Bristlecone Pines, Schulman Grove
For information on Gallery Los Olivos, click here.
Over the years, I have worked in several somewhat distinct media, including, of course, traditional darkroom and silver printing, various internegative processes, and in recent years, a variety of inkjet media. With the advent of modern inkjet printers and inks, it became clear that the silver print had become an "alternative" medium. The wet process has simply been eclipsed by the best modern digital approaches. My effort has been to push the envelope in B&W photography, which has taken a back seat to color by the major printer companies. As a former darkroom worker who often mixed his own developers from the raw components (specifically, POTA for Tech Pan film), the B&W inkset development work I did came rather naturally. (A brother who was a PhD chemist in the carbon field didn't hurt.)
At www.PaulRoark.com/BW-Info/ I cover or link to numerous current as well as older inksets and workflows that I have used in the past. MIS Associates (inksupply.com) may still sell some of the older inksets that I developed; all such work by me has been on an open-source, royalty-free basis. I just make and continue to make what I want and have allowed all to use my formulas and profiles as they saw fit. Of particular interest to B&W printers who want the best for the least, the generic dilution base formulas for diluting matte black pigment inks is also linked to this page. These allow creative printers to make their own unique and very cost effective inksets.
My primary wide format printers now have variants of what I call a "Glossy Carbon Variable Tone" inkset in them. This puts 100% carbon pigments, which are by far the most lightfast, in all but one of the ink positions. In one ink position I have a specially formulated "toner" that is light blue. This gives a print tone range from warm (natural carbon) to neutral, while at the same time keeping the job of making profiles rather simple.
The basics of the best B&W printing are simply to keep the carbon content as high as possible for the tone you want, and use the best pigments available. This maximizes longevity and virtually emiminates artifacts such as metamerism.
I generally print on Red River UltraPro Satin paper and coat the prints with Premier Art's Print Shield. I dry mount, the prints on acid free foam core or, for very large prints, have a service bureau mount them on a substrate that is appropriate for the size of the print.
My current favorite camera is a Sony a7c. I find that the OEM 28-60mm zoom is "good enough" (at all apertures and focal lengths) for Topaz's Gigapixel AI software to take the image on up to top pro quality. The advent of this new software is a game changer. Having the sharpest lens is no longer the issue. Now once the image file is good enough for the software to recognize what is supposed to be an edge, further sharpness is of little or no value. So, while at admire the Leica-M lenses I once used, the little Sony OEM zoom with the modern AI software is better. This Topaz software has convinced me that "AI" is not just hype.
Aside from the Sony OEM 28-60mm zoom, I also carry the Leica 135mm Apo-Telyt-M if I think a longer lens is going to be useful (which it seldom is for landscapes). However, note that this 135mm optic actually captures more detail than my 70-200mm Canon L series zoom at 200mm. I also have Leica "apo" optics in other focal lengths that I use for special occasions. My conclusion is that when Leica puts the "apo" prefix on an optic, nothing else comes close, and even wide open shots are up to professional, gallery display quality.
In actual practice, the lens I find I use the most is the old Canon FD mount 35mm Tilt-Shift lens. This is simply because my most frequent trips are to a local beach, where a tilt is very useful. This optic is widely available on the used market for a very reasonalbe price. If you like the feeling of extreme depth of field, this is a most entertaining optic. Do plan on using a tripod or at least a monopod if tilt is employed; hand holding a tilted optic and keeping everything in focus is difficult. Also, plan on using f/11.
For technical information on lens performance, see the MTF curves/charts at https://www.paulroark.com/MTF-Curves-LiecaM-Sony.jpg.
In general, B&W prints are available in a number of sizes from 8x10 up to 44" wide (Epson 9800). All are printed with a dedicated B&W, carbon pigment inkset of my own design). I do not sell color prints.
All of my prints are made individually, as needed.
Arches prints - "Carbon on Cotton":
I consider my most archival print technology to be carbon pigments on Arches Hot Press (uncoated) watercolor paper. While I like the nature of this medium, I've found the market is simply interested in the image. All of my prints use predominantly carbon pigments that will outlive all of us.
The October, 2010 issue of "Cowboys & Indians" magazine also has a short article about me. See it here.
The first of my 100% carbon inksets, sold by MIS Associates, is written up in Shutterbug magazine. The article is on line here. My carbon printing information page is here
I use several Red River Paper products and beta test some of their papers. They have a short blurb about my work here.
The December 2013 "Shutterbug" magazine, in the Digital Help column regarding inks suggested, "visiting a black-and-white expert's website, www.PaulRoark.com."
In June 2018 I was featured on the Red River webpage/blog. The article can be see here.
From mid-Februry to mid-April 2019 a broad cross-section of my work was featured at the Elverhoj Museum in
Solvang, California. Click
here for a copy of the postcard relating to the exhibit. For a copy of the review of the Elverhoj show by the SB Newspress,
And there is always an exhibit of my work at Gallery Los Olivos (see above).
Thank you for visiting my humble website.
Solvang, CA, USA
All Photographs -- Copyright 1980-2021 Paul Roark -- All Rights Reserved