ULF Diary 11/29/2022 - 8x20 Cow Portrait # 1

Welcome to my Ultra Large Format Photography Journal.  I share my personal thoughts and experiences with my family and friends in the hope they will gain a deeper understanding of who I am and how much I love creating ultra large format contact prints.  I consider this process to be the ultimate medium for self-expression. Ultra large format contact printing is slow, contemplative, and never needs to change today or a thousand years from now.  It's already perfect, and no improvements are desired or needed.  If you want to watch some videos of me and Tim Jr. working in the darkroom, then you can follow our YouTube Darkroom Diary, where we bring you behind the scenes with us. 

ULF Diary 11/29/2022

Cow portraits and ultra large format photography?

Yes, it is technically possible, but not a portrait like this and with creamy bokeh as well. 

For images like this, I take a hybrid approach.  I need the mobility, speed, and flexibility that small format 35mm offers, along with long telephoto lenses to isolate my subjects. 

Then, we have several options to make interpositives and enlarged negatives.  In this case, we enlarged the 35mm negative and cropped it into the 8x20 format on a sheet of Ortho film to make a positive.  I then contact printed the interpositive to a sheet of Ilford Classic Matte paper and ensured the contrast was a little below normal.  This print (the enlarged negative) is then flattened and taken to my ULF copy stand, where I make a direct positive exposure in the 8x20 camera using my lens of choice.  This workflow offers incredible flexibility and the option to control many variables in an otherwise impossible way. 

Cow Portrait - Siloam Springs © Tim Layton (www.timlaytonfineart.com)

For this first set of prints, I decided to use Ilford FB WT and develop with a standard Ilford MG developer.  I always selenium-tone my fiber prints using my standard 1:25 ratio for about 5 minutes.  This combination yields a really nice and subtle warm-tone print that I really enjoy. 

You can watch the first print in its fixer bath in the video below. 

In a few days, I plan to make two more of these prints, one not selenium toned and the other developed with Ilford WT developer and selenium toned.  I will review all 3 prints in a future video on the YouTube channel. 

You can follow my YouTube Darkroom Diary, where Tim Jr. and I bring you behind the scenes in our darkroom, where we work on our latest Ultra Large Format projects. 


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