Jonathan A Lewis Photography

Archive for December, 2008

Take Two

December 18th, 2008 | Category: Darkroom,Other Photography

Camera ObscuraThis is my second exposure in the camera obscura. It started around 8:30am and finished around 5:30pm which makes it about a 9 hour exposure. Developed again in Dektol, this negative had a lot more density than the previous 2 hour exposure. The only problem this time is the light area on the left. It was caused by me trying to leave the room without letting in too much light. Other than that I’m happy with the results. If you look closely at the snow on the wall toward the top of the image you’ll see that it all melted during the day. All that’s left is a ghostly visage of the snow that once was.

Tonight I spend about 3 hours in my darkroom making some prints for a guy I work with. They came out well in my opinion but we’ll see what he thinks. It’s fun printing other people’s photographs because they don’t come with the memory of the place and time of the exposure. The print itself is all I know and I don’t project some abstract recollection about the tonality or contrast of the actual scene.

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December 16th, 2008 | Category: Other Photography

Camera ObscuraMy night in a camera was, all in all, a success! The sun came up around 7 and I shut the camera off at around 9. That’s a good 2 hour exposure. Waking up with a giant image on the wall was a very strange and very cool at the same time.

The development in Dektol also went well. I used a dilution of 1+9 from the stock solution and developed the 4×5 sheet for about 8 minutes at 20°C. The neg was rather thin and the Dektol made it very grainy as you can see. I think a full 8 hour exposure would yield a much better negative. Perhaps that will be tomorrow’s exposure…

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The Night in a Camera

December 15th, 2008 | Category: Miscellaneous,Other Photography

Camera ObscuraTonight I will be sleeping in a camera.

We’ve had quite a bit of snow and it’s not supposed to stop for a couple more days. My work decided to let us all slide home early and it seems we have a two hour delay tomorrow. So what did I do with my spare time? Made a camera of course!

I’ve made a camera obscura once before and got some okay images out of it (as you can see to the left). The biggest problem I’ve found is that you only really get one image per camera. You can take that image multiple times and try to dress it up and change the room around but it’s really only the same image. Now that I’m living in a different place than the first camera I figured I’d try it again and this time it will be in my bedroom. Another problem with the camera obscura is that taking a photograph of the image is very time consuming. So what I’m going to do is make sure my bedroom is as light tight as it’s going to get (except for the ‘lens’) before I go to bed, turn of the lights, open the shutter, and then go to sleep. By the time I get up the camera should have been getting an image for at least a couple hours… I hope. If not, I’ll have to figure something else out. My previous images were made over 8 hours during a fairly bright day. This one will only be a couple hours during a snowy day. The odds are against me…

My developer ran out while developing the final 16 rolls of film that had been sitting in my fridge for quite a while. So once I get the negs from the 4×5 camera (exposing in the camera obscura) I’m going to try developing them in dektol, my paper developer. Apparently you can develop film in dektol at a dilution of about 1:10 for the same amount of time as D-76. It increases the grain but it’s better than nothing. I realize in performing two experiments at the same time (camera obscura and dektol as film developer), I’m just asking for trouble.

On the daguerreotype front nothing much has happened. I got my copper plates and they are very nice indeed. Much better than the copper I had obtained locally. The plates are all drilled and I’ve spent a little time polishing them but a combination of laziness and inclement weather has prevented me from polishing all ten plates to my satisfaction. I’ve been suppressing the urge to use my buffer in the living room as I’d like to live to be an old (healthy) daguerreotypist.

Alan Bekhuis, master daguerreian artist & artisan and co-conspirator of, has started a journal detailing his processes. Only a few posts in and it’s already a great resource. Check it out!

Jonathan Danforth, a great daguerreotypist and someone always willing to give advice, recently posted a entry entitled 2008 in Daguerreotypes. It’s a nice tribute to the past year of the most exquisite form of photography ever invented.

CardsIn other news, I’ve joined a new photography group here in Santa Fe. The aim is to take pictures. We’ve done so a few times and had assignments and you can find my photos for this group here. It’s nice to physically meet with people and discuss photography and take pictures. Our most recent assignment consisted of making holiday cards. I shot a couple of images, developed and printed them in my darkroom (bathroom), cut and glued a couple of each image to some nice paper and voila, cards! I don’t think they were as holidayish as the others wanted but I then I haven’t been a big fan of the holidays for quite some time. I think they’re a nice compromise. Hopefully the weather clears before our next meeting.

And finally, I changed the header image of this site. The previous image was getting a bit old and change is nice every now and then. It’s a photograph I took while wandering around Times Square with my girlfriend a couple months ago.

Anyway, I’m going to attempt to be more diligent with this blog, as well as everything else photographically related. We’ll see how it goes…

And now, for a night in the camera!