Merits of Print Viewing Via Arc Lamp.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by G- Blank, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. G- Blank

    G- Blank Guest

    I was just considering the purchase of some welders
    goggles to view my next batch of prints and was wondering
    if anyone has experiences they wish to share on how to string
    a line of arc lamps in a gallery.

    (Sorry I couldn't resist ;)

    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
    or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
    is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
    to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918

    G- Blank, Feb 11, 2006
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  2. It is not so much the total intensity of the light, but the relative amount
    of light falling on the image compared to the surround (until we get so low
    the eye no longer perceives) or so high it hurts.

    The trick to see more of the dense black is to illuminate just the image,
    studiously avoiding the mat board around it. And that can be done without
    arc lights. Quartz-Iodide lamps will do just fine, but you must shield the
    light coming out so it falls _only on the print_, not on the mat board.

    Since most galleries refuse to do that (even if they know they should), I
    matted some prints on some (about) 18% gray mat board. The eye considers
    that to be white, so the highlights on the print look very nice indeed, and
    the blacks blacker than usual. But this is still a poor approximation to
    what you could get if you could take the trouble to illuminate the prints
    properly (no-one, AFAIK, does this), but see Chapter 22, Theory of Tone
    Reproduction, by C.N.Nelson, in "Theory of the Photographic Process", Third
    Edition edited by T.H.James. Kenneth Mees did the first two editions.
    Especially Fig. 22.3 on page 469 and the accompanying text.
    Jean-David Beyer, Feb 11, 2006
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  3. There is also a good summary of the work of L.A.Jones and
    C.N.Nelson in _Fundamentals of Photographic Theory_ 2nd
    edition, T.H.James and George C. Higgins 1960 Morgan and
    Jones, with several co-investigators including Nelson
    conducted very extensive research into photographic tone
    reproduction. Jones also developed the minimum usable
    density method of film speed measurement which was adopted
    internally by Kodak and later as the first ASA system. The
    original papers are very interesting but some of the
    journals they are printed in are hard to find. Those
    interested in the Zone System should also be familiar with
    this work which deals with similar problems but from a
    different perspective.
    The "light box" method of illuminating prints gives a
    truely spectacular effect, very similar to a back lighted
    transparency. Most reflection print materials are capable of
    greater Dmax than is useful under normal illumination. The
    print must be especially made for this type of illumination,
    generally of higher contrst and printed darker. The reserve
    of black in most papers can be demonstrated by illuminating
    them through the back. You will often see details in the
    dark parts which are either invisible or hard to see under
    normal lighting.
    As far as arc lights one can get rebuilt used ones from
    Mole-Richardson Co. in Hollywood at very attractive prices.
    However, you will have to re-wire your house or buy a
    suitable generator.
    I am also unsure of the current availability of carbons.
    Most arc lamps used for set lighting and for projection
    today are of the Xenon type but you could get some of those
    Richard Knoppow, Feb 11, 2006
  4. G- Blank

    G- Blank Guest

    It is quite interesting to me that a rather tongue in cheek post
    on my part sometimes yields very interesting results, I thank you
    both for giving additional food for thought.

    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
    or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
    is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
    to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918

    G- Blank, Feb 13, 2006
  5. I think it has been mentioned before but the third
    edition is a different book from the earlier editions.

    It's like opening the third edition of "Great Expectations"
    and finding "David Copperfield".

    To find either:
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Feb 14, 2006
  6. Indeed, the first two are the work of Mees, the third was
    published after his death and is mostly the work of Thomas
    H. James, who eventually took over as head of the Kodak
    Research Labs. The original and "revised" editions have a
    sense of unity where the third and fourth editions are more
    like a collection of journal articles. Grant Haist's _Modern
    Photographic Processing_ was, I think, an attempt to publish
    a modern version of Mees's book. One which was aimed at the
    advanced photographer rather than the specialist.
    Today, the only way to keep up is to read journal
    articles and patent literature.
    For those who don't know who Mees was perhaps a bit of
    biography is in order. C.E.Kenneth Mees was an English
    chemist who became a partner in Wratten and Wainwright, an
    early manufacturer of photographic materials in England. W&W
    was renouned for the quality of their materials, partculary
    in being advanced in color sensitizing. This was mostly the
    work of Mees. Through his research on dyes, which are used
    to sensitize emulsions, Mees also developed excellent light
    filters, hence the name Wratten Filter, which remains to
    this day.
    In 1912 Mees was invited by George Eastman to come to
    Rochester and set up a proper research laboratory for him.
    Mees agreed provided that Eastman would buy out his
    partners, the Wrattens, father and son (Wainright had died
    long before) but leave them in charge of the company.
    Eastman agreed and Mees set up the famous Kodak Research
    Laboratories. Mees decided from the outset that research
    papers from the labs would be published in established, peer
    reviewed, scientific and technical journals rather than in a
    house organ. This immediately gave them high prestige and
    wide availability. George Eastman wanted to make photography
    available to everyone and included education in photography
    in his offerings. The Kodak labs published prolifically,
    many of the papers are still of great interest and also
    trace the historical development of the photographic
    Mees retired about 1960 and died about a year later. The
    last book he was personally responsible for was _From Dry
    Plates to Ektachrome Film_ which was published after his
    Richard Knoppow, Feb 15, 2006
  7. Sometimes... when I have a relaxed hour or two to spend... I simply
    Google-up "Author=Richard Knoppow" and sit back with a cold drink and enjoy
    the read. And this on Usenet, of all places...

    Ken Nadvornick, Feb 15, 2006
  8. G- Blank

    Tom Phillips Guest

    One might mention that "Theory" is out of print
    and generally WAY overpriced by used book dealers.
    But if one takes their time a realistic bargain
    can still be found. I purchased a mint condition
    plus autographed 4th edition not long ago for a
    mere $40...
    Kodak researchers are still publishing papers, but
    sadly Kodak as a company seems no longer committed
    to advancing true photographic knowledge. Still, an
    interesting synopsis of Mr. Mees...
    Tom Phillips, Feb 16, 2006
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