• Grant Handgis

"Slot Canyon #3" ~ Gold toned Kallitype

I have begun working on a series of images that are very new to my traditional subject matter and way of shooting. I am drawing from the years of working with my Burke & James 5x7, seeing imagery upside down and backwards. By the way, a most excellent means of learning to 'see' the image without focusing on the details, keeping the eye looking at the lines as they move through the subject, the grouping of tonalities, from black to white. In a way, laying out the "chiaroscuro" or placement of the black and white; zone 1 and zone 7 (usually).

These are basic tenets of view camera viewing, which is not a lot different than abstract imagery. The image itself is shapes and forms derived of tonal ranges from black to white. The same basic rules of layout apply as well; movement of lines through the image, placement of blacks and white(s). I have historically stayed away from this type of shooting because I didn't feel like I was very good at it. It just looked like stuff. That was over thirty years ago, so I gave it another run at it when I was in Kanab, Utah last year, and taking a back country four-wheel tour to a slot canyon about twenty miles west of Kanab.

For those not having had the pleasure of walking through a slot canyon, it is a canyon that one can touch both sides when walking through. A slot. At the right time of day, that can be pretty neat for shapes and light. The images following will be from this series. The images were photographed digitally, in black and white (Canon 20D) and unfortunately I wasn't thinking ahead at the time and shot many of the images framed as I wanted them, in digital format, which is 8x12 not 8x10, so to arrive at an 11x14 format image I had to crop, and that left out a number of images as cropped they lost the effect I wanted when shot. I came away with six images I was able to crop without losing the effect intended.

The negatives were printed on my Epson 1430 printer onto Arista Acetate Film; using a curve I made for Kallitype prints of this type, very long scaled density curve. This was to theoretically arrive at a rich, full scaled black and white image in the traditional sense. To achieve this I developed in the cool toned Acetate developer and toned the image in gold [5% Ag Cl 5ml/L] for seven minutes. The toning tends to enrich blacks and open up mid-tones, as well as lighten highlights. What is different here is that to arrive at what I believe to be a 'full-scaled' image, that includes a percentage of zone 8, paper base white, to counter dMax black at the opposite end. This is contrary to my traditional instincts about keeping the highlights to zone 7.

The print was printed in my UV printer for 13 minutes and developed in sodium acetate at 75 degs F. As noted, the toning enriched the blacks, opened up the middle tones and bleached the highlights to paper base white. That will take a bit of getting used to for my eye. Leaving so much paper base white. I will be re-printing this negative using a softer <curve> I use for Na2 printing, which doesn't need all that much density increase. For now, this is the outcome.

Gold toned Kallitype

"Slot Canyon #3" ~ 11x14

Kanab, Utah


g. Michael Handgis Photography


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