Sunday, July 26, 2009

Digital vs Darkroom - The 'Desert Ride'

So I did a darkroom (B&W) version of this image...
And recently I did a digital (color) version of roughly the same image.
(Both are above.)
In this case, it was kind of a no-brainer to try a digital version of something 'darkroom' - I had both film and pixels of the same situations, a carousel, and some very nice skies taken in Nevada last December, at the end of the day when the sun was close to sinking behind some mountains - it was a very fast moving situation, and the pixels and film were different - color vs B&W, and 'normal' lense length vs. a very wide Pentax 6x7 55mm lense.

Comparing the two images & techniques seemed definitely worth doing.
It is ALWAYS a good idea to review what you have done in the past.
'Could it be different? Could it be better'? ( whatever 'better' is!..)
"Critique yourself", ya know?
It's a habit you should try out - that was the 'lesson' part of this entry.
No one (but you) will be kinder... and no one could be harsher, it all depends.

For years now, photo friends of mine have been asking, in so many words, "how long you gonna keep being a (darkroom) dinosaur, dude?".
The answer is "always!".... and "shut up, **** you!".
(Just tryin' to keep things 'PG' rated, OK?)

When I first worked w/ Photoshop ( V4, in 1992) all you could do montage-wise was "float" a selection, move it around/etc, but you couldn't save any layers ( that capability didn't exist yet), and you had to 'merge all' before you could save anything. And 'saving' anything substansial?... You could go see a movie, have dinner, and when you came back, it might possibly be saved. How times have changed.
My first hard drive, in '97, was all of 1 GB/1000 MB's.
Now?... the chip in my digital camera saves over 4 *Gigabytes*!, and it's about as big as my thumbnail.

Back to the difference between the two images...
To tell ya truth, I like both of them, for different reasons.
I will always like B&W darkroom - the severity it imposes forces you to deal w/ *just* composition, and values...
And film, at least the film I shoot on a Pentax 6x7, is soooo much sharper than anything digital I have seen, there just ain't no comparison, at least not w/ anything that is within my price range, and you could add a '0' to the price? and it still wouldn't compare.
I will never stop loving the process, of seeing a B&W image develop in Dektol, & rocking it slowly back and forth, in the tray...
The burning/dodging I can do takes less than a minute...way easier and faster done than anything digital.

The digital version of this image?.... well, 'color' makes everything different, naturally.
I chose a different foreground, just because I could - I really liked the rolling hills, the way they were lit, and the color they are.
I used a different sky, because it was color - the B&W version wasn't the same, I had no 'equivalent' to work with.
And the color of the land kind of matched the color in the sky (a different relationship - 'color' as opposed to 'design'(B&W))
And the digital version became vertical, as opposed to the darkroom version, horizontal.
Why? it just felt right, it 'worked' - what more reason do ya need?
I always try and stay open to what is going on in the image, no rules, no 'given's.
Kind of like golf - wherever your ball lands? that's where your next swing starts.
Unless you cheat, and who would want to do that?... it destroys the integrity of the game/match!
Same goes for images - 'stay true'... you'll be glad you did...

If you have any interest in Carousels?
Check these links out:

Carousels in the SF Bay Area:

National Carousel Association:

As usual, larger images are at a page on my site, including a download of the digital version at much smaller size, if you want to see how it's done: