Thursday, May 16, 2013




Part 3
Richard Frederick
In parts 1 and 2 we learned of the need for a large negative in order to produce our desired large Platinum/Palladium (Pt/Pd) print. We also learned that a marriage of analog and digital techniques is most convenient in overcoming significant difficulties in producing the large negative by analog (camera and film) techniques.
So...The Precision Digital Negative: Space limitations on the Blog preclude a completely detailed description of how this negative is produced, but an overview of the process is helpful to the understanding of what is required of the photographer to produce a stunningly beautiful Pt/Pd print. To begin, a US patent was awarded to an outstanding photographer, Mark Nelson, for his invention of the Precision Digital Negative (PDN) in the 2004 time frame. Nelson's invention came about from his research and experimentation with digital techniques to produce "...a beautiful image rendered on fine paper by a photographic process that is capable of making that image sing to the viewer". To achieve that goal is not easy. It requires mastering not only the use of digital cameras, scanners, printers, computers, and Photoshop - but also the development of the individual photographer's craftsmanship to a high level of proficiency.
The process begins with choosing a subject and pre-visualizing (in the mind's eye) how the artist wishes the subject to look in the Pt/Pd print. To accomplish this may take years of experience and practice as necessary to develop the photographer's overall craft. For the purpose of this blog I chose a flower. The flower itself as a subject of nature exhibits a wide range of color, subtle tonalities, texture, and pleasing shape that are the essential ingredients of a fine print. The specific flower is an iris (Iris Germanicum) plucked from my wife's flower garden.This iris as I photographed it with my digital camera is shown in the figure above. A high end digital camera is required for its ability to capture fine detail, and a great deal of experience in lighting the subject artistically is necessary. Following capture the camera file is loaded into Photoshop where the main actions are to render the color image to black and white, resize the photo's dimensions and invert it from a positive image to a negative image. The black and white conversion (positive image) is shown in the figure just below to the left and the inverted image (negative) is shown at right.

A print size of 11 X 14 inches frames nicely in a 16 X 20 inch frame.
The uncropped image size produced by my camera is 5616 X 3744 pixels (18 X 12.48 inch @ 300 pixels/inch). A 200% enlargement (to 37.44 X 24.96 inches) in Photoshop is easily printable with full quality on a modern professional inkjet digital printer. I used my Epson 7900 large format printer to materialize this negative by printing it on PICTORICO PRO ultra premium overhead projector film (OHP). Now that we have a large negative produced by digital techniques, we are almost ready to consumate the marriage of digital to analog. In the next blog we will actually use the digitally derived negative to produce a beautiful analog Pt/Pd print. Don't miss this!
For further information about Precision Digital Negatives click on the link below.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous, Richard! I know Gayle would approve of this marriage!