Magic light

A roadside sign touting old gas pumps intrigued me as Lucky and I made our way West in 2015. Getting off the Interstate revealed the restaurant was part of a truck stop. But two old Shell pumps outside #Shoemaker's restaurant doors kept me going.

Inside, a treasure trove of light awaited. The light was even more magical on that overcast Saturday. Because it’s all about light. 

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Remember: Don’t judge a book - or a photo op - by its cover. And always carry your camera.

Photo © 2015 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved   

What's the Difference Between Fiber-based and RC Prints?

Back in the day photographers printed almost all black and white pictures on fiber-based paper. Fiber-based paper is just that - a photographic emulsion on a base of paper, which is made from wood fibers.

To ensure the highlights reflect enough light and that the shadows absorb enough light, manufacturers add a layer of barium sulfate. As a result, photographers sometimes call fiber-based paper “baryta” paper. 

In 1975, Kodak began to offer resin-coated, or “RC” paper. A layer of polyethylene, or resin, separates the emulsion from the paper base.

Because the paper base is separate from the emulsion, RC prints develop more quickly, and require only a five-minute wash as opposed to an hour or two for fiber-based paper. RC paper’s reduced processing time appealed to news and other photographers working on a deadline. 

Fiber-based prints depict a greater tonal range, partly because fiber-based paper’s semi-glossy surface (compared to RC prints) reflects less light in the deep blacks of the image.

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Although fiber-based prints require more processing time and must be flattened and then carefully dried, their greater tonal range makes them more valuable to fine art print buyers, and they command a higher price than an RC print does.

RC prints' utility stems from their quick drying time and ease of mounting. Many clients find them more suitable to their needs and budget. 

Working with film and printing in a traditional wet darkroom, I enjoy the best of both worlds - Fiber-based and RC. 

Photo: The Art of Living, La Brasserie de Île Saint-Louis, Paris.  

Photo and text © Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved

Did you remember your camera?

As I carried my devoted friend and companion Lucky the Jack Russell Terrier across the street couple of nights ago , a driver slowed down and told us: “I wish I had my camera!”  Her wish - and the encounter - was the Universe’s reminder to always carry your camera with you.

Remembering my camera meant I was ready after listening to the voice of synchrodestiny – as Deepak Chopra calls it, aka the law of attraction – that said: “Go to the diner for breakfast,” bringing me to walking monk Bhaktimarga Swami’s world when he visited John’s Diner during his walk across America.

Rosie, Bhaktimarga John's Diner

My ever-present camera allowed me to take the photo of Lucky that became the cover of his new book, A Lucky Life, which is illustrated with my photographs of his travels and encounters along the path of a lucky life. 

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After one too many missed photo ops (hat tip to David Kennerly) because I didn’t feel like dragging my motor-driven SLR with me, in 1989 I bought the Leica M6 I’d been wondering whether I should spend so much money on. That smaller, lighter camera facilitated carrying my camera on my shoulder or in my satchel. No more excuses for not bringing my camera.

Although you can buy a used Leica at a reasonable price - for example an M4, M4-P, M2, or (for those who work with digital) a used M9 or Monochrome M at Tamarkin Camera, it doesn’t have to be a Leica. Any small camera - film or digital - will do. 

Whatever you have (or get) - carry it with you. 

   Photos © 2016 and 2004 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserve