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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season - filled with the warmth of family and friends.  It's hard to grasp that it's now almost the end of January and even harder to decide whether it's "two thousand ten" or "twenty ten!"

The Moon and Half Dome "encore" on November 28, mentioned in the last newsletter, wound up being a highly anticipated "noncore!"  The Moon must certainly have been in the right place, but about a half hour before the "moment," clouds capriciously built up, obscuring anything above the valley peaks.  Nonetheless, a great time was had by the sizeable crowd in the Ahwahnee Meadow, and the moon made a fine performance the following evening!  Ah, that's landscape photography for you!

half dome noncore
Ted Orland celebrating Nothingness (how Zen!); The Day After

Community issues:  a few weeks ago the Alan Ross Photography website reestablished its workshop Alumni Gallery.  It is a showcase for anyone who has been a part of my workshops and a tribute to all who have done such fine work!  It is intended to be a living presentation - new submissions always welcome!

Below, workshops and other goings-on.

Sig on clear

Workshop Happenings.

  It's no surprise to anyone that the world economic meltdown has had far-reaching effects, and photo workshops have been no exception.  We currently have a core group for the May session in Italy, but need five or six more to make it happen.  Colin at International Seminar Designs has extended the sign-up date deadline to February 28th.  See the Tuscany link on my site for details.

Death Valley:  The Ansel Adams Gallery has brought back the ever popular "Alabama Hills and Death Valley" field workshop for 2010.  It's scheduled for the end of April and we'll have a full moon on the dunes!  There might even be snow and ice at the nearly 9000' Whitney Portal, and you probably won't need a jacket at 282' below sea level in Badwater, Death Valley!

September Road Trip:  A "let's see where it takes us" field workshop of the Southwest's Four Corners region.  I've moved it out of main-stream summer to the fall so we should have fewer crowds to bump into and maybe even some fall color.  Northern New Mexico, Southern Colorado and, who knows, maybe some Utah and Arizona.

In-between all the above:  Calendar and other commitments allowing, I am available for 1-on-1 sessions - my place or yours.


Darkroom Stuff:  A few new arrivals on the Store page on the site:

Variable-Contrast printing articles on CD.  If you got one of the photocopy versions from a workshop, the CD has image tonality you can actually see!  If you haven't seen these before, they provide a foundation for understanding how you can interact with and master your work with modern VC papers.

Selective Masking Negative Carrier Starter Kits:  The techniques I wrote up on Selective Masking some years ago have offered those of us addicted to traditional printing processes never-before-achievable control and consistency in our work.  The technique works equally well for both diffusion-enlarging and contact printing.  For enlarging work, a special negative carrier is required - one that has an acrylic diffuser in near contact with the top of the negative.  Where to find a special negative carrier? I am offering ready-made masking carriers for 4x5 Beseler and Saunders/Omega enlargers.  Kits come with black-paper format blanks for three different film sizes (you custom cut them to your own specs) and a starter set of masking mylar.

Tech Miscellany:

Making printing masks on inkjet transparency film.  A great selective masking technique gets trickier.  In the days of major overhead projector use, inkjet transparency slides were all the rage -- there were lots of brands of media and any old printer would do the job.  With the advent of Powerpoint and Keynote, that seems to have changed.  I've noted that updated printer drivers for my little Epson Photo 260 no longer support inkjet media -- the printer refuses to do anything with it and simply spits it out, insisting I haven't fed it anything agreeable to eat! (There is a work-around for this - see below)  HP, on the other hand, seems to still embrace transparency printing, and they even have their own high-quality film on wide-format rolls.  My letter-size HP Photosmart does a fine job -- better than the Epson ever did. 

Epson Workaround: Tape your transparency film onto a slightly longer piece of plain paper.  The printer seems to now think it has paper instead of film and will print - but the quality is still not as good as the HP.

Always remember, the "Oh! Zone" must be preserved!


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