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JB & SUSAN HARLIN UPCOMING EVENTS

Here is our current calendar of upcoming events.  More information available by clicking on the event below.  We invite everyone interested in film photography to join us, though we specialize in LF and ULF, we love all film.  Hope to see you at one of our gatherings!



NEW UPDATED & REVISED E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD TO YOUR COMPUTER!

OVER 25 YEARS OF MPD & STILL GOING

SimplicitySeems everyone has their favorite method for exposing and developing film. You do shoot film, don’t you?  If not, you should!  But I digress for sure. . .  There are as many ways of working with film as there are opinions. . . maybe more.  None are better or worse than any other, if they work; if they give you the results you insist on within your own vision, then you are already there.    But, in this day and age there are a lot of people coming into photography and just now discovering film and the traditional darkroom.  In the beginning film is a mystery and requires some time to begin to master.  Of course, the most important thing is that you shoot film and make finished photographs.  How you get there is a very personal thing and you need to choose what works best for you.  But, you have to start somewhere.

For me, I prefer simplicity when I am out making photographs.  I do not want to get bogged down with a lot of complexity.  I struggled with film exposure and development, like I would speculate that most everyone has when they first start out trying to understand film photography.  It was way back in the mid 1970’s when I realized I could process and print my own photographs.  This was a big deal for me.  It started a lifetime involvement with photography and the wet darkroom.

I stumbled around, trying this and that looking for that magic technique that would give me a negative that would print what I saw in my mind’s eye in the finished print.  I read everything I could find on the subject.  I even toyed with the idea of becoming a strict Zone System practitioner.  Thing was, everything I looked into was just way too complicated.  There had to be a simpler way. . . at least, that is what I thought.

Somewhere in the 1980’s I discovered Fred Picker and his “Zone VI Workshop” book.  This was exactly what I was looking for.  It made sense and contained a simple approach that I found worked!  Having found someone that was also into simplicity, I subscribed to the Zone VI Newsletter.  I remember really getting excited when I discovered the latest issue in the mailbox.  Plenty of opinion and advice that really made sense.  To this day I still have my complete set of these newsletters.  About 25 years ago when I seriously decided to start working with large format photography, I read the entire set again. . . three times. . . every issue, #1 through #83.

MPD; THAT SIMPLE

I had experimented previously with what Fred called MPD (Maximum Printable Density) back in my early days in photography.  I had very good results, but I drifted away from the darkroom for a while to concentrate on a career.  When I moved back into photography after a brief hiatus,   I dove right into large format.  I needed to relearn my darkroom skills, at least to the point where I had left off and establish a sound working technique.

MPD is such a simple approach to exposing film that most think it will not work.  It is deceptively simple for sure!  I did some experimenting to get back into the groove and continue my experiments with simplicity.  I found that MPD was just what it claims to be. . . SIMPLE. . . and well-suited for any film format!   I am a big fan of ‘simple’ for sure.  As with anything, it is ludicrous to use something that does not work.  Why make it worse on yourself.  I approached MPD with the idea, that as long as it works, I will use it.

It is funny how there are things that just seem to fit you and continue to do so.  It has been over 25 years now and I still use MPD. Why?  Because it works!  My wife uses it and she is sold on the idea of simplicity also.  If you have seen any of our original prints from LF negatives, you have seen film exposed using MPD.

Oh, guess I forgot to mention exactly how simple MPD is in practical use.  Here goes, don’t blink;  1. Find your subject, compose as you wish.  Not much new there.  But, here it comes.  2. Meter the area you wish to render as a Zone VIII.  White painted wall, snow, sand. . . whatever you wish to print as finely textured white (Zone VIII).  Meter that area.  3. Open up three stops, or place the reading on Zone VIII if your meter has a Zone Dial.  4. Set your exposure and expose the film.

It is actually even easier than that;
1.  Meter
2.  Place VIII
3.  Expose. . .  DONE!

Now, don’t believe this is a haphazard way of working.  First, you must do your film testing.  You need to establish your working EI (Exposure Index) and your normal (N) developing time.  You need to establish a proper proofing regiment.  Your proper proofs are your control.  They tell you just how you are doing with film exposure and developing.  Study your proper proofs and make fine adjustments on the fly.  Thing is, once you find a starting point, things get much easier.  You do not have to engage in never-ending testing.  Test once. . . find that starting point.  As Fred Picker said, “Get one foot on a rock.”  Then you use your proper proofs for fine tuning and a constant check on how you are doing.  Simple!

The Film Exposure Work Book

Are you interested in making really good negatives?  Want to understand proper proofing,   personal film speed and developing times?  How about getting started using MPD?  Interested in getting the technical stuff behind you?

I was asked how to use MPD and what testing was necessary years ago.  I wrote “THE FILM EXPOSURE WORK BOOK” specifically for those interested in learning where to start.  This 44 page book is now available for download in e-book format from our online store.  You will learn how to establish your working EI.  Determine your N and N+1 1/2 developing times.  Proper Proofing is covered and much more.  You will also get a printable 12 page Work Sheet to record your testing results.

Is MPD right for you?  If you are just starting out with film, it just might be if you are interested in a simple, reliable method for making the best possible negatives.  Fred Picker had a large rubber stamp that said TRY IT.  He used it to answer letters people wrote to him asking questions.  You will only know if you TRY IT.  It has worked well here for over 25 years!

JB

ILFORD PHOTO ULF FILM 2015

It is that time of year again.  Time to get in your order for custom size Ilford Film. The ILFORD PHOTO annual ULF sheet film ordering window for 2015 opens Wednesday 8th April 2015. This annual campaign allows ULF photographers the opportunity to order selected sizes of ILFORD sheet film and other specialist products without the constraints of the usual minimum order quantity.

Photographers have until Friday 12th June 2015 to place their orders with participating Dealers. The UK factory will start to ship orders to Distributors during August and end users should check with the local ULF reseller for expected arrival dates.

For a full list of the items available in this campaign, and for a list of participating Dealers, Click on ULF 2015 Items and Dealer List

JB & Susan

D/FW CAMERA SHOW! SATURDAY APRIL 18, 2015

It has certainly been a long time since we have seen a camera show here in the D/FW area.  That is the bad news. . . the good news. . . THE CAMERA SHOW RETURNS!  The Dallas Center for Photography and Don’s Camera are joining forces to give you a chance to buy, sell or swap photo gear of all kinds!

Location:  Dallas Center for Photography, 4756 Algiers, Dallas, TX  75207. Doors open at 10am and close at 4pm. Ticket price is only $3 online until April 17, $5 cash at the door.

For more information on the show and vendor tables, click below.

Hope to see you there!

JB & Susan

 

THE NEW jbhphoto.com WEB SITE IS UP

It has been a very busy start to 2015 for us here at Harlin Photography World Headquarters.  We returned from our annual trip out West the first week of January and have not had time to look up since.  We had a lot of film to process and thankfully, that is about done now.  Susan is already printing new film and JB is almost done proofing and filing.

One project we have wanted to tackle for several years now has been an upgrade to a more user-friendly, modern-look for our web site.    The site has been in continuous operation since 1999 and has gone through numerous upgrades over the years.  We have continually added more and more content, so it is no small task to rebuild a site that has this much subject matter, but it needed to be done.

We really wanted to start on this last year, but there just wasn’t enough time.  This year the web site project was moved to near the top of the list and it is finally a done deal!  JB has been hacking on WordPress code, off and on, since early January and has finally finished the site with a completely new look.  We have even moved to new web hosting for the delivery of the updated jbhphoto.com web site.

We have rebuilt all of the Snapshot Albums.  The Cole Weston Workshop album was completely rebuilt and the original photographs have all been rescanned.  The Articles and View Camera Project areas have been updated and revised.  JB and Susan each have new areas with updated galleries of their work.  We have updated the menu structure for easier navigation and access to content.  The entire site has a new look using a customized theme that we feel is much more pleasing, up to date and much easier to navigate.

We would like to invite everyone to stop by and take a look at our new web site. . .www.jbhphoto.com

Always, thanks for your support!

JB & Susan

PS   After the move to new web hosting and due to many instances of spammers registering, we have removed all registered users to this BLOG.  If you were previously registered and receiving email notifications, we are truly sorry. . . don’t blame us, blame the spammers! You will need to subscribe to this BLOG to receive email notifications again when new posts are added.  If you would like to Subscribe to the jbhphoto.com BLOG for email notifications, click on the SUBSCRIBE link in the top navigation menu under INFO, or in the bottom left menu.  Follow the instructions on the Subscribe Page. 

From The Road 01-08-2015 Back Home. . .

We did return home and this week has been little more than a blur.  The gear is stacked in the living room awaiting a quick cleanup and being put away.  Some of the clothes are put away. . .  Susan did most of the laundry in Moab before we left, so there is little to do there.  We will now begin to work on our film notes, which is the first step before film processing starts.  JB is already hauling distilled water, and if  things go as usual, film processing should start in 2-3 weeks. . . you never get in a rush to process film!

Here are a few stats from this year’s adventure;

DAYS ON THE ROAD TOTAL:  31
DAYS IN BRYCE CANYON NP:  4
DAYS IN SPRINGDALE, UT:  15
DAYS IN MOAB, UT:  7
NUMBER OF DAYS PHOTOGRAPHING:  20
SUSAN 4X10 FILM: 93
SUSAN 8X20 FILM: 18
JB 8X10 FILM: 103
JB 11X14 FILM: 21
TOTAL MILES DRIVEN:  3,641

There have been a few questions about when will finished photographs be seen. . . that is a good question for sure.  It will take a month, at the least, to process, sort, file and proof the negatives.  Then we will begin to sort through what we have and the process of printing will begin.  This usually takes 2-3 additional months, since we never get in any rush.  It takes time to think things through. . . it is a very intense process of creativity and may take some time for an image to mature. . .  some photographs take years to ripen, mature and stabilize into the finished image.  We invite everyone to follow us on our web site, our BLOG and FaceBook.  We have also put the entire From the Road 2014 e-mail collection on our web site for those that were not on the mailing list.  You can download the entire set in PDF format here;

Trip 2014:15 A

We would like to thank everyone on our mailing list for sticking with us on this trip.  It has been fun doing the ‘From the Road 2014′ updates and we hope everyone enjoyed riding along with us.

JB & Susan

OUR FOR SALE AREA IS OPEN

Hope everyone had a great Holiday, a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  Our store is open again. . .  looking for a nice 4×5 camera?  Take a look HERE  at this nice Zone VI Walnut camera. . .

 

Be sure to drop by our For Sale Area for more items.

JB & Susan

NELFPC. . . 2014 EVENT VIDEO

We are so proud to have been invited to attend this really exciting and motivating photography event.  Tim did a great job shooting and editing this video.  Watch and you will see only a snippet of what transpired during this long weekend saturated in fine art photography.

Thanks to the New England Large Format Photography Collective!

JB & Susan

 

NELFPC. . . FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY AT ITS BEST!

We have just returned from the NELFPC 2014 fundraiser and amazing photography weekend.  Susan and I were extremely excited to be invited to participate in this year’s activities in Connecticut.   The New England Large Format Photography Collective (NELFPC) is an amazing group of the most dedicated photographers I have ever met.  This is truly THE model for any other similar organization to take a very close look into.  Rather than trying to explain further, let me quote from their web site;

The New England Large Format Photography Collective formed from a small but diverse group of photographers in October of 2003 to advance the craft of traditional photography and educate others on its traditional processes. We embrace those with a passion for large format photography, and strive to provide inspiration for others practicing our craft.

We believe Large Format photographers are unique people using unique processes to create the highest quality prints. Simply stated, if you derive considerable enjoyment while viewing something “upside down and backwards” in the dark you are unique! We wish to network with others who embrace this oddity.

For more information on NELFPC, take a look at their Mission Statement.

This is such a diverse and talented group. . . and I might add a light hearted, fun-loving bunch of really great people.  Trying to explain exactly how enlightening this experience was is difficult to put into words.  To be in the midst of so much beautiful photography, dedicated photographers and so much photographic talk, made this a truly inspiring event.  

We began Thursday evening with a fundraiser, “Photographers Fighting Cancer.”  This is a fine art event to benefit the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center and is hosted by NELFPC at the Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery located at the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center.  There were 80 Large Format photographs by 30+ LF photographers up for bids.  Susan and I were proud to each donate one of our prints to this worthy organization and this was a really fun evening that was to kick off a long weekend of more and more photography.

After the fundraiser it was off to Steve and Vicky’s, our hosts for the weekend, home for a meet and greet with all of the members of The Collective.  I got to put faces with numerous names I have seen and exchanged discussions with via the Internet over the years.  The LF community is truly a large and dispersed group, and we are all fortunate to be connected by our love of the medium, if only via the magic of the ether.  Getting to meet many of those people in person is an amazing experience in itself.  The amount of talent, knowledge and dedication to the photographic process within this group is amazing.

 

What followed, starting early Friday morning and continuing until well into the afternoon Sunday, was an intense immersion into the world of fine art photography.  Everyone brought photographs to share.   Steve and Vicky treated us like royalty. . . outstanding food. . . great refreshments. . .  we had access to Steve’s amazing darkroom for demonstrations. . . and did I mention photographs. . .  lots of photographs.  Each day was spent viewing each other’s work.  Susan and I brought about 30 prints each to show.  I did two KeyNote presentations, one on pyro developers and the other on how we travel for 30 days at a time with all those cameras.  Paul did a talk on collecting photography and Steve did a very informative darkroom demonstration on split toning.  We also had two field trips giving everyone a chance to break out the cameras and make a few large format photographs at two interesting locations.

Now it is all over, we are home and we have had time to absorb all that took place, believe me it went like a flash, I just can’t get over the dedication and talent contained within The Collective.  The amount of energy they put into their work and their organization is inspirational.  Only those that have been involved in such an endeavor can understand just how much time, thought and support it takes to put on such an event.  Steve did a bang up job on the schedule and was really on the ball in keeping things moving and on time.  The hospitality was second to none. . . the food outstanding. . . and. . . did I mention the refreshments?

I know I keep repeating myself, but the NELFPC is really a model for any group wanting to promote and sustain the art and craft of fine art photography.  Susan and I cannot express how much fun we had and how honored we are to have been a part of this year’s gathering of the NELFPC.  We would like to express our deepest heart-felt thanks to Steve and Vicky for opening their home to everyone for this truly amazing event, and everyone in The Collective, for your generous hospitality and such a great time!

The only regret I have is that we do not have this kind of a dedicated group here locally. . . it sure is a long way to Connecticut!

JB
. . . and Susan endorses these comments!

 

THE EW TEST

I am fascinated with all of the deeply technical discussions on some of the photography chat sites.  Seems there are those that want to dissect every minute detail of the process.  They want to over-analyze everything from camera focus, to lens sharpness, to even how a shutter works.  We have those that argue about filter factors, meter calibration, and one instance of bellows extension being calculated to one eighth of a stop.  All fine and dandy if you are into engineering.  But my question is, what does this have to do with the finished print?  That photo mounted and hanging on the wall either does it, or it fails.  If it fails, is it some technical problem?  If so, do you need to do some more math? If it is successful, does it matter what the technical details really entail?
 
I come from an engineering background.  I love photography because it is an escape from all of the numbers and rigid thinking involved in engineering.  Creating art is strictly a right brain experience. . . if you try to inject engineering, you kill the process.  Sort of like having to explain a joke.  It does not work!
 
It is true that I do engineer certain aspects of my photography.  But I do it for the purpose of eliminating the engineering from the creative process.  I want the act of making a photograph to be completely transparent with respect to all distractions of the mechanical process.  In other words, I do the engineering in the shop and when I go out to make images, I leave all that technical chatter behind.
 
As I said, I find all of the extreme dissection of the mechanics somewhat fascinating, but I believe it is totally unnecessary.  In fact I find it extremely detrimental to the process of creative art.  Yet, there are those times I just have to read the deeply technical discussions, mainly for my entertainment.  
 
This is where I think of Edward Weston.  If you have studied the man and his life work, you know of his dedication to the medium of the photographic art form.  You also know that he was extremely limited in his comprehension of anything mechanical.  He only drove a car once in his lifetime.  If his camera broke, he had no idea of how to repair it.  His darkroom was a place of extreme simplicity.  He was all about making photographs.  I really believe that for him, the mechanics was more of a hindrance than even a curiosity.  He did not understand it, and he was not interested.
 
When it comes to the way I work and think about photography I have devised a test that helps me sort out what is really necessary and what is just a lot of distraction.   I use what I call “The EW Test.”  In keeping with the Weston simplicity in thinking, when I encounter some deeply technical aspect of photography, I simply ask myself;  “Would this matter to Edward?”  If I can answer YES, then maybe I should explore it in more detail.  If the answer is NO, then I file it away as BS and not relevant.  I believe that our lives are complicated enough as it is today.  I have to borrow a quote that an old friend uses on his e-mail footer;
 
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  -Leonardo da Vinci-
 
Think about it. . . you may find that more concentration on your art and less time studying the engineering just may be the ticket to more creativity and less time wasted engineering.
 
JB