Hellebores, Seattle, Washington

Hellebores, Seattle, Washington

I have been looking for opportunities to make new photographs closer to home, though with little recent success (mostly due to weather). However, with a rare evening without rain this week, I decided to turn my attention very close to home, and photographed these Hellebores, just now blooming nicely in our backyard. After a very long and wet winter, and bit of sunshine and some blooming flowers are very much welcomed.

While this started out mostly as a technical exercise, I am rather pleased with the results and chose to share it. On a technical level, I have relatively little experience utilizing my view camera for macro-scale work. With a view-camera the effective aperture becomes smaller as the camera is focused closer - in this case an additional 1 1/3 stops adjustment was required. I attempted to enhance the contrast by placing the shadows on about Zone III with the highlights at about Zone VI, and then expand the contrast to bring the highlights up some. This was really my first attempt at expanding the contrast in the darkroom and, while not overwhelmingly different, I can see some enhancement.

I produced the final image as a 4x5 contact print, with substantial additional burning in around the perimeter of the image to drives those values towards black and highlight the blooms. Unfortunately trying to do any more details dodging and burning than that has proven too challenging for me on a small 4x5 print. The final print was then scanned.

The more I experiment in the darkroom the more I enjoy it. I am beginning to wish I had an enlarger now, so that I wouldn't be limited to contact prints or negative scans.

Tachihara 4x5 | Caltar II-N 150 f/5.6 | f/8 | 1/4s | Ilford FP4+ | Tripod | HC110(B), Dektol

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