Tuesday, December 29, 2020

 HAND COLORING – have you ever considered adding colors to your B&W photos? I’m told you can do that with photoshop but I prefer using the skills from my darkroom. The type of prints that I work with are silver gelatin photographs, not digital. What follows is a Facebook post by Marshall’s Photo Coloring System you may find helpful should you venture into hand coloring:

"To begin with, you’ll need some PM solution made by combining turpentine at 2/3, and 1/3 safflower oil. A small jar would be plenty.  Turpenoid can also be used and it seems to work as well and not smell as bad. Distilled turpentine would probably be safer as far as yellowing down the road. Safflower oil has been used for making white oil paint for years as it does not yellow. Use PM to prime the paper before using oils and pencils. Apply with cotton and rub it down with paper towels. Apply paint with cotton swabs or toothpicks wrapped with cotton and kind of buff to smooth it out. Apply color pencils and rub or stroke with swabs or tooth picks wrapped with cotton to smooth that out. Get good cotton at drugstore. Do one section at a time using the above steps."

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your reaction be it photoshop or darkroom. Thanks for your time!

Hand colored cards & prints at



Monday, December 21, 2020


MY FRONT YARD – this past summer, I was relaxing on our front porch bench. Looking to my left, I gazed upon the trees at the edge of our property. The sunlight was perfect, shining on the leaves, and highlighting between them and the branches. I got my camera, loaded with Infrared Film, looked through the viewfinder, and saw the image I liked. Next step was the darkroom.

Whether you use film or digital, do you look right around you to compose an image in your mind and capture it? It’s great fun and requires no travel. Try it!

Please let me know your thoughts/techniques. Leave a comment below. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


MY EARLY START - The art of black & white film photography has been around for more than 100 years. It started with a number of pioneers and grew into a very dynamic major industry with leaders like Kodak and Polaroid.

Well, my start was in April 1955 at age 9.

Dad took me on a steam train excursion pulled by the last operating steam locomotive of the Central Railroad of NJ similar to the one in my Facebook post. I was very excited about the sights, sounds, and smells of the engine, and wanted to take a picture to remember the day. Dad had previously reviewed with me the basics of his manual folding camera so he said, "Son, you try it." That image, frozen in time, hangs in my office to this day.

When I turned 15, Dad brought me into his darkroom to learn film processing and print development. That was 60 years ago.

I miss those times with my Dad. What he taught me about the art of black & white photography, I still enjoy immensely today. It’s why I do what I do!

How ‘bout you? Do you have a hobby you love, perhaps one that’s turned into a side business? I’d love to know all about it. Share in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


I enjoy photographing trees in early Summer and late Fall. The warm weather produces an abundance of leaves which can be the crown of any tree. The lack of leaves in Fall exposes the details of a tree, all the limbs and branches. This image "Cotton and Lace", captured in the Fall, reveals those details. The clouds in the background became the cotton, if you will, and the details became the lace. It just struck me as a magnificent combination. Sadly. lightning has since taken this tree down. The lesson we should all heed is that when your mind's eye sees an image then by all means capture it! Then you can enjoy it over and over again knowing that, in some cases, the original scene may be gone forever.  The magic of photography is a medium that instantly locks an image in time while providing the photographer the joy of creating the initial image.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

 Black & White

Just recently discovered a new magazine, at least new to me. It's called Black & White and it's published out of California. Great images, great content, great paper quality, more than 125 pages per issue and it arrives shipped in a plastic bag to help reduce any damage in transit via the USPS.

Almost always there is some kind of photo contest sponsored by the magazine. I've submitted photos for their "Single Image" contest, within the landscape category, and I'm in the process of submitting more for their "Vintage Image" contest; photos taken prior to 1980. Both of these contests are for publication in 2021 with winners being notified by December of this year. I trust I may have a chance since they expressed an interest in my photos for the "Single Image" event. We'll see.

Black & White magazine is published 6 times per for a rate of $35/year. Well worth it for me since I'm exclusively a B&W film photographer. However they have articles/photos from the digital world as well. My choice of film is medium format and my camera is a Mamiya 645 yet the magazine has plenty of room for articles/photos on pin hole cameras and plastic Holgas. Pretty cool! 

Let me know what you think if you have or will have access to the Black & White magazine. I'd be interested in your comments one way or the other.

Thanks - Hank

Monday, August 17, 2020

 More on Ilford SFX 200

I've found that setting my Mamiya 645 at f8 for 1 second or f11 for 2 seconds gives me the best depth of field and sharp focus as mentioned previously. The manual cameras allow you to set the focus on the lens barrel to match up with the red infrared mark also on the lens. Again, bright sun shinning on your subject and little if any breeze which will show up as a blur with a slow shutter speed. 

My brief discussion here centers on what I do in my darkroom with this film. The developing time in my film tank gives me the best prints when I process to 8 seconds. This is 2 seconds more than the Ilford suggestion but I like the negatives to be on the strong side, if you will. Using MultiGrade RC paper takes anywhere from 10-30 seconds depending on the f stop I prefer to yield a finished print. For special occasions, I've used Ilford Art 300 paper which is a double weight 100% cotton RC material. Great for greeting cards.

Please post any comments/suggestions you may have about these Ilford products. Thanks!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 Ilford SFX 200

This infrared film is one I'm quite pleased to use. It loads and unloads as any other B&W film in subdued light unlike Kodak HIE of years ago. My choice of format is 120 which I shoot in my Mamiya 645. This film format is easier for me to handle in my darkroom and I need not expose 36 frames as with 35mm to complete the roll. 645 yields 15 exposures allowing me at least 2 frames per subject just to be safe. 

I have found that using a consistent exposure of f8 @ 1 second, SFX produces a great negative from which to then develop a great print. You may chose to bracket around f8 or the 1 second shutter speed if you like. Of course, I'm exposing in "sunny 16" lighting which means very bright sun and deep dark shadows. The sun light is behind me and shinning directly on my subject. This enhances the IR effect on blue skies and green foliage. The sky turns dark and the greens turn "Twilight  Zone" white. 

My Beseler 23C allows me the option of printing with variable contrast filters. My favorite is the 3 1/2 contrast when using Ilford MultiGrade RC paper. My developer for film is ILFOSOL 3 (one shot) and for paper it's Ilford Multigrade. Stop baths are any variety. Ilford Rapid Fixer works for both film and paper as does Ilford Wash Aid (like Kodak Hypo) but Ilford Ilfotol (like Kodak Photo Flow) is only used with film.

I trust this brief discussion will prove helpful to anyone exploring Ilford SFX 200!

If I can help in any way, post me a comment. I don't have all the answers but I'll do my best.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Why Infrared Film?

My interest in this type of film dates back to the 1980's when I first discovered it. The best film available then was a Kodak product, HIE Infrared. Great film once you got the hang of it since it was quite sensitive to a number of factors like heat, humidity, loading and unloading in absolute darkness, and the brightness of the light falling on your subject. However, with practice you got what you wanted. I always took 2 or 3 exposures of the same image to be sure I had a great workable negative.

Then came along a Konica product, their 750 Infrared. Much easier to use than Kodak's film and would yield negatives as good. Sadly, both films have been discontinued. Now we have Ilford SFX 200 and Rollei Infrared films. Good products but not true infrared films. Kodak and Konica films would work very well with a 25 red filter whereas Ilford and Rollei require an extreme deep red R72 filter, so dark you can't see through. That's why I use the UUrig RFS adapter as explained in my previous blog post. Handy accessory for Infrared photography. When printing the new negatives I use a 3 1/2 contrast filter to increase the blacks vs whites in the final print.

I just like the deep blacks and twilight zone whites only available with Infrared film.

The print below, "Sugar Shack" from the Infrared Scenes of my website, was captured using my last roll of Konica 750. Other images were done with Ilford SFX 200; I'm starting to work with the Rollei Infrared to compare the finished print with my results from Ilford. 

Some of my customers really like the infrared look for their home decor because it does make an entirely different presentation as opposed to standard B&W. They claim the infrared is eye catching on their walls. 

Do any of you use infrared film in your photo portfolios?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

It's been a while! 

Far too long indeed. However, during the absence, some great things have happened. More visits to my website, more interest in my Infrared images, 3 license agreements signed with a Hollywood production company and more exposure in retail outlets.

Enough about me. Do any of you use filters on your camera, film or digital? If you do, I found a great gadget that might interest you. It's a UUrig RFS (rapid filter system). Imagine a circular clam shell with a hinge between them. One half you screw into your lens and, in the other, you screw in your filter. When you wish to view through your lens, you tip the filter half parallel with the ground. When you choose to use your filter, simply tip the filter parallel with your lens. Works great for me when shooting Infrared film since the R72 filter is totally black to the human eye. 

No more finger prints on the filter, no more filters dropped on the ground which I've done more than once.

Super product available from B&H Photo NYC around $25.