Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Family of Webber Photographers

These "Images of Interest", Wall Art Black & White Film Photography Prints and Art Deco greeting cards, are produced in my darkroom from family negatives dating back to the 1930's. They're the results of a tradition started by my Grandfather and, from that, my Dad taught me the film to print process which I still enjoy very much to this day.

My Grandfather, my Dad, and his brother, my Uncle Joe were all design engineers. However, their passion was photography. Dad and Uncle Joe captured the steam locomotives of their day. Grandfather did still life and landscape images. Dad also created unique "Nite Sites" images during his tenure at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Some of the images are in the permanent collection of the Queens Museum in New York City. The Museum building is the only remaining structure from the 1939 event. 

Well, a few summers have passed since my starter days in photography but I'm still behind my medium format camera, loaded with Black & White Film waiting to be processed and printed.

The pride of hand-crafting photographs is what continues to draw me to the darkroom. It's my purpose as an artist to produce the finest images in keeping with the family tradition of Black & White Film Photography Prints and Art Deco greeting cards.

Enjoy your visit and thanks for stopping by!  
©"Images of Interest" 

Webbers Photography

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Lesson 2 - Cameras & Lenses - Part 1

There are at least 8 to 10 different types of cameras in use today. Some small, some bigger, and some that require rather large tripods to be used properly. They can be grouped as:
  1. Automatic cameras 35mm and/or digital - most everything preset and controlled by the camera itself using unique installed computer type components.
  2. Rangefinder - antique folding type, 35mm, and digital. Often allows for interchangeable lenses, not common to automatic camera, which permits for more manual control. The viewfinder is set off from the line of site of the lens and, even with the best correction for that, you may not get capture exactly the same image you see.
  3. 35mm Single-Lens-Reflex camera (film or digital, SLR & DSLR) - here the camera has a through the lens viewfinder which yields an image just as you see it through the finder. Lenses are interchangeable and accessories abound. Most give you the choice of fully automatic or manual operation. Tend to be light weight and somewhat compact. Perhaps the most popular type of camera presently in use.
  4. 2 1/4 Single-Lens-Reflex camera - this camera utilizes 120 format film and produces a 2 1/4" square negative, hence the term medium format camera as opposed to 35mm or digital. My wife and I used them years ago for portraits & weddings. Absolutely a superb camera, none better. Great for wall size enlargements. Expensive and bulky compared to a 35mm/digital SLR but very reliable. No need to rotate the camera from landscape to portrait mode since the square negative covered each. Interchangeable lens and all types of accessories were available. Not necessarily a "hobby" camera but our Hasselblads were cash cows for us. 
  5. 2 1/4 Twin-Lens-Reflex camera - medium format like #4 above but lighter and less expensive as the Hasselblads. The viewing lens was mounted directly above the "picture taking" lens. Interchangeable lenses (not on all models) were expensive since you had to change both the "viewer" and the "taker" lens as a single unit. Popular in the 1930's and 40's but then displaced by Hasselblads, 35mm, and digital cameras.
  6. Polaroid camera - amazing units that produced instant paper prints on the spot in either black & white or color. All automatic, no creative control, no interchangeable lenses, and little if any accessories. Great amateur camera but of little value to professionals. The only real pro use was with special polaroid backs used on pro cameras to get a "test" shot back in the film days. FUJI has bought the name and reintroduced camera & film.
  7. The View Camera - remember seeing a photographer from long ago with a large tripod, black cloth his/her head, and a strange looking camera, awaiting to shoot a static subject of some kind? Well, that's what the modern day view camera looks like. They have two major parts; one plate up front holds the lens and the rear plate holds the film. Connecting the two is a long black bellows. These are large format cameras as opposed to 2 1/4 cameras, using sheet film in typical sizes such as 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10. These are not hand held cameras but require a very sturdy tripod to capture any particular image. They are the heaviest, largest, and most bulky of all cameras. However, if you want a negative that can produce a billboard size print, the view camera might do it for you. 
  8. Video camera - captures motion by actually capturing "still" frames in very rapid succession. The expansion of digital photography and its technology has made video cameras very popular and easily accessible. Many are built into cell phones.
  9. Cell Phone camera - as I like to refer to it, it's a hand held camera with a phone attached. My guess is more images are caught with a cell phone that all of the above listed cameras combined. Not yet fully accepted by us professionals, to my knowledge, but the cell phone will only expand in capabilities and convenience of use as time goes on.
Part 2 - we'll explore the makings of a camera, all have something in common

Friday, December 28, 2018


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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lesson 1 - 3 Ingredients Named

Dear Visitor

I'm in the process of revamping my blog so that I might share what I do, how I do it, and why I do what I do. It's my intention that this information would benefit those of you interested in Black and White film photography; no color, no digital. I own a Canon digital camera which only captures in color but it's not used for my fine art b&w work. 

My story started more than 60 years ago when my Dad let me use his Burleigh Brooks folding 6x9 film camera. Several years later, I was allowed to work in Dad's darkroom and was captivated by the entire process of developing film and printing the final photograph.

A portion of my work is on the Internet at www.webbersphotography.com to which I add additional postings on a regular basis. Therefore, it's not likely more images will be posted to this blog. I'd like the blog to be more of an interactive educational forum. Let's see how it goes.

LESSON 1 - An Image or Just a Snapshot?

As I see it, we all have the ability to capture the moment should we choose to do so. Even more since we now have cameras that have a phone attached to them. More snapshots are done using a cell phone than by use of any other type of camera. They're very handy and quite useful. However, most fine art images are created via a more conventional camera be it film or digital. Needless to say, some photographers have had great success with unique cell phone pictures.  

Our discussion of fine art photography, as I see it, will not include cell phones.

My definition of a snapshot is an event, a moment, a site, etc that's caught quickly with little thought to the rules of great photography. Often done to support the old saying, "Well it's better than nothing." Be it true or not, that's my take. 

An image, on the other hand, needs at least three "ingredients" to make it great:

  • Subject - What is the picture all about? Will others recognize it?
  • Attention - Have you focused attention on the subject?
  • Simplicity - Have you eliminated distractions from the subject?
We'll discuss each in detail on the next blog. Please leave your comments. Thanks! 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Beseler 23C Enlarger

Sorry for the above print size but blogger would not let me make it any larger. I tried to make it bigger but to no avail. Hopefully you'll be able to read it.

Perhaps one of the best known pieces of darkroom equipment is the Beseler 23C enlarger. Yes, there are others available but this particular model appears to be more of the well rounded units suitable for a number of negative sizes and types of projection.

THe 23C is heavy but also very steady and stable. There's no vibration which would yield poor negative printing. The elevation handle (10) is well geared so that once you crank it and then stop, it stops with no further travel. There's a measuring rule on the right side of the frame, where the handle is located, so that you can take note of the negative/cropping height for each print. Very convenient for me. The baseboard is large enough so that you can easily move an 11 x 14 easel into position as you seek the print crop you desire.

There are a number of negative sizes which the 23C can handle:
  • 8 mm - 16mm and 110
  • 35mm - 126
  • 2 1/4 x 2 1/4
  • 6 x 4.5
  • 6 x 7
  • 2 1/4 x 3 1/4
Each of these sizes requires a negative carrier specific for that size negative. They're well designed and easy to use. You simply put the negative into its carrier and then insert the carrier into the negative stage (6). Once in place you're free to rotate it any way you wish in order to get the crop/print you're looking for. 

Another great feature of this enlarger is that you don't have to change the condenser with each change of negative size. There is a condenser stage guide (13) built into the unit and all you need do is turn the condenser stage adjustment knob (12) to the correct marking on the guide that reflects your appropriate negative size. Simply raise or lower the condenser stage so that it rests at the correct point. This point is the one that provides complete light coverage of the negative area, with the proper flatness of field and the avoidance of "hot spots".

The 23C has a bracket which will hold contrast filters that swings under the lense so that you can make variations to your final print. I use Ilford MultiGrade IV RC paper and always start with a Beseler #3 filter. Multigrade IV is a warm tone paper so the #3 filter helps me achieve stronger blacks. For me, it's a good place to start on my way to a completed print.

Printing with the 23C has always been a pleasure. With my darkroom timer, I have 3 easy settings. The first is focus which I use to crop my neg and then get it into focus with a grain focuser. Next is the safelight setting which allows me to take my paper from the light safe and put it into my easel. Lastly, the print setting turns on the enlarger bulb and turns off the safelight. Then it's time to put that paper in the developer and watch the "magic", something that still fascinates me after all these years.

My 23C was purchased back in the late 1970's from a retailer in NYC. The package included the enlarger, the frame, the baseboard, 3 lenses, 3 lens boards, 3 negative carriers, and a box of contrast filters. The reason I remember so well is that the "package" cost me $333.00. Forty years have gone by and so have these prices.  

Obviously, I'm not qualified to comment on your darkroom budget but if you want quality equipment that will stand the test of time than the Beseler 23C deserves your consideration.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mamiya 645 Medium Format Camera

Of all the film formats I've used over the years, I tend to enjoy the medium format 645 size the best. It offers me both portrait and landscape orientations as you would find in any 35mm SLR camera. The 645 negative is about 3 times larger than a 35mm negative which works well for me in my darkroom using a Beseler 23C enlarger. There are also many choices of film in the 120 format so I can pretty well photograph with whatever I like. Needless to say, all my film work is done in Black & White.

My current camera choice is a Mamiya 645 first introduced in 1975 and discontinued in 1987. Unlike later models, mine does not have removable film backs. That's ok since I'm not shooting weddings where the demand for film was constant. It's really not that much larger or heavier then some of the 35 mm work-horse cameras of today. With a handle grip attached to the body, it's as comfortable for me as is any other camera. Another benefit is that my camera repair pro says that there are still repair parts available, at least for now anyway.

Some of the features that I enjoy about my Mamiya 645 are:

  • Large negative quality
  • Compact design
  • Bright viewfinder
  • Flat film plane
  • Available lenses
  • Multiple exposure provision
  • Mirror lock up switch
  • Two shutter release buttons-conveniently placed
  • Metered prism
  • X sync connection for external Flash
When all is said and done, whatever camera you choose, film or digital, just go have fun and enjoy your type of photography!