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Miscellaneous musings from Ryan Day Thompson || A budding boudoir photography portfolio || www.rdtphotography.com || www.ryandaythompson.com

A couple of prints I made for my friend, Ellie, from a recent shoot we did.  I changed developers and saw an immediate drop in contrast.  So I had to break out the #4MG to get these balanced.  I also changed my chem ratio for fixer to what the bottle said and this is the grainiest roll of anything I have processed in a while.  Either I underdeveloped this roll or that switch from 1:9 for fixer to 1:4 caused some fucked up imbalance in my chem.
I need to test this Arista paper dev against Dektol, too.  I have this sense that the liquid paper developer is drastically different than that Dektol.  I was struggling royally to keep my contrast DOWN with the Dektol so to have to suddenly put on a #4MG just to make an even print is bothersome.
I also FINALLY figured out my process for truly flat fibre prints.  1)  Fully dry; 2) heat significantly on old school print dryer; 3) move rapidly from dryer to in between pages of old 11x14 book; 4) weight with about 200 pounds of books 15 minutes to 24 hours.  It works.  I tried, like, 18 different methods before one finally worked.  Heat and weight are key.
In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Ilford Delta 400
Process Tech Left:  Vivitar VI | Ilford Classic MGFB | f/8 | #4 @ 23S EXP | 2M DEV (Arista @ 21°C)
Process Tech RIght:  Vivitar VI | Ilford Classic MGFB | f/5.6 | #4 @ 8.8S EXP | 2M DEV (Arista @ 21°C)
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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A couple of prints I made for my friend, Ellie, from a recent shoot we did.  I changed developers and saw an immediate drop in contrast.  So I had to break out the #4MG to get these balanced.  I also changed my chem ratio for fixer to what the bottle said and this is the grainiest roll of anything I have processed in a while.  Either I underdeveloped this roll or that switch from 1:9 for fixer to 1:4 caused some fucked up imbalance in my chem.

I need to test this Arista paper dev against Dektol, too.  I have this sense that the liquid paper developer is drastically different than that Dektol.  I was struggling royally to keep my contrast DOWN with the Dektol so to have to suddenly put on a #4MG just to make an even print is bothersome.

I also FINALLY figured out my process for truly flat fibre prints.  1)  Fully dry; 2) heat significantly on old school print dryer; 3) move rapidly from dryer to in between pages of old 11x14 book; 4) weight with about 200 pounds of books 15 minutes to 24 hours.  It works.  I tried, like, 18 different methods before one finally worked.  Heat and weight are key.

In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Ilford Delta 400

Process Tech Left:  Vivitar VI | Ilford Classic MGFB | f/8 | #4 @ 23S EXP | 2M DEV (Arista @ 21°C)

Process Tech RIght:  Vivitar VI | Ilford Classic MGFB | f/5.6 | #4 @ 8.8S EXP | 2M DEV (Arista @ 21°C)

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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At most of the boudoir shoots I’ve been to the atmosphere is usually very serious.  The air of sultriness and hints of seduction pervade mostly every shot.  I like shooting that to a degree.  Photographing women feeling sexy and empowered and good about themselves is fulfilling for me because it is fulfilling for so many of them.  But, once in a rare while, something will happen that is similar to when an actor breaks the 4th Wall in film.  The sultriness vanishes for a flicker and a model or a client displays some emotion that has nothing to do with your usual boudoir photography.
We were working in a tight space.  I was stepping back to get as much of Gabi in this shot as I could and tripped over a laundry basket.  It was awkward in a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” kind of way and Gabi started laughing.  I whipped the camera up and hoped for the best.
On the way home I stopped by a thrift shop to look for old cameras.  There was a bookshelf that they were stacking all these shitty old point and shoots on and I was poking around it.  For some reason, I really don’t know why, I reached up to the top of the shelf and brushed my hand over the surface.  There was an envelope or something and I pulled it down.  It was photo paper!  REALLY OLD Kodak Polyfiber G D photo paper.  The guy at the counter let me have it for a dollar.
So because laughter and pure joy is super rare in boudoir, I decided to print this on the Kodak Polyfiber I had just found.  The result makes it obvious that the paper is old but I really like the feel.  I didn’t grump or try to make it brighter.  Sometimes things are just meant to be less than perfect.
In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Ilford Delta 400
Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Kodak  Polyfiber G D | f/8 | #3 @ 9S EXP | 2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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At most of the boudoir shoots I’ve been to the atmosphere is usually very serious.  The air of sultriness and hints of seduction pervade mostly every shot.  I like shooting that to a degree.  Photographing women feeling sexy and empowered and good about themselves is fulfilling for me because it is fulfilling for so many of them.  But, once in a rare while, something will happen that is similar to when an actor breaks the 4th Wall in film.  The sultriness vanishes for a flicker and a model or a client displays some emotion that has nothing to do with your usual boudoir photography.

We were working in a tight space.  I was stepping back to get as much of Gabi in this shot as I could and tripped over a laundry basket.  It was awkward in a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” kind of way and Gabi started laughing.  I whipped the camera up and hoped for the best.

On the way home I stopped by a thrift shop to look for old cameras.  There was a bookshelf that they were stacking all these shitty old point and shoots on and I was poking around it.  For some reason, I really don’t know why, I reached up to the top of the shelf and brushed my hand over the surface.  There was an envelope or something and I pulled it down.  It was photo paper!  REALLY OLD Kodak Polyfiber G D photo paper.  The guy at the counter let me have it for a dollar.

So because laughter and pure joy is super rare in boudoir, I decided to print this on the Kodak Polyfiber I had just found.  The result makes it obvious that the paper is old but I really like the feel.  I didn’t grump or try to make it brighter.  Sometimes things are just meant to be less than perfect.

In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Ilford Delta 400

Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Kodak  Polyfiber G D | f/8 | #3 @ 9S EXP | 2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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Jacki Outside - The Print
I posted the scan and the story surrounding it here a while back.
I wanted the print to not match the scan in any way and I also felt that this photo had Pictorial qualities to it in the way she’s dressed, in the flat quality of the negative, and in the fact that she is not completely sharp.
I chose to split filter this one for two reasons:  (1) I don’t always value *maximum* contrast in my prints and (2) I wanted it a little bit flat.
Further, I didn’t focus it exactly because, as I said, I wanted to pay homage to the Pictorial elements within the photograph.
After a test strip at #5 and another at #00 I had my exposures aligned.  As I wanted what would normally be a Zone VI skin tone to appear as if we were in deep shade and a bit dark I chose a slightly longer exposure time for my #5.
This is the result.
In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Ilford Delta 400
Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | #5 @ 20S EXP - #00 @ 8S EXP | 2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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Jacki Outside - The Print

I posted the scan and the story surrounding it here a while back.

I wanted the print to not match the scan in any way and I also felt that this photo had Pictorial qualities to it in the way she’s dressed, in the flat quality of the negative, and in the fact that she is not completely sharp.

I chose to split filter this one for two reasons:  (1) I don’t always value *maximum* contrast in my prints and (2) I wanted it a little bit flat.

Further, I didn’t focus it exactly because, as I said, I wanted to pay homage to the Pictorial elements within the photograph.

After a test strip at #5 and another at #00 I had my exposures aligned.  As I wanted what would normally be a Zone VI skin tone to appear as if we were in deep shade and a bit dark I chose a slightly longer exposure time for my #5.

This is the result.

In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Ilford Delta 400

Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | #5 @ 20S EXP - #00 @ 8S EXP | 2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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Ellie’s 3/4 Portrait
My very first boudoir shoot.  I had just gotten back into film and medium format was brand new to me.  I was gobbling up any shooting time I could get.
It was weird asking my friend, Ellie, to pose for me.  She was pregnant at the time and wanted maternity photos.  Or I thought that was why she was so easy to ask.  Since then I have found out that it isn’t actually that weird or uncomfortable to ask someone if they’re comfortable with modeling at various stages of undress.  I’m stunned at how natural and free it feels and how quick most people are to agree to it.  Pornography has seriously fucked up how many people perceive nudity but when it’s just a photographer and a model and a peaceful well lit area it’s literally just like any other shoot.
As I was combing back through negatives and scans to see what was sharpest to take into the darkroom I happened on this one.  The scan actually doesn’t look as sharp as the negative truly is.  Per the usual I found where I wanted my blacks and then flashed to recover some tonality in my highlights.  The first print was too dark, which I’m actually torn about because it’s really beautiful, but I had intended for greater tonal range and detail in my Zone 1-3 shadows so I lightened the exposure and got almost precisely what I intended.  If I could do anything I would ask for more detail in the Zone 1-2 area on the right.  It is by no means a genuine Zone 1 area so that bother me a bit but, hell, when you’re on a budget you can’t blast through paper…
In Camera Tech:  Mamiya 645Pro | Mamiya-Sekor 80mm 1.9 | Ilford Delta 100
Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | 5.5S EXP | 0.3S FLASH | 2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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Ellie’s 3/4 Portrait

My very first boudoir shoot.  I had just gotten back into film and medium format was brand new to me.  I was gobbling up any shooting time I could get.

It was weird asking my friend, Ellie, to pose for me.  She was pregnant at the time and wanted maternity photos.  Or I thought that was why she was so easy to ask.  Since then I have found out that it isn’t actually that weird or uncomfortable to ask someone if they’re comfortable with modeling at various stages of undress.  I’m stunned at how natural and free it feels and how quick most people are to agree to it.  Pornography has seriously fucked up how many people perceive nudity but when it’s just a photographer and a model and a peaceful well lit area it’s literally just like any other shoot.

As I was combing back through negatives and scans to see what was sharpest to take into the darkroom I happened on this one.  The scan actually doesn’t look as sharp as the negative truly is.  Per the usual I found where I wanted my blacks and then flashed to recover some tonality in my highlights.  The first print was too dark, which I’m actually torn about because it’s really beautiful, but I had intended for greater tonal range and detail in my Zone 1-3 shadows so I lightened the exposure and got almost precisely what I intended.  If I could do anything I would ask for more detail in the Zone 1-2 area on the right.  It is by no means a genuine Zone 1 area so that bother me a bit but, hell, when you’re on a budget you can’t blast through paper…

In Camera Tech:  Mamiya 645Pro | Mamiya-Sekor 80mm 1.9 | Ilford Delta 100

Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | 5.5S EXP | 0.3S FLASH | 2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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Amelia on Bed - III
Last frame from this roll.  It’s time to move on to another roll or older negatives.
This roll responded well overall to flashing so I did a quick test strip to find my blacks, flashed it, and was done.  No fiddling with this one as it’s the third negative of this roll.  No paper waste.  That’s a good feeling :-)
In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Delta 100 | Push to 400
Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | 6S EXP | 0.4S FLASH | 2.2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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Amelia on Bed - III

Last frame from this roll.  It’s time to move on to another roll or older negatives.

This roll responded well overall to flashing so I did a quick test strip to find my blacks, flashed it, and was done.  No fiddling with this one as it’s the third negative of this roll.  No paper waste.  That’s a good feeling :-)

In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Delta 100 | Push to 400

Process Tech:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | 6S EXP | 0.4S FLASH | 2.2M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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Hanging prints after a decent length session in the darkroom.  It’s amazing how when I was in school I would be so inefficient with my printing because once my lab fee was paid I could use as much of anything as I wanted to use.
Now my chem and my paper and, hell, even the water I have to run for washing prints costs me money.  Twenty-five sheets of fibre base runs almost $30.  Freaking stop bath exhausts after one or two sessions. So I toil and focus on each print far more carefully than I ever did before and I feel that it makes me a better printer than I was even eleven years ago when I did it every day.
I wouldn’t trade this current moment in my career for anything.
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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Hanging prints after a decent length session in the darkroom.  It’s amazing how when I was in school I would be so inefficient with my printing because once my lab fee was paid I could use as much of anything as I wanted to use.

Now my chem and my paper and, hell, even the water I have to run for washing prints costs me money.  Twenty-five sheets of fibre base runs almost $30.  Freaking stop bath exhausts after one or two sessions. So I toil and focus on each print far more carefully than I ever did before and I feel that it makes me a better printer than I was even eleven years ago when I did it every day.

I wouldn’t trade this current moment in my career for anything.

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

Tumblr | Website | Facebook | Instagram

We got along in a basically fine friendship. I mean, we never had any of *that* kicking. Dorothea was always a little reserved…total dedication. Nothing else was going to interfere. And she never had small talk. She could do it for about two minutes and then she’d bring the subject around to something of interest, which I think is good. Small talk is pretty terrible under any conditions. You know how people can just yak and yak and yak…Dorothea had no patience at all with that kind of waste of time and all the people she knew were all dynamic.

Ansel Adams on Dorothea Lange (and why Dorothea and I would be besties)
Amelia on Bed - Final | Amelia Against a Wall - Final
Having dealt with “Amelia Against a Wall” a couple of days ago I strategized how to recover detail in my whites on the right sleeve and how I was going to recover detail at all in my whites.  As a warmup and a test I grabbed the negative on the left, “Amelia on Bed”, which I had exposed identically for heavy Zone I shadows (though I metered her breast not her face as my Zone V grey) and popped it in.  I decided that a quick flash would probably do the trick and after a couple of tests, made my print and flashed it.  I let it develop slightly less time than usual (a minute and a half as opposed to my usual two full minutes) and had my intended result.
"Amelia Against a Wall", I felt sure, would yield similar results.  The sleeve was recovered and some detail had returned to my Zone VI whites as a result of the flash.  I also made an attempt at a couple of split filter prints but found that my results were too contrasty.  These negatives are in no way flat or muddy.
The results are pleasing and bode well for a few more excellent prints from this roll.
In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Delta 100 | Push to 400
Process Tech “Amelia on Bed”:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/16 | 10S EXP | 0.7S FLASH | 1.5M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)
Process Tech “Amelia Against a Wall”:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | 7S EXP | 0.5S FLASH | 1.5M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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Amelia on Bed - Final | Amelia Against a Wall - Final

Having dealt with “Amelia Against a Wall” a couple of days ago I strategized how to recover detail in my whites on the right sleeve and how I was going to recover detail at all in my whites.  As a warmup and a test I grabbed the negative on the left, “Amelia on Bed”, which I had exposed identically for heavy Zone I shadows (though I metered her breast not her face as my Zone V grey) and popped it in.  I decided that a quick flash would probably do the trick and after a couple of tests, made my print and flashed it.  I let it develop slightly less time than usual (a minute and a half as opposed to my usual two full minutes) and had my intended result.

"Amelia Against a Wall", I felt sure, would yield similar results.  The sleeve was recovered and some detail had returned to my Zone VI whites as a result of the flash.  I also made an attempt at a couple of split filter prints but found that my results were too contrasty.  These negatives are in no way flat or muddy.

The results are pleasing and bode well for a few more excellent prints from this roll.

In Camera Tech:  Leica M3 | Summicron 2.0 | Delta 100 | Push to 400

Process Tech “Amelia on Bed”:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/16 | 10S EXP | 0.7S FLASH | 1.5M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)

Process Tech “Amelia Against a Wall”:  Vivitar VI | Ilford MGFB Classic | f/11 | 7S EXP | 0.5S FLASH | 1.5M DEV (Dektol @ 21°C)

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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My workspace.
Turntable, window light, breakfast, and pushpin wall.
The pushpin wall was an idea I had while reading Dorothea Lange and discovering she had one.  (Not while surfing Pinterest!  Ba dum tsss!)
Canon 6D | VSCO
© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014
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My workspace.

Turntable, window light, breakfast, and pushpin wall.

The pushpin wall was an idea I had while reading Dorothea Lange and discovering she had one.  (Not while surfing Pinterest!  Ba dum tsss!)

Canon 6D | VSCO

© Ryan Day Thompson, 2014

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