. However, there are downsides to the way QTR negatives have traditionally been created. It can be a time-consuming and error prone calibration process, which involves entering settings for the ink levels, partitioning information, and the correction curve and linearization information into a text file. To do well, there are a minimum of four printing steps, along with measurements, manual calculations, and Photoshop plugins or spreadsheet tools used in the linearization process, all of which can add up to several hours to several days to produce a good negative. I came up with a better way.

A NEW APPROACH TO Quad Tone RIP DIGITAL NEGATIVES

This workshop utilizes my QuadToneProfiler-QuickCurve-DN tools. This new system still uses the QuadToneRIP driver, but does away with all the complexity and manual calculation typically involved in the traditional QuadToneRIP curve creation process. 

The system is based on a special set of pre-defined media settings, a simple method for setting the ideal blocking density for a wide range of processes, and built-in linearization tools. 

This system is designed to remove the need for Photoshop scripts and adjustment curves, and creates perfectly smooth digital negatives for any process you want, from albumen to ziatype.

Location

The workshop will be held in Michael A. Smith’s and Paula Chamlee’s unique home and studio in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Michael passed away in 2018, but Paula is continuing their tradition of teaching with silver chloride contact printing paper, and now incorporating the use of digital negatives.

Schedule

Saturday 9:00AM–7:00PM and Sunday: 9:00AM–5:00PM This will be an intense 2-day workshop that will cover a lot of ground. It is designed help you to make better photographs—in the camera and in the darkroom—with confidence and renewed creativity.

Day One

Morning

Introductions and looking at Michael A. Smith’s and Paula Chamlee’s large format film contact prints for an understanding of the tonal qualities we will be using as a standard for the digital negatives.

We will then go into the darkroom to set up for the day and dive into the digital negative calibration and profiling workflow using the QuadToneProfiler-QuickCurve-DN Software where we will cover.

  • Darkroom layout, best practices, and mixing chemistry from bulk chemicals

  • Find correct exposure for maximum black with room for creative adjustments in the exposure and development

  • Establish the needed blocking density for your process and install the initial quad curves

  • Print and measure the linearization target with workflows for different devices: i1 Pro/ColorMunki/SpyderPrint, flatbed scanners, and manual densitometers

  • Use the QuickCurve-DN’s built-in linearization tools, and iterative linearization if needed

  • Printing a standard image, use of torture test images, and confirming linearity

Afternoon and Evening

Paula Chamlee will join us in evaluating your digital images prior to printing the inkjet negatives. We will discuss the pictures with a critical evaluation toward digital burning and dodging as it relates to compositional balance. Then we will print the digital negatives in the darkroom with Paula using Lodima silver-chloride contact paper. Paula will talk about the subtle print qualities that be achieved with silver-chloride papers, and how to evaluate and manipulate the final print tones with additional exposure and development techniques.

Day Two

Morning: Critiques

We will look at the photographs you brought with and give individual in-depth discussion about your work and how to learn to see more creatively when out photographing and then when editing and printing the digital files.

Afternoon

Spotting, Mounting, and Framing for gelatin-silver prints

Wrapping up with any remaining questions and saying our goodbyes

Travel, Meals, and Lodging

There will coffee, tea, and light pastries in the mornings, as well lunch, snacks and drinks throughout the day. You will be responsible for breakfast and dinner. There are several good local restaurants we can recommend for dinner, and a good local coffee shop for breakfast.

We also provide a list of lodging options and directions based on how you’re traveling.

All workshop attendees will receive my QuickCurve-DN application for macOS or Windows, including a year of free email support and updates.