Once again I find myself at Mikro Cafe updating this electronic epistle, free to whomever wishes to read it and in doing so, please respond. I arrived after my 12 day island-hop with fifteen rolls of exposed 120 film and I have developed it all. This is important because it means that I may not have to bring my heavy medium format camera to Italy in the fall, which also means no tripod, no film, etc…What a literal load off my shoulders! I can concentrate on digital color and get to know my new Leica M8 during the Italian session. There was an issue in the darkroom, however, dealing with the near-tropical conditions. In short the water coming out of the tap was 24-25C and I need the chemistry to be 20C. The ambient room temperature was also 24-25C which meant that all the metal canisters and film reels were all 24-25C. The upshot is that even if I drop the chemistry temp to 20C the second I put the soup in the can, the temp will rise 2 degrees at least, thus dropping the developing time. This was my solution:
I made the initial film rinse at 16C, thus dropping the can/reel/ temp to 20C. Then I can add the 20C soup and it will at least be stable for a couple of minutes before the ambient room temperature raises the can of soup a degree or so. Now, since I have been under developing my PlusX by N-2 anyway in this darkroom I have to adjust the time again, this time for ambient temperature. For this round of work I dropped the time to N-5 and the effects are very nice indeed: good separation in the shadows, nice highlights that are not overexposed and a balanced contrast. Considering that many of the images were made in the height of the Greek sun (10:00-15:00, or 5800K) I am very pleased with the results.
Paros is much the same. The Watercolor Workshop and the Digital Photography Bootcamp finished and hung a small exhibition last Friday which was lovely. I was impressed by the photographers and enchanted by the watercolorists. Some of the photographers had never worked in this kind of digital dynamic before and their work was terrific: all illustrated an excellent use of negative space, lovely light/shadow, texture and elegant composition in the work. The watercolors were ethereal and splashed with colors, bright and soft. There were some students who had never worked in this medium as well but that wasn’t apparent. This is a testament to both their innate skill and that of their instructor. There are more tourists on the island, but it is not crammed with people. I am sure this is making some business owners nervous about their futures, but the summer hasn’t really arrived and the July and August crowds will write the book on this piece of marble in the blue sea.
I leave Paros for the USA in about a week. I would like to think I will have a relaxing time back in New York but my time will be short and I have much to do, many people to see and commitments to keep. I will be off-island and out of the EU for a month and then return at the very beginning of August. As the plan goes I have about three weeks here and then I am off to visit a friend in England for a couple of days and then head to Italy, Ravenna and finally Pistoia and the Villa Rospigliosi where I meet up with the rest of the school for the Italian Session. I have a lot of work to do for the fall. My portrait project must continue and I need to push that a bit if I am to stay on schedule for the beginning of printing in October. I am thankful for all the work I have done so far and I am a little ahead of schedule in the darkroom, but I must not rest on my laurels. My role as student/intern is unwritten but the future looks bright, at least from this vantage point.