Re: SPAM-BL Re: Re: Harold K. Vollrath

Rufus Cone <cone@...>

Yes, I too greatly value traditional high resolution silver halide prints, for
example, builders photographs from Alco Historic Photos. Contact prints made
from historic 8x10 negatives have detail that is amazing even under a high
powered loupe magnifier.

On the other hand some of the silver halide freight car prints that I have
purchased over the years are disappointing. Many are still "the only thing out
there" on those cars, though, so the prints can be quite valuable for freight
car research despite the quality.

Either approach - silver halide or digital - can give good results in the right
hands. The right originals of old images are important in either case - good
full-range negatives that were well focused and properly exposed and developed,
instead of poor "thin" copy negatives.

I used to use Kodak Technical Pan film to make copy negatives of historic black
and white freight car photos. The negatives were great, but often it was a
challenge to control tonality in printing. Reflections on the originals also
presented challenges, even with polarized light. It is much easier to copy
prints with a digital flatbed scanner.

The digital scan generally gives you far greater ability to pull out shadow
detail on freigh car underbodies when copying prints that have "blocked-up"
shadows than does copying onto film. Scanning from negatives is always
preferred over scanning from a print; the print always has less range than the
negative unless made by an exceptionally skilled printer.

Also, I second Tony Thompson's remarks that paper and chemical supplies for
silver halide photography will continue to be available for many years.

Rufus Cone
Bozeman, MT

Rob Kirkham wrote:

I take your points Rufus, My comment arises from my experience with
prints - and scanning them at very high resolution to identify tiny details
in the background - often freight cars in a yard of interest. I have found
that a 30 or 50 year old black and white print will provide a lot more
information when blown up that way than will the typical 8x10 print I buy
from the local archives. I suspect that is simply because they scan at 300
dpi, and it isn't sufficient for those tiny details....

Rob Kirkham

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