The New and the Old
Post-Script: Here's a scan of my grandson's print:
While the focus on this bottom negative wasn't quite as sharp as I'd like, the portrait overall is very pleasing. I made the top negative with the camera facing the back of the porch, for an uncluttered background and even lighting. But due to the rain this afternoon, I had to position the camera pointing parallel to the porch for the second portrait, and so this image has a bit of a cluttered background to it. Also, the bottom image is very side-lit, due to the orientation of the camera to the source of light. I have a collapsible fabric reflector that I could employ for filling in such shadows, which I need to remember to include in my kit.
I continue to make copious notes, both during and after each portrait session, not only of the exposure data but on issues I encountered and things that need improving. One thing I've noted is regarding the magnetic rubber sheet, used for the oval mask, that adheres to another such sheet behind the negative, on the printing easel. There are places where the magnetic fields of both sheets oppose one another, resulting in the oval mask not remaining flat. I'm considering remaking the backing of the printing easel, using a sheet of galvanized steel, painted flat black, in place of the rear magnetic sheet. This will still permit the oval matte to adhere magnetically, but without issues of magnetic polarity.
Another issue is regarding the focus on the bottom image. Even though I was using a focusing target, his face is too close to the camera, as evidenced by his shoulder being in better focus behind his eyes. Perhaps I can attribute this to his young age, not keeping the string of the focusing target properly stretched tight, but perhaps there's a better method; or I just need to be more careful before tripping the shutter.
A further issue was that, on two occasions when unloading fresh paper from the paper safe, the sheets either fell into the developer tray or were placed there by mistake, due to the tray being too close to the safe. I need to ensure the tray is pushed as far toward the right side of the box as possible. It's these little errors of technique that I need to resolve, through continual practice and constant reflection on my results.
Alas, though this was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, I was unable to make a pinhole photo today, due to the inclement weather and resulting dim light which, with paper negatives, requires exposure times many minutes long. I'd like to offer, as an excuse, that perhaps the other 364 days of the year are also good opportunities; and that those other days of the year potentially make for a greater contribution to the art.
Typecast via Smith-Corona Silent.